May 2023: Latest Updates from the Mayor's Office of Housing
MAYOR WU, STATE OFFICIALS, AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS CELEBRATE THE GRAND OPENING OF THE LOOP AT MATTAPAN STATION
In April, Mayor Michelle Wu, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), Nuestra Comunidad, MassHousing and residents celebrated the Grand Opening of the Loop at Mattapan Station. The Loop at Mattapan Station is a new transit-oriented 135-unit affordable mixed-use housing community in Mattapan Square. The day also marked the opening of a community, non-profit grocery store, the Daily Table.
The Loop at Mattapan Station was developed on a vacant and underutilized MBTA parking lot adjacent to the Mattapan trolley line station. The Loop boasts a gym, community rooms, a basketball court, a roof deck, and a bike room that features an E-bike charging station. The development is located minutes from the Neponset River Greenway. This project was made possible in part by $3 million from the City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of Housing.
THE CITY MARKS THE GROUNDBREAKING OF THE PRESERVE AT OLMSTED GREEN
Last month, City of Boston officials, Lena Park Community Development Corporation, New Boston Fund, MassHousing, and Commonwealth Builders came together in celebration of the groundbreaking for the Preserve at Olmsted Green, marking the commencement of the last phase of homeownership at Olmsted Green. This ambitious project aims to provide 80 units of housing, aligning with the City of Boston's commitment to enhancing homeownership opportunities and fostering generational wealth.
The event took place at the recently completed 3,000-square-foot Gateway Center on the West Campus, an impressive facility equipped with a community and family event center, cyber-café, fitness center, and management offices. To support the residents, Lena Park CDC and Winn Management will offer services such as ongoing financial literacy and homeownership training, job training and placement programs, and community events. Within the 80 units under construction, 36 will be reserved for individuals or families earning 80 to 100 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), with an additional 27 units designated for those earning 120 percent of AMI. Furthermore, 17 units will be available as unrestricted, market-rate housing.
This transformative project represents the final phase of the redevelopment of the former Boston State Hospital site, for which Lena New Boston has been at the forefront, aided significantly by the City of Boston's substantial subsidy support. The comprehensive development encompasses 20 buildings and three private streets, epitomizing a significant milestone for the community.
COMMUNITY CELEBRATES KEY MILESTONES FOR PROJECTS ON WHITTIER STREET
Mayor Michelle Wu, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), and HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman joined Preservation of Affordable Housing, residents, and partners to commemorate a significant milestone in the Lower Roxbury neighborhood.
The occasion marked the completion of affordable family housing at the former Whittier Street Apartments, as well as the groundbreaking for the final phase of the development. Dating back to the early 1950s, the Whittier Street Apartments public housing development was once home to 200 families. Now, the newly constructed development, known as Flat 9 at Whittier, proudly offers 200 brand new replacement units.
This project not only honors the area's rich heritage but also provides a livable space that features outdoor play areas, a variety of building and unit sizes and types, and new streets to reintegrate the site into the wider neighborhood. Moreover, additional mixed-income and market housing will be introduced both on-site and in the nearby community, ensuring a balanced and inclusive environment. Overall, Flat 9 at Whittier represents a remarkable fusion of public housing units, low and moderate-income apartments, and market-rate units, serving as a testament to the commitment to affordable and diverse housing options in Boston.
HONORING MEL KING’S LEGACY IN HOUSING
Mel King, former State representative, lifelong community activist, teacher, and academic, died on March 28. He was 94. King dedicated his life to community-led development, advocating for affordable housing and fighting against displacement. He believed in empowering people to shape development policies and united a diverse collection of residents and advocates to push for change.
King’s legendary protest and organizing work to create the Tent City development in the South End was just the first fight that he successfully led for affordable housing and equity. Throughout the course of his long life and career, he continued advocating for rent control and for more housing developed by the City of Boston to be reserved for lower income Bostonians. To ensure that the knowledge he had earned would not be lost, he created the Community Fellows Program at MIT, and taught generations of Fellows to work toward the greater good of all residents in their own cities. King also founded the Rainbow Coalition political caucus to support progressive candidates, and the Mel King Institute to provide professional development training for community development practitioners with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.
The Mayor’s Office of Housing, along with legislators and activists, many of whom he taught, are collectively continuing to advocate for the adoption of policies he supported that are currently being discussed at the MA State Legislature. These policies include Rent Stabilization, the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, and transfer-fee legislation which would fund the creation of new, affordable housing.
OFFICE OF HOUSING RELEASES THE ANNUAL INCOME-RESTRICTED HOUSING REPORT
The Mayor's Office of Housing has recently released the annual income-restricted housing report, documenting Boston's efforts to create and preserve affordable housing. With 19.2 percent of its total housing stock designated as income-restricted, Boston has the highest percentage of affordable housing of major cities in the country. Over the past decade, the city has permitted an impressive 8,975 income-restricted units, accounting for 21.4 percent of all permits issued during that period. In 2022 alone, 30 percent of all permitted units were income-restricted, amounting to 1,299 units. Furthermore, 24 percent of all completed housing in the same year, totaling 866 units, fell under the income-restricted category.
These statistics highlight Boston's commitment to creating and preserving a significant number of income-restricted units. The City recognizes the urgent need to address the growing demand for housing and is dedicated to expanding the stock of affordable homes. Achieving this goal involves a multi-faceted approach, combining federal, state, and city funds, requiring private residential and large commercial developments to support income-restricted housing, and implementing innovative programs and policies.
GrowBoston has grant applications available to small nonprofit organizations.
The first grant opportunity focuses on supporting community gardens and food forests by providing garden supplies. Interested applicants can access the application form through GrowBoston's website. This initiative aims to empower local communities to cultivate sustainable food sources and promote a sense of shared responsibility for urban agriculture.
In line with its commitment to addressing food insecurity, GrowBoston is launching a deep community engagement process to guide its future urban agriculture work, with a specific focus on Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and East Boston.
These neighborhoods have been identified as having the highest rates of food insecurity in Boston. As part of this process, GrowBoston is establishing Neighborhood Steering Committees in each neighborhood. These committees will play a crucial role in shaping the organization's strategies and initiatives, ensuring that the community's needs and aspirations are at the forefront. Please check the GrowBoston website for information on upcoming community meetings.