Grand opening of new housing for older adults celebrated in Dorchester at Hearth at Four Corners
Today, Mayor Kim Janey, the State of Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Michael Kennealy, Hearth President and CEO Mark Hinderlie, D.F. Pray President Scott Pray, the Hearth Board of Directors and local elected officials joined Hearth at Four Corners residents and neighborhood residents to celebrate the grand opening of Hearth at Four Corners. The more than $19 million housing development created 54 new units of supportive, affordable housing for older adults, and is located on a previously vacant city-owned lot at 16 Ronald Street in Dorchester. Today’s announcement demonstrates the City of Boston’s commitment to creating more equitable affordable housing for older residents.
“As a city, we measure our success by how we serve all of our people. I'm proud that together with our partners, we've created these affordable and beautiful new homes for older Boston residents, offering a place that they are proud to call home,” said Mayor Janey. “These new homes are an example of our commitment to preserving and growing our affordable housing options in our city. I want to thank all partners involved for making Hearth at Four Corners possible, which will make a positive difference in the lives of the residents and the Dorchester neighborhood.”
Hearth at Four Corners created 54 affordable apartments for older Boston residents, creating 52 one-bedroom units and two studio apartments. All residents living in the new 48,867 square foot building have access to on-site concierge services and a Resident Service Coordinator. They also have onsite wellness services. The new housing development serves individuals age 62 or older who have a range of incomes, including eight units for formerly homeless individuals, 11 units for clients of the Department of Mental Health, 19 units for those with incomes up to 30% of the area median income (AMI) ($26,850 for an individual), 18 units for incomes up to 50% of AMI ($44,800 for an individual), and 17 units for those incomes up to 60% of AMI ($53,760 for an individual).
“We are so glad to be able to work with all of our partners to create beautiful, affordable housing for older Bostonians,” said Jessica Boatright, Deputy Director of the Neighborhood Housing Division for the Department of Neighborhood Development. “We know how important it is to create housing for our aging residents to ensure that they are able to continue to live in the City that they have helped to build and call their home. Hearth at Four Corners is a wonderful addition for older Bostonians and for the neighborhood.”
“When you’re in a shelter or on the streets, you’re just surviving. You’re only thinking about your next meal and where you’re going to sleep,” said Hearth at Four Corners resident Juanita. “When I moved into my apartment, I couldn’t believe how much stuff was already there. Hearth provided me with a bed, new sheets, couch, everything for my kitchen and bathroom. It’s like they knew the toll surviving takes on a person, and they were going to help me live, again. All these years all I wanted was housing, but Hearth found me a home. I want to thank Mayor Janey, everyone from the city, the shelters and especially at Hearth for not giving up on people like me and helping me make this dream come true. I finally have a home!”
Hearth at Four Corners construction used the highest standards of universal design throughout the new building to accommodate older adults of all abilities. The building meets LEED Silver, Energy Star, and Enterprise Green Community standards.
“Every day at the Age Strong Commission, we hear from older Bostonians facing homelessness and struggling with housing issues,” said Commissioner Shea. “I am proud of this partnership for what it’s going to mean to so many older adults, providing not only a place to sleep, but a home and a community where they can live and thrive. Now more than ever, we need to come together to empower older adults and build supportive communities like this one.”
Financing for the project includes support from the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, and State, Federal low-income housing tax credits, MassDevelopment, Citizens, and Eastern Bank. Philanthropic support was provided by Charles H. Farnsworth Trust, Charlesbank Homes, and individual donors.
“Hearth at Four Corners represents a new phase of Hearth’s meeting its mission of ending homelessness among older adults, developed after 30 years of local and national leadership in addressing this often-overlooked population,” stated Mark Hinderlie, CEO of the developer, Hearth, Inc. “Hearth’s previous 174 units were built or developed specifically for formerly homeless older adults or those at imminent risk of homelessness. Four Corners incorporates a new focus on preventing homelessness by providing opportunities for those with very low to moderately low incomes to afford to remain safely housed in a beautiful, affordable home.”
The new building is located on the former Ronald Gibson School site, near the MBTA Fairmount line. The construction of the new building was done by Hearth’s contractor D.F. Pray, and the new development received support from the community, the Erie Ellington Brinsley Neighborhood Association. D.F. Pray also adheres to the City of Boston’s Residents Jobs Policy on construction projects, with Hearth at Four Corners exceeding the City’s target of 40% by hiring 65.3% minority contractors.
In the past five years, 424 units for older residents have either been completed or are currently in construction, 93 percent of which are income-restricted units. Also, the City has seven more developments in the pipeline that will create 374 more units for older residents.
The construction of Hearth at Four Corners strongly aligns with the City of Boston’s housing goals to produce affordable housing for older Bostonians, as outlined in Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030. Through Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030, the City’s housing plan, the City set a target of creating 2,000 low-income elderly units by 2030. Along with Hearth at Four Corners is Grace Apartments in East Boston, The Barton Rogers School in Hyde Park, and several other projects, the City has permitted or constructed 627 new low-income units for older residents.About the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND)
The Department of Neighborhood Development is responsible for housing people experiencing homelessness, developing affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can find, maintain, and stay in their homes. As part of the ongoing coronavirus response, the Office of Housing Stability is also conducting tenant’s rights workshops to educate residents about the eviction moratorium and their rights. The Boston Home Center continues to provide down payment assistance to first-time home buyers and home repairs for seniors and low-income residents. The Supportive Housing Division works with various partners around the city to rapidly house individuals who are experiencing homelessness. For more information, please visit the DND website.About Hearth, Inc.
Celebrating thirty years, Hearth, Inc. was founded in 1991 as a nonprofit with a mission to end elder homelessness. Hearth has developed 228 units of housing, including Hearth at Four Corners. They have placed over 2,700 older adults in safe housing with appropriate services, both in Hearth housing and through their Outreach Program, and created a National Leadership Initiative, which has resulted in the development of tens of thousands of units of permanent supportive housing for homeless and at-risk older adults by its partner organizations from coast to coast. For more information, please visit www.hearth-home.org.