November 2021: Latest updates from the Department of Neighborhood Development

Welcome to the Department of Neighborhood Development’s monthly newsletter. This November update focuses on our ongoing work: building affordable housing, assisting renters, ending homelessness, and preventing foreclosure.

BUILDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Groundbreaking at the Kenzi at Bartlett Station in Roxbury

Kenzi at Bartlett Station

The City of Boston celebrated the groundbreaking of new affordable housing to be built on the former MBTA Bartlett Station Lot D in Nubian Square. Mayor Kim Janey was joined by DND Neighborhood Housing Division Deputy Director Jessica Boatright, United States Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, State Representative Chynah Tyler and a number of partners including Nuestra Comunidad and Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH). The $27 million project, to be named the Kenzi at Bartlett Station, will create 50 units of supportive, affordable housing for older adults.  This is the first all-senior building on the multi-phased transformation of the former bus yard just outside Nubian Square.  The groundbreaking ceremony builds on the City of Boston’s commitment to creating more affordable housing, especially for older residents, and also makes way for dedicated arts and open-space at Bartlett.

Grand Opening Celebration of Call Carolina Homes in Jamaica Plain

call carolina

On a beautiful fall day, Mayor Kim Janey joined Chief of Housing and director of the Department of Neighborhood Development Sheila Dillon, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), and residents for the grand opening of the Call Carolina Homeownership Project. The transit-oriented homeownership development created eight new mixed-income homes in Jamaica Plain. The development of the new homes is part of the City of Boston’s long-standing efforts to create homeownership opportunities for low- and middle-income households in neighborhoods throughout Boston. This is also the City's first development funded in partnership with MassHousing's Commonwealth Builder fund.  The Call Carolina homes transformed a once-vacant MassDOT-owned lot with a formerly city-owned lot to build beautiful, larger family-sized units along the Orange Line.

Grand Opening of Indigo Block in Dorchester

indigo block

On a long anticipated day, Mayor Janey joined Chief of Housing and director of the Department of Neighborhood Development Sheila Dillon, DND Neighborhood Housing Division Deputy Director Jessica Boatright the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation, Boston Capital Development, Escazú Development, Newmarket Community Partners, and local residents for the grand opening celebration of Indigo Block, an 89-unit, mixed-use, transit-oriented affordable development on a 2.5-acre parcel located at 65 East Cottage Street in Dorchester. Indigo Block has 80 mixed-income rental units and nine homeownership units for first-time homebuyers. It also creates 23,000 sq ft of light industrial and office space, which will accommodate up to seven commercial tenants. Indigo Block adds affordable housing options to the area and provides opportunities for small businesses to expand and create jobs in the community.

Mayor Signs New Ordinance to Curb Emissions in Boston's Buildings

BERDO

On Tuesday October 12, Mayor Janey signed the Building Energy Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO), which sets a new standard for reducing carbon emissions for existing buildings.  City Council President Matt O’Malley called the bill the “greatest decarbonization bill in any city in the country,” and Mayor Janey said, “This policy is the single most impactful initiative to curb Boston’s carbon emissions.”  DND was the first City agency to implement the City's Zero Emissions standards for new construction.  DND staff extended this work in coordinating closely with Environment Department Commissioner Dr. Alison Brizius to ensure that the interests, needs and regulations of affordable housing developers and operators are represented in the ordinance as it applies to existing buildings. DND will continue to work with Commissioner Brizius on BERDO’s implementation, serving on the BERDO Implementation Committee and partnering with developers to meet BERDO standards. Read more about BERDO here.

City Council Smooths Path for Affordable Housing Developments

On the heels of three permanent supportive affordable housing developments in Jamaica Plain and Dorchester suffering delays because of abutter complaints about insufficient parking, Boston's City Council unanimously voted, and Mayor Janey signed, a new ordinance calling for the Zoning Commision to adopt an amendment to the zoning code eliminating parking minimums for income-restricted housing projects. Making this change will smooth the permitting path for affordable projects. These projects may still be required to provide parking, but these decisions will be made through the DND funding process and BPDA development review process, meeting the actual parking needs of residents and taking into account proximity to transit.


HELPING HOMEOWNERS

New Fund Launched to Aid Homeowners in Allston and Brighton

Allston Yards

Mayor Kim Janey and City Councilor Liz Breadon announced the creation of an innovative $4 million fund that will aid home buying and home repair in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood. The new Allston-Brighton Home Ownership Fund gives income-qualified, first-time Allston and Brighton homebuyers a greater ability to purchase a home in Allston-Brighton by enhancing the existing first time home buyers program. The fund will also aid Allston and Brighton homeowners 60 years and older in replacing aging heating systems in their homes. Three million dollars of the fund will be used for a first-time homebuyer assistance program to purchase a home in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood.  Buyers must meet all the current Boston Home Center homeowner assistance program guidelines, but for this program, buyers are eligible to receive up to $50,000 in a no-interest loan. Residents who are eligible for the ONE+ Boston program can use the mortgage interest discount with this fund’s higher level of down payment and closing cost assistance to purchase a higher priced home at a lower monthly mortgage payment. These funds come from the development of the Allston Yards project and are a voluntary contribution over and above the standard affordable housing requirements mandated by the City's Inclusionary Development Policy. Councilor Breadon negotiated for the funding and the Boston Home Center will be administering the funds.

foreclosure

City Launches Foreclosure Prevention Fund

The City of Boston launched a $5 million Emergency Foreclosure Prevention Fund aimed at helping Boston homeowners who are at high risk of foreclosure because they were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; by losing a job, having their income reduced or having to take unpaid time to deal with health issues related to the pandemic. The City is using federal COVID Relief Funds and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to create this program. The fund is available to Boston homeowners, who are owner-occupants, with incomes at or below 150% of area median income - $181,200 for a family of four - who are at least 90 days behind on one or more homeownership related payments.  Homeowners must be at high risk for foreclosure to be eligible for the program. A list of the qualifying requirements can be found at boston.gov/housing/emergency-foreclosure-prevention-fund.


