$40 Million Investment to Create and Preserve 718 Affordable Homes in Boston
Today, Mayor Michelle Wu announced $40 million in new recommended funding from the Mayor’s Office of Housing, the Neighborhood Housing Trust (NHT), and the Community Preservation Fund to create and preserve over 700 income-restricted units of housing in Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Chinatown, Hyde Park, and Roxbury. This ambitious portfolio of projects includes rental housing for families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities, while also creating new homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income Bostonians. These proposed projects comply with the Mayor’s Office of Housing standards for zero-emissions buildings and represent transit-oriented green development.
“Now more than ever, having a safe and stable home is critical for the health of our families and communities. These housing awards represent significant investments in neighborhoods across Boston, making them stronger and more accessible for our residents,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m grateful to the Neighborhood Housing Trust and the Community Preservation Committee for their leadership and partnership with the community.”
In August 2021, the City of Boston released two Requests for Proposals (RFP) offering funds for affordable housing developments. The Mayor’s Office of Housing, then the Department of Neighborhood Development, the Community Preservation Committee, and the Neighborhood Housing Trust evaluated the proposals and prioritized 14 projects. 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.
Recognizing the role of housing development as a building block to a more just economy. This year’s RFPs prioritized projects that address income inequality and increase representation and financial benefit to Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) professionals and community members. To do this, preference was given to projects where a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) owned 20% or more of the project or received 20% or more of non-construction-related fees. The RFPs also prioritized projects in neighborhoods that do not currently meet the city-wide average of income-restricted housing. Finally, the RFPs required enhanced equity & inclusion planning in terms of both hiring and resident services to support economic stability and growth.
“The City’s award for the combined projects of NUBA Homes and NUBA Apartments will be critical in building a cultural hub of opportunity on the Parcel 8 site in Nubian Square,” said Kamran Zahedi, President of Urbanica, Inc. “Together, these projects will create both rentals led by our development partner the NHP Foundation and homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income households, including specific live and work opportunities for artists. We are also pleased that this development embodies the City’s and our development teams’ shared interest in job creation and wealth-building opportunities for Roxbury residents and homeowners at multiple income ranges, both of which will be realized when these projects are complete.”
“We are very grateful for the City’s partnership on Hamilton at Mount Everett,” said Lisette Le, Executive Director of Vietnamese American Initiative for Development, Inc. “This project will create new homes for older adults with the deep services they need to remain in their community. This award will deliver modern and sustainably-designed apartments where residents can easily access transit and the resources of the Bowdoin Geneva neighborhood.”
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. In addition, developers of rental projects are required to set aside at least 10% of their units for homeless households, and projects that offered additional units at lower AMI levels received priority in the evaluation process.
The new funding for income-restricted housing was made possible in part by more than $20 million in municipal and federal funds administered by the Mayor’s Office of Housing. More than $7 million in funds come from the NHT through the City's Linkage policy, which extracts affordable housing funds from developers of large commercial projects. The Community Preservation Committee is recommending more than $14.6 million for the proposed projects. These projects are part of a larger award that includes affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space projects. The final slate of CPA recommended projects will go to the City Council for review and approval in February. The Community Preservation Act (CPA) established a one percent property tax surcharge, which was adopted by Boston voters in 2016.
The following is a complete list of the proposals that are receiving funding from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and NHT, as well as recommended projects for inclusion in the current round for the CPA funding:
- $3,500,000 for Beacon Communities & Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) for the development of the 288 Harrison Residence. This 85 unit mixed-income development will bring new affordable and income-restricted housing to Chinatown. The project is adjacent to the existing Tai Tung Village apartments, which are income-restricted. This is a unique opportunity to add a significant number of units to a high-cost neighborhood. The project enjoys strong support among local resident organizations and is co-sponsored by CCBA.
- $2,500,000 for the construction of VietAID’s Hamilton at Mt. Everett in Dorchester, a four-story development with 36 one-bedroom income-restricted apartments, designed for individuals and couples 62 years and older. Supportive services will be provided on-site by Hebrew Senior Life. There is a mix of car and bicycle spaces to promote transit alternatives for both residents and caregivers.
- $2,100,000 for Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation’s Talbot Commons II to create 42 income-restricted rental units on two vacant city-owned parcels in Dorchester. This project provides a variety of unit sizes to accommodate small and large households.
- $601,527 for Cruz Development’s DMH Housing at Harvard Commons. Construction of four units on the Harvard Commons campus, located on Harvard Street at Senator Bolling Circle. All units will be service-enriched and reserved for the clients of the Department of Mental Health (DMH). This project completes the developer’s commitment to providing housing for individuals with disabilities on the campus. Supportive services will be provided by a Department of Mental Health’s designated provider. The developer is a certified Minority Business Enterprise.
