In early 2016, the Women’s Institute was awarded the right to develop up to 120 units of senior supportive housing over two phases in Devens, MA by MassDevelopment. This first phase of development, Shirley Commons, will include 58 units of supportive and affordable housing. The housing will be designed to address the immediate needs of seniors with incomes ranging from moderate (60% Area Median Income) to extremely low (30% AMI). Eight (8) of these units will be set-aside for homeless or at-risk seniors, providing a safe, permanent and service-enriched environment for this most vulnerable population. Each of the 58 apartments will have a full bathroom and kitchen with rooms and hallways designed to support the needs of those with disabilities and will be easily converted to full ADA/MAAB accessibility standards if and when that is needed for the tenants. Particular attention will be paid to accessibility and flexible spaces that allow residents with mobility impairments to remain independent and self-sufficient within their homes.
The site is fully permitted for age restricted housing and comprises approximately 3.5 acres abutting the Town of Shirley’s municipal complex (town offices, library, and police department). The site also borders the permanently-protected Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge owned by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and is a short walk to the commuter rail station. The generally level site has been cleared and remediated and offers an excellent opportunity to create a service-enriched community for seniors that supports a continuum of physical, economic, social and healthcare needs. All zoning has been approved for this project and the appeals period has expired. Construction drawings are almost fully advanced, this project is poised to begin construction as soon as all funding is received. A recent market study supports the demand for this project, and there has already been strong interest in the project from the Shirley Council on Aging and the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce. The residents will be supported through a comprehensive service plan, offered by our service provider, CHOICE, Inc., a very experience service provider. The robust service plan includes partnership with local service providers, hospitals, healthcare and senior centers and will support residents as they age-in- place at Shirley Commons.