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Effort to rehabilitate West Newton/Rutland apartments in the South End launched by Mayor Walsh

February 6, 2019

Landmarks Commission

Published by:

Housing Authority

This project will preserve 146 units of affordable housing in the South End.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Administrator Bill McGonagle and Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA) CEO Vanessa Calderón-Rosado to celebrate the launch of the West Newton/Rutland Apartments rehabilitation. The project will transfer ownership of the South End properties from the BHA to IBA, a nonprofit community development organization, to renovate and preserve the properties' long-term affordability for future generations.

"Preserving Boston's affordable housing stock is key to ensuring that everyone who wants to live here can afford to do so," said Mayor Walsh. "I'm proud that because of this partnership these affordable units will be preserved for hundreds of families in the South End for decades to come."

The $47.2 million project will preserve 146 units of affordable, public housing on West Newton and Rutland Streets in the South End. BHA is providing the operating subsidy associated with all 146 apartment units. The rehabilitation work includes exterior masonry repairs, new windows at the roof dormer level, exterior doors, roofs, fire alarms, accessible ramps and a sprinkler system. Eight units will be renovated to be accessible units and 11 units that are currently uninhabitable will be made available.

IBA will convert the public housing units to long term rental assistance, with 110 units funded through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program and 36 units funded through Section 8 project-based vouchers provided by the BHA. The development will be restricted as affordable for 99 years through a restricted ground-lease with the BHA.

"It's a great day for residents of the South End. As we work to upgrade our public housing units, one of our priorities is to make sure that we do not lose a single unit of affordable housing in the process," BHA Administrator Bill McGonagle said. "This project ensures that these deeply affordable units are preserved for hundreds of families in the South End in the decades to come."

"As living costs continue to rise across the city, we remain firmly committed to identifying new ways to expand affordable housing and empower low-income minority residents in Boston," said IBA CEO Dr. Vanessa Calderón-Rosado. "We are grateful to the Boston Housing Authority for providing us with an opportunity to come full circle with this property, revitalize the West Newton/Rutland apartments and welcome its residents into our community."

The project will be funded through federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, federal and state Historic Tax Credits, and a construction to permanent loan of $7.76 million utilizing tax-exempt bonds. Lenders include MassHousing, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Wells Fargo.

In 1977, IBA conducted a renovation of the West Newton Street properties, converting late 19th century brick South End row-houses into public housing for the Boston Housing Authority. Going forward, they will offer residents access to IBA's residential programs and services, which include education, workforce development, advocacy, arts and cultural programming.

At the outset of redevelopment and throughout the long-term, IBA will remain committed to upgrading and maintaining the properties' physical condition in a way that preserves the site's affordability, minimizes disruption to residents, engages them meaningfully, and creates jobs and economic opportunity.

A recently-released inventory of Boston's affordable housing found the South End to be the neighborhood with the highest concentration of income-restricted housing stock in the city. According to Income-Restricted Housing in Boston, almost half (48 percent) of all housing in the South End is income restricted.

The West Newton/Rutland renovation strongly aligns with the City's housing goals outlined in Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030. Mayor Walsh recently increased the City's overall housing targets from 53,000 to 69,000 new units by 2030 to meet Boston's population growth. These updated housing goals build on Mayor Walsh's commitment to increasing access to home ownership, preventing displacement and promoting fair and equitable housing access.

About the Boston Housing Authority

The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) provides affordable housing to more than 58,000 residents in and around the City of Boston. Residents are assisted through a combination of public housing and federal and state voucher subsidy programs that provide a wide variety of housing opportunities. As the largest public housing authority in New England, the BHA houses close to 9 percent of the city's residents. Our mission is to provide stable, quality affordable housing for low and moderate income persons; to deliver these services with integrity and mutual accountability; and to create healthy living environments which serve as catalysts for the transformation from dependency to economic self-sufficiency.
About IBA (Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción)

IBA - Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción - is one of the nation's first community-based, non-profit organizations to independently develop affordable housing and community spaces. Born from the fight against displacement in the South End, IBA's dedication to equitable, accessible community development and engaging residential services empower individuals and families to improve their lives through education, workforce development, arts programming and high-quality affordable housing. For more than fifty years, IBA has built a safe, healthy and supportive environments for diverse residents, while developing emerging leaders. IBA has evolved into a driving force in the South End and across the city as a leading non-profit owner, developer and advocate of affordable housing.