September 2021: Latest updates from the Department of Neighborhood Development
Building Affordable Housing
Pitts Portfolio Celebration
Mayor Kim Janey joined the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, MassHousing, 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 utilized $1.5 million from the City of Boston Acquisition Opportunity Program 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, and financing 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.
The housing is located in 21 buildings in Fort Hill, Nubian Square, and Grove Hall. It was purchased from the estate of Lorenzo Pitts. Pitts was a successful Roxbury-based owner and housing developer. Most of the units were affordable to low-income families.real estate transfer fee proposal
Mayor Janey filed a Home Rule Petition with the Boston City Council to create a fee of up to two percent on real estate sales over $3 million. The petition, if passed, is expected to generate an estimated $65.3 million to expand affordable housing in Boston, including preserving existing housing and creating new income-restricted housing. After passage by the Boston City Council, the legislation must be approved by the Massachusetts State Legislature and signed by the Governor.
This legislation builds on a 2019 Home Rule Petition that passed the Boston City Council, but has not advanced in the Massachusetts State Legislature. The 2019 version proposed a fee of up to two percent on real estate sales over $2 million. The fee will instead be applied to the sales value above $3 million.
Chinatown Rowhouse Celebration
Mayor Kim Janey and the Chinatown Community Land Trust welcomed first-time, low-income homebuyers who purchased the Chinatown Land Trust’s (Chinatown CLT) first permanently affordable condo units on a 99-year community land trust ground lease.
The CLT preserved and renovated these seven units with funding from DND and the Community Preservation Act. These homes on 20 Oak Street (three units) and 95 Hudson Street (four units) are the CLT's first permanently affordable homes created on the land trust.
Harmon Apartments in Dorchester Wins Vanguard Award
DND was pleased to hear that Harmon Apartments will be awarded a 2021 Vanguard Award from the National Affordable Housing Management Association as an exceptional example of new construction of a building with fewer than 100 units. The $18.7 million development was completed in the Spring of 2019, utilizing $2.4 million in DND funds to create 36 ADA accessible, mixed-income apartments with supportive services designed to promote independent living for adults with disabilities.
This mixed-income rental housing development was created on the grounds of the Boston Home in Dorchester. Not only was it purpose built to serve the needs of persons with disabilities, it was thoughtfully designed to address the specific supportive needs of persons who have progressive neurological disabilities.
In addition, Harmon Apartments was created to truly be affordable: 30 of the rental units are restricted as affordable, with eight units restricted to persons with very low income of under 30% AMI, and 22 restricted to those of more moderate incomes of less than 60% AMI.
Congratulations on this well-deserved award!
New Eviction Moratorium and Eviction Prevention Resources
The Boston Public Health Commission issued a new public health order on August 31, 2021 establishing a moratorium on evictions in the city of Boston. This order went into effect immediately and may protect you if you are a city of Boston resident that has been ordered to leave your home for reasons other than criminal activity.
If you’re able to, you should pay your rent. If you need help paying your past and future rent, apply for rental assistance today. Applying for rental assistance may “stop the clock” on the eviction process if you’ve received a Notice to Quit.
- There are millions of dollars available to tenants through the City’s Rental Relief Fund and the State’s RAFT program. Landlords can also access funds to help pay mortgages through the State’s ERMA program. To date, the City has distributed more than $18.5 million to more than 3,400 families.
- The City's Rental Relief Fund can also pay up to three months of expected utility and home energy expenses (up 10 $1,500).
- Tenants should be aware that there are State protections for any tenant who has applied for rental assistance from the above programs. The City also requires that any landlord planning to end a tenancy provides tenants with a Notice of Tenant’s Rights and Resources.
- The Office of Housing Stability (OHS) has partnered with Greater Boston Legal Services to ensure that tenants who come to court have legal representation. OHS also has counselors available by email, phone or in person who can assist tenants. Tenants should visit boston.gov/housingstability or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how to access available resources.
- OHS runs weekly virtual legal clinics and office hours for tenants needing assistance. Through the clinics and office hours, OHS can connect tenants with a landlord mediator. Tenants can find information on the steps to take if they are facing eviction on the OHS website.
