Two community advocates — Mary Marra of Bread and Roses Housing and Susan Stott of Andover Community Trust — were honored for their commitment to building affordable housing at ACT’s recent annual meeting.
Marra received the Fred Stott Advocate Award for “helping to improve the lives of the community’s most vulnerable residents.”
Since Marra co-founded Bread and Roses Housing in 1987, the organization has created more than 30 affordable homes in Lawrence to meet the need for decent, affordable housing.
Stott, who founded Andover Community Trust in 1992, was awarded the Opening Doors to Affordable Housing in Andover Award for her “tremendous dedication to see the dream come true by providing others with new opportunities.”
“Her tireless efforts over the past 22 years and her contribution of time and resources have taught by example that with privilege comes responsibility,” John Pearson, ACT president, said in a press release. “Susan has made home ownership and economic diversity a possibility without regard to town lines.”
More than 50 community leaders, Andover town officials, ACT founders and members gathered for the organization’s annual meeting at Salvatore’s in Lawrence on June 10.
Based on the strong belief that diversity is an important contributor to vital and livable communities, ACT has advocated for and developed six permanently affordable homes in Andover. A seventh home is in the planning stages.
As the annual meeting’s keynote speaker, Marra said, “It’s about change in the lives of families and the life of the community.” To date, 41 families have purchased homes from Bread and Roses Housing.
Marra discussed the biggest challenges facing her organization, ACT and other community land grant groups that are building affordable housing. “First is finding affordable land and property,” she said. “Second is funding — the declining dollars for affordable housing and money for operating expenses.”
But she added, “The greatest joy is the families. Once housing is secure, parents transfer all that energy to the education of their children.”
Two new ACT board members were elected at the annual meeting — Andover attorney Josiah Weiss and Vonne Morales, owner of ACT’s newest home on Andover Street in Andover, completed last year by students from Greater Lawrence Technical School in town.
For more information about Andover Community Trust, visit www.andoverclt.org or the organization’s Facebook page.