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Renovation of 201 affordable units in Roxbury and Dorchester celebrated

The project preserves long-term affordability for units at 21 locations in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Jamaica Plain.

Mayor Kim Janey joined the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development CorporationMassHousing and the residents of multiple affordable housing sites, collectively called the Pitts Portfolio, to celebrate the acquisition, preservation and renovation of 201 units in Roxbury and Dorchester. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) utilized $1.5 million in City of Boston Acquisition Opportunity Program (AOP) funding and $26 million in permanent MassHousing financing to purchase and renovate the units. This funding allowed for extensive capital improvements across the 201 unit portfolio, as well as finance the long-term affordability of the properties. As part of the work, 11 units were made accessible to people with disabilities and 14 units have been set aside to house formerly homeless individuals and families.  

“This is a great example of how community partners can work together to ensure Boston residents have a place to call home,” Mayor Kim Janey said. “ The ability of the City to keep these units affordable into the future is a huge win for Boston. I look forward to continuing to work with our nonprofit organizations, MassHousing and other partners to protect and preserve Boston’s affordable housing options.”  

The housing is located in 21 buildings in Fort Hill, Nubian Square and Grove Hall, purchased from the estate of Lorenzo Pitts. Mr. Pitts was a successful, Roxbury-based owner and housing developer. Most of the units were affordable to low-income families. When JPNDC acquired the Pitts Portfolio in 2018, only 64 of the 201 units had long-term affordability restrictions, and without a long-term preservation transaction, the remainder were at risk of being converted to market-rate housing. The City’s $1.5M in AOP funding helped to ensure that all 201 units will have long-term affordability.  

“Welcome home to all the residents of the Lorenzo Pitts properties who now have renovated, modern homes where they can live affordably and prosper well into the future,” said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. “MassHousing commends the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and the estate of Lorenzo Pitts – as well as the city, state and private partners involved in this project - for their commitment to preserving this important affordable housing portfolio in Dorchester and Roxbury.”

Overall, there are 38 one-bedroom apartments, 87 two-bedroom apartments, 53 three-bedroom apartments, 18 four-bedroom apartments, two five-bedroom apartments and three six-bedroom apartments. Renovations on the buildings and units included masonry repairs of building facades, roof and window replacement at selected buildings, accessibility upgrades, kitchen and bathroom upgrades, and mechanical, electrical and plumbing system upgrades. 

Of the 201 units in the Pitts portfolio, 14 units are restricted to households earning 30 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) or less, 161 units are restricted at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and 26 units are restricted at or below 80 percent of AMI. A total of 165 units are supported by project-based Section 8 or MRVP rental subsidy. 

“We are tremendously grateful to the City of Boston and to all the other partners who made it possible to keep these 201 families in our city,” said JPNDC CEO Teronda Ellis. “MassHousing played an essential role, and DHCD, HUD, the Boston Housing Authority and the Massachusetts Historic Commission all contributed. And I especially want to thank the residents for their tremendous patience throughout the renovation process, especially since most of it took place during one of our nation’s most serious pandemics.”

Launched in 2017, the goal of the AOP program is to allow affordable housing developers and nonprofits to fight displacement by acquiring units off of the private market and securing affordable rents for current and future residents for the long term. AOP allows these buyers to compete with speculative buyers and preserve rental units at below-market rates for low-income Bostonians. To date, funding from this initiative has created 597 new units of affordable housing, of which 310 have been restricted at or below 60 percent of area median income (AMI) and 287 units at or below 100 percent AMI. 

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 administering Boston’s Rental Relief Fund, which has given out $17 million to more than 3,000 households, and 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 Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC)

Founded in 1977, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) pursues the mission of transforming lives and amplifying the voices of Boston residents who have been excluded from prosperity. Its work is credited with developing 1,170 affordable homes, securing more than $15 million in financing for local small businesses, and connecting more than 2,000 residents to jobs, education, and training. For more information about JPNDC please visit jpndc.org.

About MassHousing

MassHousing (The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency) is an independent, quasi-public agency created in 1966 and charged with providing financing for affordable housing in Massachusetts. The Agency raises capital by selling bonds and lends the proceeds to low- and moderate-income homebuyers and homeowners, and to developers who build or preserve affordable and/or mixed-income rental housing. MassHousing does not use taxpayer dollars to sustain its operations, although it administers some publicly funded programs on behalf of the Commonwealth. Since its inception, MassHousing has provided more than $22 billion for affordable housing. For more information, visit the MassHousing website at masshousing.com, follow us on Twitter @MassHousing, subscribe to our blog and Like us on Facebook.

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    Published by: Housing
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