BOSTON – Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, co-developers The Boston Home and Affirmative Investments, local elected officials and members of the disability community came together on Tuesday for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Harmon Apartments in Dorchester.
The $18.7 million project, combines 36 ADA accessible, mixed-income apartments with supportive services designed to promote independent living for adults with disabilities.
“Our goal in Boston is to create a city that works for everyone — and these new affordable homes are accessible, and allow residents to live independently,” said Mayor Walsh. “I thank all our partners who helped create this equitable housing development that will be a safe and comfortable home for residents for years to come. It takes a team to move our housing goals forward, and I’m proud of Boston’s commitment to creating all the different types of housing that is needed to serve our residents.”
“Mayor Walsh cares deeply about the quality of life for all residents of the City of Boston,” said Marva Serotkin, former CEO of The Boston Home. “He has promoted housing with supportive services for those among us who need just a little extra assistance to fully engage in this vibrant city. From his early days as State Representative, he has been a friend of the residents of The Boston Home. The extraordinary collaboration and leadership among City, State, private and philanthropic investors have been essential in making Harmon Apartments a reality here on this campus.”
The apartments, which are in close proximity to local businesses, two blocks from the accessible MBTA Red Line Ashmont Station, and adjacent to a bus stop provide a number of innovative features to help the residents live as independently as possible. Harmon residents have access to a variety of specialized programs overseen by a licensed social worker and “Accessible+Plus” physical environment, to enhance accessibility for people with disabilities. Some of the features include:
• Automatic door openers;
• Offering wireless smart lighting control system with seamless integration to other smart home products;
• On-site wellness, fitness and social programs;
• Caregiver training and coordination;
• Counseling and support for accessing community services;
• Access to wheelchair customization services including seating and positioning and mounting of communication devices and assistive technologies;
• A Case Manager to assist with arrangements for services and supports upon request.
“I am originally from Dorchester and am thrilled to be coming home. I love my new apartment and how easy it is to get around,” said resident Janice Kennedy, who moved into Harmon Apartments from the Pine Street Inn.
The grand opening builds on Mayor Walsh’s commitment to preserving and expanding Boston’s affordable housing, ensuring all families who wish to live in Boston are able to. Recently, Mayor Walsh announced more than $26 million in new funding to create and preserve 515 units of housing in 10 developments across seven neighborhoods and contribute to affordable housing programming like the Acquisition Opportunity Program and the Boston Home Center. In 2018, Mayor Walsh increased the City’s overall housing targets from 53,000 to 69,000 new units by 2030, including 15,820 income-restricted units, to meet Boston’s population growth
Creating affordable housing for people with disabilities can be especially challenging. Recognizing the need to increase access to housing for persons with disabilities, in 2014 the City of Boston and its nonprofit partners created the Mayor’s Disability Housing Task Force (DHTF) to ensure that housing is accessible for persons with disabilities. The DHTF works closely with the City’s Disabilities Commission to address issues related to housing this community of people.
“Over the last five years, the Disability Housing Task Force has worked tirelessly to identify and address housing challenges for people with disabilities,” said Kristen McCosh, Commissioner of the City of Boston Commission for Persons with Disabilities. “The housing that is being opened today is a milestone accomplishment of the task force, The Boston Home, its partners and the City of Boston as a whole. We thank Mayor Walsh for his continued commitment to people with disabilities and the ongoing work of the task force.”
The development for this new building was made possible in part by a $2.4 million investment by the City of Boston; $1.2 million from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development; $1.4 million from MassHousing; $1.2 million in debt from Capital One Bank and $9.4 million in Federal and State LIHTC financing from Capital One Bank and National Equity Fund. In addition, the project received a $200,000 grant from Capital One Bank and a $3.5 million contribution from The Boston Home.
Founded in 1881, The Boston Home serves adults with advanced Multiple Sclerosis and other progressive neurological diseases in a nursing home setting. Exceptional clinical care, compassion, and innovative programs have earned The Boston Home the designation “Center for Excellence in Long-term Care” from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Boston Home is the only facility of its kind in New England and only one of a handful nationwide.
Affirmative Investments is an affordable housing developer and financial consultant that partners with non-profits to support the development of high-quality housing for low-income individuals and families.