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Mayor Walsh joins former public housing resident in celebrating purchase of first home

Economic mobility program assists residents to gain greater independence as part of Whittier Choice redevelopment effort

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Administrator Bill McGonagle yesterday greeted former public housing resident Patricia Brown in her new home. With assistance from the Whittier Choice Neighborhood Initiative, along with the help from resident services teams from Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), Brown was recently able to achieve her dream of becoming a first-time home owner. 

"We're very proud of Ms. Brown's hard work and are thrilled to visit her in her new home," said Mayor Walsh. "Everyone deserves a place to call home and the opportunity to feel safe and secure. As Mayor, there is nothing more rewarding than days like today when we are able to help welcome a resident home and celebrate this milestone in their life."

Working with residents on achieving greater economic self-sufficiency is one of the strategies of the Whittier Choice Neighborhood Initiative. As part of the initiative, nine other residents have obtained new employment, two residents received associate degrees this past spring, one resident completed a dental assistant training, and another one completed a hospitality training.


"Helping residents achieve goals and gain greater economic independence is what our 'People Strategy' of the Whittier Choice Neighborhood Initiative is all about," said BHA Administrator Bill McGonagle. "Our residents want and deserve to improve their living situations and become more economically independent over time and we're happy to be able to provide tools for them to do so."

Through a Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) lottery, Ms. Brown was able to buy a home at Olmsted Green in Mattapan and is now receiving $7,200 as a relocation benefit from the Whittier Choice Neighborhood Initiative grant. EMPath, as well as the Boston Home Center, provided her with coaching support over the last year to turn her dream into a reality.

Ms. Brown has been working full time as the front desk administrator at the Appellate Tax Board since 1999. She raised four children on her own, and is now raising her 9-year-old grandson, who will be moving into her new home. 

"It feels like I won the lottery. I always wanted to have my own house and thanks to the Whittier Choice Neighborhood Initiative, it's now a reality," said Patricia Brown. "I'm looking forward to calling this place my own and sharing it with my family. Thanks to the prayers and support of family and friends, as well as to the City of Boston, Boston Home Center, Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), Boston Housing Authority, and to the Mayor." 

The redevelopment of the Whittier Street public housing site is being made possible by a $30 million federal Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant awarded to the BHA and DND. The funds will leverage an additional $260 million in private and public funds for commercial and residential development and public facilities in the Whittier neighborhood.

Phase One, demolition at the site, began in February and is now complete. The building foundations are being prepared and the new buildings are expected to be ready for occupancy next fall. For more information on the redevelopment project at Whittier Street, please visit here


About Boston Housing Authority (BHA)

Boston Housing Authority (BHA) provides affordable housing to more than 58,000 residents in and around the City of Boston. Residents are assisted through a combination of public housing and federal and state voucher subsidy programs that provide a wide variety of housing opportunities. As the largest public housing authority in New England, the BHA houses close to 9 percent of the city's residents. Our mission is to provide stable, quality affordable housing for low and moderate income persons; to deliver these services with integrity and mutual accountability; and to create living environments which serve as catalysts for the transformation from dependency to economic self-sufficiency.

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