- $885,818 for the Affordable Housing & Services Collaborative’s Columbia West preservation development. This project combines two at-risk income-restricted and supportive housing communities to address deferred maintenance and secure their financial future. This project is a currently occupied rehabilitation building for seniors, individuals with disabilities, and formerly homeless individuals, and the redevelopment will allow residents to continue to stay in their homes throughout the renovation.
- $4,500,000 for B’nai B’rith Housing’s development of 1201 River Street in Hyde Park that will create 63 units of sustainable, transit-oriented senior housing in the village center of Logan Square. All 63 units are being developed by B’nai B’rith Housing, and will be income-restricted for residents 55 years and older at a mix of incomes. The development will also have approximately 1,130 square feet of first-floor commercial space, a fitness center, community room, library, laundry center, mail and package room, management office, 32 bike parking spaces, and up to 40 vehicle parking spaces.
- $4,800,000 for The Community Builders’ for transformative redevelopment of the Amory Street Public Housing campus by creating a new income-restricted building on the site of a former Boston Housing Authority's (BHA) public safety building and garage with 96 units. This phase of development will also create a central common that will serve as an amenity for the entire campus, and will generate 30 new parking spaces.
- $3,950,000 to Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and Traggorth Companies for the Stonley-Brookley Homeownership Development, which will create 45 units of income restricted homes with five units designated for artist live-work use.
- $4,500,000 for Trinity Financial and Madison Park Neighborhood Development Corporation’s 2085 Washington Street development to create a 10-story, transit-oriented rental and homeownership building on a gateway corner in Nubian Square, representing the final phase of redevelopment of Parcel 10. This project leverages land owned by the BPDA and includes 32 homeownership market rate units with 64 income restricted apartments.
- $2,500,000 to The NHP Foundation’s development, NUBA Apartments is one of two affordable buildings to be developed on the BPDA-owned Parcel 8. This 60 unit income restricted rental project will help enliven a key corridor in Nubian Square and is reflective of the community’s interests as outlined in the Parcel 8 RFP process.
- $2,000,000 to Nuestra Comunidad for the development of Bartlett F5, a new project that will create 44 new income-restricted apartments and continue the revitalization of the vacant land at the Bartlett Station site in Nubian Square. This rental development in Roxbury will include a variety of unit sizes to accommodate both small and larger households.
- $2,480,280 to Windale Development for Unity Station Condos, a new affordable homeownership project to create a vital opportunity on the Bartlett Station Campus. This 24 unit development will offer for-sale units to working families at a mix of incomes.
- $4,581,020 for Urbanica’s development of NUBA Homes that is one of two income-restricted buildings to be developed on the BPDA-owned Parcel 8, along with NUBA Apartments. This new development will create 49 new income-restricted homeownership opportunities, that includes artist live-work units and first-floor retail. The developer is proposing a crowdfunding campaign to allow local residents to build equity through direct investment in the project.
- $1,083,632 for Nubian Ascends Partners LLC Nubian Ascends Artist Housing that will create a new homeownership building with 15 units, 10 of which are income restricted, and is part of the redevelopment of the BPDA’s Blair Lot. The full development includes office space, food court and restaurant space, parking, and an artist lab and workspace, for which residents of Nubian Ascends have preference to use. The development partnership is majority minority owned business.
To help choose appropriate developments for funding and best achieve the City’s goals for an equitable recovery, the City of Boston established funding priorities that were adhered to while making these awards. Proposals submitted were 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, 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.
About the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH)
The Mayor’s Office of Housing is responsible for housing people experiencing homelessness, creating and preserving affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can obtain, maintain, and remain in safe, stable housing. The department develops and implements the City of Boston’s housing creation and homelessness prevention plans and collaborates with local and national partners to find new solutions and build more housing affordable to all, particularly those with lower incomes. For more information, please visit the MOH website.
About the Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund (NHT)
The NHT Fund supports homeownership, rental, cooperative, transitional, and permanent housing developments. The fund provides financing for projects serving households earning at or below 50% AMI and gives preference to populations that face barriers in securing housing, including seniors and people with disabilities. Funding is awarded as gap financing, and each applicant may receive no more than $750,000 per project. Priority is given to projects serving the greatest number of low-income households. The program also has a preference for projects that are near transit, and include family-sized units with two or more bedrooms. Boston's Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund is funded through a commercial project linkage payment fee system.
About the Community Preservation Act (CPA)
After Boston voters adopted the CPA in November 2016, the City created a Community Preservation Fund. This fund is capitalized primarily by a one percent property tax-based surcharge on residential and business property tax bills that began in July 2017. The City uses this revenue to fund initiatives consistent with statewide CPA guidelines: affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space, and public recreation. The funding of any project requires a recommendation from the Community Preservation Committee and appropriation by the City. For more information, please visit the Community Preservation webpage.