Groundbreaking for the $23 million Harry and Jeanette Weinberg House
July 21, 2017
BOSTON - Friday, July 21, 2017 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined Congressman Michael Capuano, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE), local elected officials and residents of the JCHE Brighton Campus for the groundbreaking for the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg House. The $23 million project will create 61 units of supportive, affordable housing for seniors at 132 Chestnut Hill Avenue, and will be connected to JCHE's existing 700-unit Brighton campus.
"This project will create 61 modern and supportive homes for seniors in this community, and ground-floor retail the whole neighborhood can enjoy," said Mayor Walsh. "I'm proud of the City of Boston's commitment to this project, and thank the Weinberg Family, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, and all partners involved. The expansion of this vibrant and historic community is a snapshot of the progress we're making Citywide. Working together, we are helping to keep Boston a diverse city that is open and affordable to everyone who wants to live here."
"Mayor Walsh is the most supportive mayor in the country, especially around two issues -- affordable housing and quality of life for our seniors," said JCHE President and CEO Amy Schectman. "The Mayor, Congressman Capuano, Secretary Alice Bonner, Representative Honan, and Councilor Ciommo together illustrate the power of collaboration. Between the city, state, federal and private investment and philanthropic dollars, we are about to make the world that much better with this project."
JCHE's 1,200 apartments located in Brighton, Newton, and Framingham are home to 1,500 low-income older adults of all backgrounds. Ninety-three percent of residents live in JCHE's subsidized units and have an average income of $16,137. Twenty-two of the new units will be for extremely low-income senior households earning less than 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), and thirty-nine units will be affordable to those earning less than 60 percent of AMI. Seven units will be reserved for chronically homeless seniors, with specialized and placement services provided by HEARTH, Inc. A five-bedroom/bathroom pod, run in collaboration with Jewish Family & Children's Service, are designated for low-income individuals aging with lifelong developmental disabilities.
All residents at the new 57,000 sq. ft. building will have full and easy shared access to all existing life-enhancing services, programs, and amenities on JCHE's existing Brighton Campus. An indoor connecting bridge and outdoor landscaped walkways will make traveling between the buildings seamless. At the core of JCHE's programming and services that sustain senior independence and create community are:
Intergenerational programming, an active schedule of lectures, language classes, concerts, and events and discussion groups that promote social interaction, creative expression and intellectual stimulation.
Supportive services such as fitness and falls prevention, in-home services, 24/7 on-site staffing, escorts to medical appointments, wheelchair-accessible transportation, and eight resident service coordinators.
State of the art facilities, which include the senior-specialized fitness center, computer center, multi-lingual library, auditorium, art room, meeting and lounge areas.
"Projects like this one are why I fight so hard in Congress for affordable housing funds. These 61 units will enhance the City of Boston's senior housing stock and help revitalize the neighborhood," said Congressman Mike Capuano. "Seniors will have access to a host of services that will enhance their quality of life such as transportation services, a fitness center, social activities, classes and so much more. The initiative is possible through local, state and federal partnerships as well as a commitment from the Weinberg family and Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly. I look forward to returning for the grand opening."
"I'm really grateful for the leadership of JCHE and of Mayor Walsh in striving to create housing for all people," said Senator William Brownsberger. "Creating quality housing is hard work and we are doing it here in Boston."
The highest standards of universal design possible will be met throughout the new building and site to accommodate residents of all physical abilities. The building will meet LEED Silver, Energy Star, and Enterprise Green Community standards. Pedestrian enhancements will create pathways and sitting areas from Chestnut Hill Avenue through the existing JCHE campus to the Commonwealth Avenue Green Line. In addition, 3,000 sq. ft of "place-making" ground level commercial space in the new building will invite the community onto the JCHE campus.
"Today is another reminder of the positive impact that can be made when leaders at all levels of government partner with great organizations like the JCHE," said Councilor Mark Ciommo. "A city is judged by how well it treats the most vulnerable among us, and this investment to provide affordable housing for our seniors, especially those who have previously been chronically homeless, reflects the commitment that Boston has to finding solutions for those in need."
Total development cost for this new building is $23 million, and was made possible in part by a $2.25 million investment by the City of Boston, $3.025 million in funds from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in addition to both State and 9 percent Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit allocations, a $2.25 million permanent loan from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, and $14.4 million in construction financing and $14 million in tax credit equity from Wells Fargo. In addition, the project received a donation from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.
Today's announcement builds on the recent release of Boston's latest quarterly housing report, which highlights gains in stabilizing the housing market, accommodating housing growth and increasing affordability. Since the 2014 implementation of the City's housing plan Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030, 13,551 new units of housing have been completed. With an additional 8,412 units currently under construction, the City has secured housing for an estimated 25,000 residents, making significant progress in meeting Boston's rapid population growth.
This project received overwhelming support from the community, local businesses and nonprofit organizations. It will also revitalize a portion of Boston's Brighton community, bringing the entire vacant site back to productive use.