$50 Million Funding Commitment announced For Mildred C. Hailey Apartments
Mayor Michelle Wu at a press conference announced a commitment of $50 million in funding for capital improvements at the Boston Housing Authority’s Mildred C. Hailey Apartments in Jamaica Plain. She was joined by President of the Mildred C. Hailey Tenant Task Force Yolanda Torres, Greater Boston Interfaith Organization leader Beverly Williams, Chair of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Community Advisory Committee Lincoln Larmond, City Councilors Kendra Lara and Kenzie Bok, State Representative Nika Elugardo and city officials including Chief of Housing Sheila Dillon, Executive Director of the Office of Fair Housing Will Onuoha, and Administrator of the Boston Housing Authority Kate Bennett, members of the Mildred C. Hailey community, and many other advocates.
With the new investment, the Boston Housing Authority is planning to address plumbing, ventilation, windows, and kitchen and bathroom improvements in 526 public housing units. These investments will improve air quality, prevent environmental health hazards like mold and mildew, and increase energy efficiency, advancing Mayor Wu’s commitment to climate action through a Green New Deal agenda. The Boston Housing Authority aims to begin work within the year. This new funding for renovations, along with the planned redevelopment, will ensure that the entire site is sustainable.
Mayor Wu also today signed An Executive Order Relative to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and the Implementation of the City of Boston’s Assessment of Fair Housing, intended to instill the practice of fair housing and racial equity throughout all levels of City government. The Executive Order builds on the advocacy of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Community Advisory Committee, which spearheaded a multi-year community engagement process to identify fair housing challenges and priorities and action steps to advance a fair housing agenda in Boston. With this step, Mayor Wu builds on Boston’s legacy as a leader in fair housing and civil rights, after Boston became the first major city to embed fair housing in its zoning code in 2021.
“Today was an exciting recognition of the legacy of activism and leadership at Mildred Hailey and the legacy and activism of housing and tenants rights activists across the city and beyond,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “We plan to make affordable housing a top priority when it comes to putting federal recovery money to use. That means preserving and improving affordable housing that already exists, as well as adding more affordable housing options for residents across the city. This is an investment that builds on generations of work that advocates and tenant leaders have done to improve quality of life for our residents.”
The federal public housing program has been underfunded for decades, especially with regard to capital needs. This underfunding has forced public housing authorities nationwide to defer necessary capital improvements, as conditions in the aging buildings slowly deteriorate. Mildred Hailey, which was built mid century, has significant capital needs that impact residents’ quality of life. This new $50 million funding commitment will be met through a combination of federal funding and the City’s capital plan.
“This funding will significantly improve the lives of hundreds of families in a community that truly needs the help,” BHA Administrator Kate Bennett said. “This is what leadership looks like, and I am grateful to Mayor Wu for acting decisively to address this critical need.”
“I cannot overstate how important this investment is for residents here at Mildred C. Hailey Apartments,” said Yolanda Torres, President of the Mildred C. Hailey Tenant Taskforce. “I want to thank the Mayor for making an investment that will make life better for hundreds of residents in my community.”
“Thank you to Mayor Wu and the Boston Housing Authority for this much-needed $50 million investment in the Mildred Hailey apartments,” said Greater Boston Interfaith Organization leader, Beverly Williams. “This is a true testament to what happens when elected officials, the community, agencies, and advocates collaborate together.”
"An investment in public housing is an investment in the people of our city. For years the tenants at Mildred C. Hailey have fought tirelessly for healthy, safe, and accessible homes,” said City Councilor Kendra Lara. “I want to thank them for remaining steadfast in their advocacy and Mayor Wu for leading with urgency and prioritizing the needs of working-class people in district six and across the city."
"Mayor Wu's signing of the executive order today represents a step towards making Boston a more equitable, inclusive and accessible city for all," said Chief of Housing Sheila Dillon. "Thanks to the partnership with the Community Advisory Committee, we continue to create solutions and remove barriers to housing opportunity in Boston. We look forward to making further strides towards equity under Mayor Wu's leadership."
"The signing of the Executive Order adopting the City of Boston Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) is a testament to Mayor Wu’s leadership, commitment, and vision for the City of Boston as a place where justice, civil rights, and equity do not only happen at the margins but reign supreme,” said Lincoln Larmond, Chair of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Community Advisory Committee. “The AFH is the fulfillment of years of hard work, dedication, commitment, and perseverance of the Community Advisory Committee for Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (CAC) and our City of Boston partners. Most importantly, however, it is a testament to and affirmation of the residents of Boston who shared their many stories and whose voices and lived experiences expertly informed the policies and goals of the AFH. This is indeed a great victory for the City of Boston and the CAC is proud to stand with Mayor Wu on behalf of countless civic leaders and community members who have labored so long for this day."
A plan is underway for the redevelopment of 253 of the 779 public housing units currently at Mildred C. Hailey Apartments, with construction expected to begin later this year. In addition to restoring 253 public housing units, this plan will create hundreds of additional units affordable to low and moderate income residents. Centre Street Partners, a collaboration of the JPNDC, The Community Builders and Urban Edge, will carry out the redevelopment project. In the past year, BHA has brought in a dedicated maintenance crew, a Director of Quality Control, and additional staff to address maintenance issues at Mildred Hailey. The BHA has also allocated $13 million to make additional capital repairs over the next several years.