Boston: The City and B’nai B’rith Housing Celebrate The Residences Off Baker

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Building on a commitment to create and preserve affordable housing in Boston, officials from the City of Boston, B'nai B'rith Housing, local elected officials, and West Roxbury residents celebrated the groundbreaking for The Residences Off Baker, a 60-unit mixed-income, family and workforce, transit-oriented development on Friday, June 10.

"As the cost of housing has become more and more out of reach for families, we recognize the need to take urgent action to keep families in their homes and build a city for everyone," said Mayor Michelle Wu. "Today's groundbreaking shows what's possible when we collaborate across different sectors and levels of government to create much-needed affordable housing in our neighborhoods."

When completed, the development will contain 60 units of housing focused on accommodating families and workers. Forty-five units of the 60 residences will be available to households earning less than 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), with 15 units restricted to households earning less than 30 percent of AMI, including units dedicated to households transitioning out of homelessness.

"We're proud to work with the West Roxbury neighborhood to make this high-quality affordable housing a reality in a neighborhood that will benefit from it," said Susan Gittelman, Executive Director of B'nai B'rith Housing.

The Boston-based nonprofit B'nai B'rith Housing, which creates and manages below-market housing for seniors and others, acquired the land for The Residences Off Baker at 1208 VFW Parkway for this development, which will be the first affordable residences constructed in West Roxbury since 2013.

"There is a tremendous need for this new housing in the neighborhood, and we are excited about the prospect of collaborating with B'nai B'rith Housing for years to come," said Dr. Peter Folan, Head of School, Catholic Memorial.

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The Residences Off Baker will include energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, as well as Energy Star-rated appliances, and will have environmentally friendly design features throughout. The Residences Off Baker is located near shopping centers and a variety of cultural and outdoor amenities, including nearby Millennium Park and the West Roxbury MBTA Commuter Line commuter rail stop. The new building will include an elevator for accessibility, central air conditioning, an on-site laundry facility, a large community space for programming on the first floor, and a courtyard with green space for the neighborhood to enjoy.

"The Residences Off Baker is another example of how leveraging HUD's HOME dollars with city and state resources can fulfill a critical housing production need for our community," said HUD New England Regional Administrator Juana Matias. "This project reaffirms our shared commitment to building an inclusive community where people can live and work free from the burden of rising housing costs like rent and travel to work. We look forward to the development of this property that will provide the residents of West Roxbury with stable, affordable housing, and we thank our local partner for this productive collaboration."

Financing for The Residences Off Baker was made possible in part by $3.7 million from the City of Boston's Mayor's Office of Housing, $5.8 million from the state's Department of Housing and Community Development, and $9.2 million from MassHousing. Eastern Bank provided a $20 million construction loan and Boston Financial was the low-income housing tax credit investor providing $14 million.

Building on Mayor Wu's belief that housing must be the foundation for our recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the City recently announced $106 million to expand opportunities for homeownership for Boston residents, studies to assess the current Linkage fee and inclusionary development levels; will audit City-owned property; and recently announced a rent stabilization advisory group, led by Mayor's Office of Housing. Additionally, she testified this week at the State House on Transfer Fee Legislation that would give Boston the ability to implement if passed a transfer fee of up to two percent of the purchase price of any private real estate sale over $2 million in the City of Boston, as a means to generate additional funding for affordable housing.

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Mayor Wu's housing security legislative package is focused on expanding upon the work that Boston has done to address the region's affordable housing crisis and displacement risks for tenants by proposing new and strengthening current tools to leverage Boston's prosperity and create sustainable wealth opportunities that make Boston a more inclusive and equitable city. The housing security bills submitted seek to help tenants, particularly the elderly, remain in their homes, and create additional funding for affordable housing developments like the Residences Off Baker.

About the Mayor's Office of Housing (MOH)
The Mayor's Office of Housing is responsible for housing people experiencing homelessness, creating and preserving affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can obtain, maintain, and remain in safe, stable housing. The department develops and implements the City of Boston's housing creation and homelessness prevention plans and collaborates with local and national partners to find new solutions and build more housing affordable to all, particularly those with lower incomes. For more information, please visit the MOH website.

About B'nai B'rith Housing (BBH)
B'nai B'rith Housing (BBH) is a regional nonprofit housing developer whose mission is to ease the housing crisis in the Greater Boston area. We work with cities and towns to create economically viable, affordable housing options which respond to the needs and aspirations of each community. Our housing, both rental and homeownership, is for young families and older adults, regardless of religion or background. For more information, visit the BBH website.

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