On a sun-flooded morning, hundreds of families from Bromley Heath apartments sat in overflow chairs in a crowded tent to listen as Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Housing Authority William McGonagle renamed the development Mildred C. Hailey Apartments. Joining them was Anna Mae Cole, a friend and comrade in arms for over 60 years and former chair of the Bromley Heath Tenant Management Corporation that Mrs. Hailey (and yes she was always Mrs. Hailey) directed for 40 years. Mrs. Hailey died of cancer at the age of 82 on Nov. 18, 2015 . Walsh remembered her memorial service: "At the end Billy [McGonagle] came up to me and said, "I've never asked you for anything but I'd like to ask you to name Bromley Heath after Mildred Hailey."
Plan B went into full effect at the 6th Plan JP/Rox workshop last Wednesday as 50 protesters marched into the room clapping. Just as the emcee, Senior Planner Marie Mercurio, was concluding her opening remarks, the protesters grabbed what they called "the people's mic" to "fight not for profit but for the community." For over an hour, "Keep it 100% for Egleston," a well-organized and well-rehearsed group, listed its demands to stop the Boston Redevelopment Authority-sponsored Plan JP/Rox for three months. Plan JP/Rox is a once-in-a-generation rezoning process for the whole Washington Street and Columbus Avenue corridors in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. The protest group, which is comprised both young people as well as adults, alternated speakers using a call-and-response format.
(Jamaica) Plain and simple -- what is the biggest issue in Jamaica Plain? At the Wake Up the Earth Festival, Jamaica Plain News asked people to name what they think is the biggest issue in JP. And several topics continued to come up. Overwhelmingly people said either gentrification or housing affordability. Other issues were named as you can see below.
The Boston Housing Authority has designated Amory Partners, a joint venture of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp., Urban Edge and The Community Builders, to redevelop 125 Amory St., a 215-unit public housing for elderly and disabled near Jackson Square. In a press release, the Housing Authority said, "Some of the key features and determining factors of the selection include preservation of existing public housing units and generation of up to $3 million in cross subsidy from new mixed income units. The second component is the new connection to the surrounding neighborhood to create a more integrated development. The final design will include a total of 509 units of which 185 will be market rate and 324 workforce/affordable." Amory Partners will add 214 new apartments in satellite buildings on the vacant land of the site around the main building of Amory Apartments.
Obtaining funding for public housing projects is frequently a challenge. "I'm convinced that the funding for public housing as we know it is gone and it's not coming back," Boston Housing Authority director Bill McGonagle told the Bay State Banner in January, noting that the Department of Housing and Urban Development was pushing housing authorities in the direction of public-private partnerships. This is being done at Amory Street Apartments, 125 Amory St., under the HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration program authorized by Congress in 2012. Amory Street Apartments has 215 units of mostly studio and one-bedrooms; it opened in April 1973. In 2013, the BHA was one of 68 housing authorities nationwide selected by HUD to participate in RAD. RAD allows housing authorities to form partnerships with private or non-profit developers to leverage public and private debt and equity in order to reinvest in public housing stock according to the HUD announcement.