The Townsend Housing Authority was organized in 1984. After achieving the construction of Atwood Acres in 1989, the Authority became somewhat inactive. It was revitalized in 2002. The housing authority currently operates under 760 CMR 4.00: General Administration of Local Housing Authorities. 760 CMR 4.00 became effective on October 1, 1998. Its provisions superseded provisions in 760 CMR 28.00, 32.00, and 33.00 as previously promulgated, which were rescinded on that date. Amendments to 760 CMR 4.12 through 4.16, and certain related definitions, were effective on September 9, 2005.
One of the purposes of the Townsend Housing Authority is to facilitate the Town of Townsend’s goal to reach an equitable number of affordable housing units. Toward this goal, the Townsend Housing Authority is researching the best use of the town’s developable resources and seeking state and federal funding where possible.
In February 2004, the Housing Authority conducted a comprehensive Affordable Housing Analysis for Executive Order 418.
In September 2004, the Housing Authority conducted a Affordable Housing Survey (questions and results)
In 2006, the Authority applied for and received HUD 202 federal and state Department of Housing and Community Development financing for a project to build an additional 36 low income senior housing units adjacent to the original Atwood Acres. Through the RFP process, RCAP Solutions, who currently manage Atwood Acres, was chosen to develop the new project with additional consultation by Studio One and Gagnier and Hicks. The new facility, Townsend Woods, had its grand opening on October 14, 2011. All of the 86 units of senior housing count towards the Town's affordable housing inventory.
In 2007, the Authority, in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts, successfully developed a single family home on Apple Drive. The Town donated 2.77 acres towards this project.
As of December 2014, the Town's Affordable Housing Inventory is 150 units or 4.5%. The State requires each city and town in Massachusetts to have at least 10% of their total housing units to be affordable to moderate and low-income households. Townsend's total number of housing units as of the 2010 census is 3,356.
On July 30, 2015, Townsend’s Housing Production Plan (HPP) was approved by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The plan is an update of the 2005 approved Affordable Housing Plan completed by the Housing Authority, with the assistance of Co-Land Use Coordinator Karen Chapman. The Plan was reviewed and approved by the Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen. The Plan sets forth a proactive strategy for palnning and developing the town's affordable housing stock. Approximately 68 of the 351 towns in the Commonwealth have an approved Housing Production Plan in place at this time.
Although the Authority does not have any land or buildings under its direct ownership, it may have in the future.