BOSTON – Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced more than $34 million in new and recommended funding from the Department of Neighborhood Development, the Neighborhood Housing Trust (NHT) and the Community Preservation Fund to create and preserve 841 income-restricted units of housing in Allston, Back Bay, Dorchester, Fenway, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roxbury and the South End.
In supporting the city’s work to end homelessness, 198 of the units funded will create permanent housing opportunities for homeless individuals and families experiencing homelessness. This year’s awards for new construction will all use zero-emissions design to model Mayor Walsh’s Carbon Free Boston guidelines.
“I am proud the City of Boston is investing in preserving and creating affordable homes to increase the availability of housing for our residents,” said Mayor Walsh. “Everyone deserves a place to call home, and this funding will go a long way towards making that reality for so many people. I want to thank the Neighborhood Housing Trust and the Community Preservation Committee, for making this funding available and supporting these important housing opportunities. Working together with our partners, I am proud that we are building a better Boston.”
This new funding will create 608 new income-restricted housing units and preserve 233 units of existing income-restricted housing stock. The new units are a combination of homeownership and rental opportunities and include housing developments with units set aside for formerly homeless households, adults in substance use recovery, and seniors.
“Heading Home is incredibly grateful for the tremendous and integral support from the City to help 23 Boston families move out of homelessness. It is so exciting to begin this project together, which will replace a structurally challenged building and nearly triple the number of families able to find permanent housing on the property,” said Danielle Ferrier, Chief Executive Officer of Heading Home.
In August of 2020, Mayor Walsh announced that the City of Boston released two Requests for Proposals (RFP) offering more than $30 million for affordable housing developments. The RFP was the first affordable housing funding the City of Boston has offered since restarting construction in June 2020, when Boston began its phased reopening plan in line with COVID-19 guidelines. The City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development, the Community Preservation Commission, and the NHT evaluated the proposals and prioritized fourteen projects that will serve special populations such as individuals and families experiencing homelessness, seniors, or residents with disabilities These projects will promote City goals to affirmatively further fair housing, and will efficiently utilize City resources and/or land to increase the supply of housing available to low- and moderate-income households.
“Beacon Communities is proud to be working with the City to address the affordable housing crisis and the need to end homelessness throughout Boston,” said Dara Kovel, Chief Executive Officer at Beacon Communities. “Our partnership with Pine Street Inn at 140 Clarendon is a big step in this direction and will ensure housing options and nonprofit commercial space in the Back Bay for decades to come.”
To ensure that all units receiving City funding will remain affordable, developers are required to agree to long-term affordability for all income-restricted units. All rental projects are permanently deed-restricted, and all homeownership projects are deed-restricted for 50 years. All rental projects are required to set aside at least 10% of their units for homeless households, and projects that offer additional units at lower AMI levels receive priority in the evaluation process.
This new affordable housing will not only provide critical housing, but will also be built to standards to reduce carbon emissions, prepare for climate change and increase the quality of life for residents. By requiring all new affordable housing construction funded by the City to meet zero-emissions standards, the City of Boston can continue to decrease our greenhouse gas emissions and continue progress towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
Citywide, buildings account for nearly 70 percent of Boston’s carbon emissions. As outlined in the 2019 Climate Action Plan, the City is pursuing a required performance standard and zoning code updates to support building decarbonization citywide. The City of Boston has taken this opportunity to lead by example. In 2019, Mayor Walsh signed an executive order requiring all new municipal buildings to target a Zero Net Carbon standard, meaning new buildings will be designed to be highly energy-efficient, optimize onsite renewable energy, and prioritize fossil-fuel-free combustion.
The new funding for affordable housing was made possible in part by more than $16.4 million in municipal and federal funds administered by the Department of Neighborhood Development. More than $14 million in funds from the NHT are collected through the City’s Linkage policy by extracting affordable housing funds from developers of large commercial projects. The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is providing more than $3.6 million for the recommended projects. The CPA established a one percent property tax surcharge, which was adopted by Boston voters in 2016. The funds are invested in affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space projects.
On Monday, including funding for affordable housing, Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston Community Preservation Committee (CPC) announced their recommendation of 67 projects, totaling over $25.5 million in grants through the Community Preservation Act (CPA) current funding round.
The following is a complete list of the proposals that are receiving funding from the Department of Neighborhood Development and NHT, as well as recommended projects for inclusion in the current round for the Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding:
- $2,000,000 to assist the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation’s acquisition of 6 Quint Avenue. This is an existing single-room occupancy building that will be renovated and converted into 15 units, 14 of which will be permanently affordable supportive housing units for extremely low-income individuals in recovery.
- $1,000,000 to assist the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation’s preservation of 33 units at Carol Avenue Apartments. This preservation project will renovate Carol Avenue Apartments and deepen affordability through additional income restrictions.