- If you have an urgent housing issue or have further questions about resources, please call 617-635-4200 for assistance. Tenants are also welcome to visit OHS in person at 43 Hawkins Street from 9am to 5pm on Mondays through Fridays.
Housing Stability Notification Act: Landlord Portal
The City has passed an Amendment requiring all landlords and constables to use an online portal to serve a copy of a Notice to Quit and Notice of Nonrenewal of Lease. Landlords MUST use this portal going forward to be in compliance with the amended ordinance.
Below is an outline of what the City expects from landlords/constables/foreclosing owners:
- Serve the Notice to Quit and Notice of Nonrenewal in accordance with Massachusetts Law and in your usual manner; AND
- Include the City's Notice of Tenants’ Rights and Resources with the above; AND
- Upload a PDF of the Notice to Quit or Notice of Nonrenewal to our landlord portal
Foreclosure Protections and Resources
DND estimates that over 6,000 Boston households (seven percent of all homeowners) are not caught up on mortgage payments. While the federal moratorium on foreclosures expired on July 31, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued a new rule, which took effect August 31. This new rule prohibits mortgage servicers from foreclosing on most borrowers unless the home is abandoned, the borrower has not responded to requests for 90 days, or is not a candidate for a loan modification.
DND will be asking participating lenders and their servicers to take a “pledge” to:
- Provide information to homeowners on Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) resources that may be available
- Comply with the CFPB rule not to foreclose unless absolutely necessary
Currently, low-income homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure can access the state’s ERMA and RAFT program for unpaid mortgage payments, insurance, condo association fees and taxes.
If you or someone you know are at risk of foreclosure please visit our foreclosure assistance webpage or call 617-635-4663.
Director of Operations
Under the direction of the Director for the Department of Neighborhood Development and Cabinet Chief for Housing, the Director of Operations is responsible for overseeing the day-today management and operations of DND. View the full job description and apply.
Office of Housing Stability Assistant Director
The Assistant Director will be responsible for overseeing program and policy development and ensuring the effective day-to-day operations of this division. As a master of both big-picture efficiency and individual task follow-up, the Assistant Director works closely with all staff to ensure that the Division’s housing programs to assist Bostonians in housing crisis goals are met, staff are receiving the support they need, and the public is being effectively served. View the full job description and apply.
Supportive Housing Division Operations Manager
Under the direct supervision of the Deputy Director for Supportive Housing or their designee, the Operations Manager will assist the Deputy Director and all senior staff in overseeing all operations of the Supportive Housing division. The Supportive Housing Division is responsible for ending homelessness in Boston. The importance of the Division’s work and subsequent growth of the Division’s annual budget ($28M in FY15 to $43M in FY21, a 53% increase) have increased the need for efficient operations across the Division. View the full job description and apply.
Construction Specialist II
Under the direct supervision of the Construction and Design Services Manager, the Construction Specialist II is responsible for all construction management and oversight activities and assistance for development projects and programs, including but not limited to 1-3 family rehabs, adaptive re-use developments, renovations of existing rental developments and new construction, wood frame, masonry and steel mid-rise and high rise construction. 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.
We’re currently hiring for a Product Owner to help DND accelerate the pace of innovation within our technology systems and our department more broadly. This position will be responsible for the maintenance, development, and enhancement of the core, cloud-based technology solutions used by DND to serve our front-line staff, or partners, and our constituents. View the full job description and apply.
Technology Support Specialist
This position will be responsible for supporting the department’s 150 staff, leading trainings on new hardware and software solutions, and developing new processes to manage our department’s support desk. This position offers the opportunity to learn new technologies, and constantly problem solve to help staff identify the root cause of a technology challenges. View the full job description and apply.
Office of Housing Stability Intern
Interns with OHS will have the opportunity to learn from staff who are knowledgeable about housing resources for tenants and landlords. They'll work with Boston residents who are at risk of housing instability. Interns may also have the opportunity to support research development and the implementation of new programs and policies that the office is exploring. Fill out our expression of interest form to apply for an internship.
Find affordable rental and home ownership opportunities in the Metro-Boston area by using the Metrolist. Use it to determine what kind of home you’re eligible for and search for homes based on your needs. Don’t forget to sign up for the mailing list to be alerted to the latest housing opportunities.