Assisting Renters

rrf

New Program to Assist Households Fleeing Community Violence

The City of Boston is dedicating resources to provide housing related assistance to households that have directly experienced community violence. As part of this pilot program, social service & medical providers working with households to seek emergency housing assistance may receive funding for hotel stays, broker fees, and moving expenses outside of Boston. Funding for this program will be issued on behalf of survivors to their assigned social service provider, a landlord, or broker. Households can receive up to $2,500 in assistance for broker fees to secure new housing, hotel fees (up to 7 days while transitioning to new housing), first/last and security deposit, and acquiring documentation needed to secure housing outside the City of Boston.

  • Only households who meet eligibility criteria will be able to receive assistance through this program
  • Potentially eligible families and individuals must first complete an application form with a caseworker at a service agency.
  • Households cannot apply directly to this program, but are referred by their social service agency. More information can be found here.

virtual clinic

Join us for a housing search workshop

Wednesday, November 17, from 6 - 7 p.m.: Join us for virtually for assistance in finding rental housing. The link for the virtual Zoom session is here.

learn more about tenant rights

Thursday, November 18, from 6 - 7 p.m.: Join us virtually to learn more about your rights as a tenant. The link for the virtual Zoom session is here.


bsa display

Housing Exhibition "Imaginations of Home" at the Boston Society of Architects

This summer, the BSA and Housing Innovation Lab released a Request for Ideas (RFI), Co-Creating Boston's Future-Decker, inviting teams and individuals to ideate and propose new housing for small sites (3,000-8,000 square feet) in Boston. The call closed on Friday, July 30, with a total of 20 submissions. Participants were invited to share ideas for multifamily housing in Boston’s neighborhoods with a focus on affordability, sustainability and community. 

Now, the BSA and Housing iLab are showcasing the ideas virtually, inviting responses and feedback on shared themes from the RFI submissions. The BSA will also showcase the RFI submissions in-person as part of an exhibition, Imaginations of Home, on view beginning November 1st, 2021. During the fall and winter of 2021, the BSA and Housing iLab will continue to engage with community members, sharing RFI ideas and soliciting more ideas as well. The RFI responses will inform the second phase of the competition, which will include a request for innovative proposals for a yet-to-be-selected city-owned lot.

On the evening of November 16th, the BSA will host a celebratory RFI showcase event, where participants and others will have the chance to view the work both virtually and in-person, as a hybrid event. There will be a tour of the space, discussion about the response themes and information on the next steps for the competition.

More information and to sign up for tickets.


now hiring

JOB POSTINGS

Asset Manager

Under the supervision of the Assistant Director for Loan Management, the Asset Manager performs various functions related to the maintenance of the department’s loan portfolio and performs special projects as directed. The Asset Manager is a key member of DND’s Finance Division, ensuring that existing loans are in good standing and that new loans are set up in accordance with departmental policies and procedures. View the full job description and apply.Under the supervision of the Assistant Director for Loan Management, the Asset Manager performs various functions related to the maintenance of the department’s loan portfolio and performs special projects as directed. The Asset Manager is a key member of DND’s Finance Division, ensuring that existing loans are in good standing and that new loans are set up in accordance with departmental policies and procedures. View the full job description and apply.

Senior Housing Development Officer

This new Senior Housing Development Officer to End Family Homelessness role will be housed within the Supportive Housing Division at the Department of Neighborhood Development and will work in close partnership with the Office of Housing Stability, as well as staff the Special Commission on Ending Family Homelessness. The role will support the creation of a strategic plan to end homelessness among families, drive implementation of Boston's strategies to prevent and end family homelessness, facilitate advocacy with state systems to improve outcomes for homeless families, and convene partners to improve coordination. View the job description and apply.

product owner

Under the direct supervision of the Director for Innovation and Technology, the product owner is a key member of the support team. The core of the product owner’s work is helping DND maximize usable technology to support the mission and goals of the department. As the product owner, you will interact with each division and work with a broad array of policy initiatives. Each of the five major divisions - Supportive Housing, Neighborhood Housing Development, Office of Housing Stability, Real Estate Management and Sales, and the Boston Home Center - need custom solutions for using our proprietary systems like Salesforce and Google apps. They also need assistance utilizing external options and hardware to its best capabilities. The key will be to help these departments strike a balance of finding efficiency and engagement using technology, while still considering the needs of the people we serve and the often personal nature of the work. Further, it will be critical to measure and visualize the impact of such initiatives to support quantitative decision making. View the full job description and apply.

program manager

Under the supervision of the Affirmative Marketing Senior Program Manager, the Program Manager helps develop and maintain systems and resources for accessing and maintaining income-restricted housing with a critical eye toward equity, transparency, and accountability. The Program Manager provides technical assistance and guidance to property owners and their agents, City housing development officers and project managers, and other stakeholders related to income-restricted housing development. The Program Manager performs this function to ensure that the program effectively engages and serves residents, especially the most vulnerable, to achieve the program’s mission. View the job description and apply

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