Mendes-Monteiro House moves closer to groundbreaking

Mar 11, 2019

With initial designs and a project manager chosen, planning of the Mendes-Monteiro House is kicking into gear five months after initial funding for the project was approved.  

The house, which will be built on Anderson Way, will provide eight affordable housing units for seniors who receive services from the Department of Mental Health. At the Fall Town Meeting, voters approved $500,000 in Community Preservation funding for the project.

Since being approved, the Dartmouth Housing Authority and Partners in Housing, a nonprofit organization, have developed preliminary designs and site plans for the facility.

The 7,600 square-foot, single-story building will be split into two distinct areas: Four independent apartments for seniors, and a communal living area with four separate bedrooms. This will allow the site to accommodate seniors who need more care and those who can continue a certain level of independent living.

The building also includes a sensory meeting room for communal art projects, fully accessible bathrooms, covered porches, and a broken-up single-family design to help it blend in with the residential houses nearby.

There is a strong need for housing to match the needs of seniors who are facing more mental health issues than in the past, according to Dartmouth Housing Authority Executive Director Connie Desbiens. The Mendes-Monteiro House will be the first development in Dartmouth specifically for this population.

She noted prior to the project approval that conditions like hoarding, depression, isolation, and dementia are now being recognized and addressed, which was not always the case.

A contract manager has also been hired to oversee the project. Partners in Housing has hired Collins Construction of Fall RIver as the contract manager for the project.

Desbiens said that Partners in Housing received multiple strong applicants for the role, but decided to go with Collins Construction in part due to the quality of the company’s previous work in town.

The company handled the O’Connor-Sisson House for Veterans. The $2.6 million renovation project turned the historic home and former Massachusetts State Police barracks into a nine-unit housing complex for veterans.

As contract manager, Collins Construction will develop quotes and budgets for subcontractors, help with the final drawings, and help manage the project.

The $500,000 in funding approved at Town Meeting represents about 14 percent of the overall cost for the development. The rest will come from state funding, grants, and other sources.

A Project Eligibility Letter (PEL) is being worked on to submit to the Zoning Board of Appeals to kickstart approval of the plans. Partners in Housing is also preparing for the first round of financing applications.

“We’re very excited about the project, and it’s been going nice and smoothly," Desbiens said.

Desbiens said that the Mendes-Monteiro House will be complete in early spring of 2022. She hopes to break ground early next year.