Urban Edge Analyzes Opportunities, Concerns, and Identifies Recommendations for Youth Services

Nonprofit Urban Edge recently released a report highlighting the priorities and the vision for the future that youth living in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain have for their community. The “Community Assessment of Youth Programs, Services, and Opportunities,” which was conducted by Health Resources in Action, provides a snapshot of these neighborhoods’ demographics and highlights both concerns and opportunities for youth in the Jackson and Egleston Square communities. More than 300 young residents of Roxbury and Jamaica Plain were engaged in the assessment process, through a variety of methods that included phone interviews, virtual focus groups, and an online community survey. “This assessment has reinforced how culturally vibrant and diverse Roxbury and Jamaica Plain are, and the young people who live here are rightly proud of that fact,” said Emilio Dorcely, Urban Edge’s Chief Executive Officer. “But we also see the disparities within the community and the barriers that many of our young people face when it comes to economic opportunity.”

The assessment found that major areas of concern of residents were focused on financial security and economic opportunity – 63% of participants were looking for a new job and almost half (44%) were looking for higher pay while more than a quarter were looking for greater economic advancement.

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Construction Begins on New Jackson Square Development for 62 Affordable Units

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.

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Redevelopment of Hailey Apartments Would Add 435 Affordable/Upper Middle-Income Units to Public Housing Units

The proposed redevelopment of the Mildred C. Hailey Apartments would include a 1-to-1 replacement of the existing 253 public housing units and add 435 more housing units. The proposed project by The Community Building, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), and Urban Edge, is only Phase I of redevelopment the apartment complex in Jackson Square. Phase One is on the southeast portion of the existing apartments, and would include the construction of approximately 435 new affordable and upper middle-income apartments. To reiterate, the current 253 public housing units would be replaced with 253 new public housing units, according to the Boston Planning & Development Agency. There would also be approximately 290 parking spaces, according to the developers' Letter of Intent.

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$500K Available for Vulnerable JP Families from Urban Edge COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

The Urban Edge Resiliency Fund will directly assist families and individuals living in Urban Edge’s housing, as well as low- to moderate-income families in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color in Boston and throughout the country,” said Emilio Dorcely, Urban Edge’s Chief Executive Officer. “A majority of the cases in the city of Boston are among black and brown residents. That means that neighborhoods like Roxbury and Jamaica Plain are particularly vulnerable. This fund is designed to help our residents meet their needs.”
The initial phase of the fund is offering $150 Visa gift cards to residents in Urban Edge housing, as well as low- to moderate-income families living in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, to help them meet their immediate needs.

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Boston Foreclosures Dropped 61% in 2019

Boston's foreclosure rate reached a 17-year low in 2019, dropping 61 percent in 2019 compared to 2018. Across the city foreclosure executions went down from 103 in 2018 to 40 in 2019, according to city statistics. Comparatively, 1,215 foreclosures were executed in 2008 during the height of the housing crisis. "I'm proud that through our work with homeowners, we have been able to reduce the number of foreclosures in Boston, and keep more families in their homes," said Mayor Marty Walsh via press release. "These results show that our programs and policies to prevent foreclosures and evictions are working.

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Holzer Park Project on Amory Street Moving Forward with 62 Restricted-Income Rental Units

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.

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City Conveys Ritchie Street Property for Eventual Jackson Square Recreation Center

Another piece for the eventual Jackson Square Recreation Center fell into place last week after the city conveyed a 5,970 sq. ft. vacant parcel on Richie Street to Urban Edge to be used for the project. Last week the Public Facilities Commission provided the city's 1 Richie St. site to Urban Edge for the Jackson Square Recreation Center, according to Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development.

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BPDA Board Approves Plans to Double Size, Add Turf Field at Jackson Square Rec Center

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) board approved new plans for a proposed Jackson Square Recreational Center that vastly increases the size of the center and adds an additional floor. The BPDA board approved plans on March 17 that call for a 75,000 square foot recreation center at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Ritchie Street across the street from the Jackson Square MBTA Station in Jamaica Plain. Earlier plans had the project at 34,000 square feet, said BPDA spokesperson Bonnie McGilpin. The size increase is due to an the addition of another floor to the project. The recreation center would be a three-story multi-use indoor space with an ice rink on the first floor 10 months of the year, with a mezzanine level (regarded as the second floor) that includes bleacher seating for the ice rink.

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New Affordable Housing Coming to Egleston Square

State Rep. Liz Malia was proud to recognize Urban Edge Housing Corporation for their recent receipt of state and federally funded housing tax credits that will enable them to build 49 new units of affordable family housing in the Egleston Square neighborhood. The Walker Park Apartments is a new construction project sponsored by Urban Edge that the Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development will support with federal and state funds. The City of Boston also is providing funds to the project, according to a press release from Malia (D-Jamaica Plain). Of the 49 units, eight will be reserved for households earning less than 30% of area median income.

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Frank Shea Returns Home to Become the Director of Urban Edge

Frank Shea began work as Urban Edge's fourth director in its new office space on Columbus Avenue on November 3. It is the fourth office space for Urban Edge. He is also the first director who did not come out of senior staff at the agency in its 41-year history. Proudly he said, "I am the first director born and raised in Jamaica Plain." Born in 1961 as a small boy living in the St.

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