Federal Funding to Go Toward Renovating Public Housing in North End
Mayor Michelle Wu yesterday joined Senator Ed Markey, Congressman Stephen Lynch, and the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) to announce new federal funding for Ausonia Homes, a 100-unit public housing community for low-income seniors and people with disabilities in the North End.
“Boston residents across every neighborhood deserve the opportunity to age in place, and to do so in quality, accessible and affordable homes,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Communities like Ausonia are critical for older adults, people with disabilities and families to afford to live and thrive in the North End,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “That is Ausonia’s promise, and I want to thank Boston’s congressional delegation for securing these critical investments which will ensure Boston remains a city for everyone.”
Through Community Project Funding in the Fiscal Year 2023 federal budget, Boston’s congressional delegation secured two funding grants worth $1.75 million towards modernization and upgrades at Ausonia Homes. Of that amount, $750,000 will be allocated specifically towards modernization funding at Ausonia, supporting capital upgrades and accessibility measures that secure permanently affordable housing for extremely low-income seniors and persons with disabilities. The remaining $1 million will be used towards health and climate retrofits, including weatherization, energy efficiency, installation of electric heat pumps, and other measures that improve air quality and reduce energy consumption.
“As Boston contends with encroaching seas, coastal flooding, and scorching summers, we know the climate crisis is not on our doorsteps—it is in our homes. Our shelters must be sheltered from this storm. That’s why I’m so proud to be with Boston’s own Green New Deal Mayor as we partner to advance the vision for a cleaner, greener and healthier City and Commonwealth. We can and we must ensure all people—no matter their age, race, income or disability—are part of that vision,” said Senator Edward J. Markey. “Because we know a vision without funding is an hallucination, I am proud to have partnered with Congressman Lynch and Senator Warren to secure $1.75 million in funding to complete essential maintenance and invest in energy-efficient climate retrofits at the Ausonia Apartments.”
“Since Ausonia Apartments opened its doors 45 years ago, federal public housing capital subsidies have not kept up with the needs of the property and I am proud to have secured $1.75M for its modernization,” said Rep. Lynch. ‘This funding is essential to improving the quality of life for its residents, which consists of seniors and the disabled, through renovations that will improve air quality and ensure the entire building is in full compliance with modern accessibility standards. I am grateful to Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, Mayor Michelle Wu, and BHA Administrator Kate Bennett for their dedicated work and commitment to securing this vital funding for the Ausonia community.”
The new funding will help BHA leverage additional resources for a comprehensive modernization and rehab effort at Ausonia. BHA is working to systematically modernize and preserve all of its federal public housing for seniors, while preserving affordability, maintaining BHA ownership, and improving resident health and quality of life.
“Ausonia is one of the few places in the North end that low-income seniors can afford to live,” said BHA Administrator Kate Bennett. “I am grateful for the federal delegation prioritizing this critical resource and this wonderful community.”
“We’re very excited to see our homes get fixed up. The building really needs to be upgraded, but this is an investment in more than just a building. It’s an investment in us, and in our home,” said Ausonia Tenant Task Force President Cheryl Iftikar. “I’ve lived at Ausonia for seven years and in the North End my entire life. These efforts will make life better for seniors here in the North End.”
The work at Ausonia is still in the planning stages, but the improvements are expected to include better insulation and heating systems, as well as renovated apartment units. BHA will prioritize resident health and wellbeing as part of this effort.