Construction recently started on the new Holtzer Park housing development which will include 62 new affordable rental units in Jackson Square. The development is part of the Boston Housing Authority’s (BHA) 125 Amory Street redevelopment. The project is a joint venture between The Community Builders, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), and Urban Edge, which are renovating and preserving 199 public housing units as affordable housing, repurposing BHA offices into 12 new affordable units, and building approximately 133 units of affordable housing and 214 market-rate apartments in three new buildings on adjacent BHA-owned property. Holtzer Park will create 41 affordable units for households whose income is less than $76,740 for a family of four and are supported with Low Income Housing Tax Credits, according to a press release. An additional 21 of units will have project-based vouchers to provide more affordability for households whose income is less than $38,350 for a family of four.
I began my career in housing first working with individuals facing homelessness in California at Sacramento Loaves and Fishes and then as a housing advocate for the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance in Boston. The work showed me that housing is about more than finding a place to live. Stable housing plays a role in creating a solid foundation for improving someone’s health and their ability to receive support for mental health issues, recovery and addiction, and trauma. Reliable housing can also enable connections to transportation, education, and work opportunities. COVID-19 has only made the work of providing housing more difficult and important.
The Holzer Park project on Amory Street is moving forward after the state committed to funding the building that will provide 62 new units of transit-oriented rental housing. Mayor Martin Walsh and the Department of Neighborhood Development made the announcement on July 23, as the project at 125 Amory Street has already received funding from the city. "I am excited that this project, along with several others, received the final amount of funding needed to begin the work to build more homes in our neighborhoods," said Mayor Walsh via press release. "This project adds 62 subsidized housing units that will offer more opportunities for low and middle income families to live and work in Boston and further contributes to the goals laid out in our Housing Boston 2030 plan." All of the 62 units will be income-restricted across different income levels.
Centre Street Partners, which is comprised of three local companies -- The Community Builders, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and Urban Edge, have been selected to begin the restoration of the Mildred C. Hailey public housing apartments. In February the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) announced they were seeking a private developer to renovate the Jackson Square apartment complex into a mixed-income community, with a commitment to preserve all of the existing affordable housing units. "In order to meet the housing needs of all of our residents, we must think creatively to preserve our existing affordable housing stock, while developing new housing," said Mayor Martin Walsh via a press release on August 8th. "I am pleased the Centre Street Partners share our goal, and look forward to the improved housing that will be built as part of this partnership." The proposed development will replace five existing, high-rise residential buildings on Centre Street with five new residential mixed-use buildings.
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."