- $3,000,000 for the acquisition and renovation of 140 Clarendon Street. The proposed project by Beacon Communities and the Mount Vernon Company is to purchase the building and create 210 permanently affordable units. The building will include 111 permanent supportive housing units for homeless residents with services from Pine Street Inn, as well as continued commercial space for the YWCA and Lyric Stage. This project is working closely with the community and BPDA to finish permitting and begin construction in the fall of 2020.
- $3,750,000 for Heading Home’s development of 37 Wales Street, replacing an existing structurally unsound building with 23 new units of permanent supportive housing for homeless families.
- $964,300 to help Urbanica, Inc. transformation of a vacant city-owned parcel at 405 Washington Street into 13 sustainable new deed-restricted affordable homeownership opportunities.
- $1,065,750 for the Norwell Townhouses at 239-245 Norwell Street, creating 8 new affordable units in four two-family ownership townhouses with rental units. This development by TLee Development will leverage vacant City-owned land and also include improvements to community green space in the West of Washington neighborhood.
- $1,366,000 to create 15 new affordable homeownership units on formerly vacant City-owned land at 120-122 Hancock Street. This development by Urbanica, Inc. is the result of a successful community disposition process.
- $2,800,000 for the Fenway CDC’s development of Burbank Terrace, creating 27 units of affordable housing. This project is 100% subsidized housing and is utilizing a rare vacant site in this neighborhood. The site had been fully permitted for market-rate development, but had strong community opposition and now will become much-needed affordable housing.
- $2,000,000 to the former Barton Rogers School for the adaptive reuse of a historic schoolhouse in the center of Hyde Park, This redevelopment will create 75 much-needed income-restricted senior housing units. The project will be Boston’s first designated LGBTQ-supported housing development for seniors and will be developed by Pennrose Development.
- $2,400,000 for Jamaica Plain NDC and New Atlantic Development’s new affordable senior housing development located at 3371 Washington Street. This 39 unit building will be located on a key commercial site in the JP/Rox corridor at the intersection of Washington and Green Streets. The development will also preserve the ground-floor restaurant that is currently located on the site.
- $6,000,000 to The Community Builders for the redevelopment of Mildred Hailey Apartments Phase 1A and 1B. This 234-unit project marks the first two phases of the multi-phased preservation and expansion of the BHA’s Mildred Hailey Apartments. This mixed-income phase provides housing for multiple household sizes and will create replacement units to help keep families on the Mildred Hailey campus during the redevelopment process.
- $3,250,000 to Lena New Boston for the Olmsted Ownership II development on West Main Street. This project marks the completion of the final phase of the comprehensive redevelopment of the Boston State Hospital Site after nearly 2 decades. This phase will create 80 new homeownership units at multiple income levels.
- $1,195,942 for New Urban Collaborative’s Marcella Highland 12 unit development at 95-123 Marcella Street, creating 12 new energy-efficient units on formerly vacant city-owned land. The RFP was issued and developer selection was conducted in close coordination with Highland Park PRC.
- $2,279,055 to Cruz Development to turn 135 Dudley Street into a 52 unit multi-family, mixed-income rental development on a gateway corner in Nubian Square. The developer was selected through intensive community engagement around the City-owned parcels as directed by the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan.
- $1,121,510 to MPZ Development, LLC to fund the renovation of 34 East Springfield Street, a vacant BHA-owned rowhouse. The project will create 5 new rental units, 4 affordable, in this high-cost neighborhood.
To help choose appropriate developments for funding, the City of Boston has established funding priorities, based on the goals outlined in Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030. Proposals submitted are expected to fall under at least one of the priority criteria:
- Affordable housing developments that utilize City-owned land.
- Affordable housing developments targeting a mix of incomes: from units for homeless households to units targeted and restricted to incomes representative of Boston’s workforce. The City prioritizes proposals that, in addition to the homeless set-aside, provide some portion of units targeting extremely low-income tenancies.
- Affordable housing developments have reduced the cost to build and/or efficiently use subsidies so that the project can move into construction more quickly.
- Affordable housing developments that provide units that serve the disabled community, vulnerable or special needs populations, elders, veterans, artists, aging out youth, etc.
- Acquisition of unrestricted housing developments to stabilize the tenancies, and provide long-term affordability for a mix of incomes (i.e. unrestricted properties).
- Developments that are at risk of losing their affordability within 5 years.
- Large projects with more than 50 units of housing, of which at least 51 percent will be deed-restricted affordable units.
- Projects creating new affordable units in high-cost neighborhoods where most of the IDP funds are generated.
- Projects that contain affordable units that cannot be funded from other subsidy sources available under this RFP, or through the NHT RFP.
- Projects that can quickly acquire existing unregulated units and convert them into long-term affordable housing.