Former St. Therese property on Broadway to house 83 units
With a mind to add a portion of $1 billion in federal monies to the successful Commonwealth Builder program – a fairly new program that funds affordable homeownership opportunities – Gov. Charlie Baker and a cadre of state officials toured the St. Therese affordable housing project on Broadway Monday, a project that includes funding from the program for six townhouses within the larger project.
On Monday, Gov. Baker joined municipal officials and community leaders in Everett to celebrate progress of the redevelopment of the St. Therese parish property into new housing for families and seniors, and to promote the plan to add federal Rescue Plan money to Commonwealth Builder. The Everett project is supported by the Administration’s Commonwealth Builder initiative, which aims to connect families with homeownership opportunities so they can build wealth, especially in communities of color. The Administration highlighted its proposal to invest $1 billion in housing initiatives like Commonwealth Builder as part of its $2.9 billion plan to invest a portion of Massachusetts’ federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act in urgent priorities to support communities of color and low-income workers. The governor hopes to apply $500 million to the program from the overall $1 billion allocation, he said.
“Our Administration is proud to support the work happening at the former St. Therese property in Everett because we know the difference these new homes will make in people’s lives,” said Governor Baker. “Our proposal to invest $1 billion in housing priorities using a portion of Massachusetts’ federal funds would enable the Commonwealth Builder program to have an even greater impact as we seek to connect more families with homeownership opportunities and the chance to build long-term wealth. By making these investments, we can accelerate an equitable recovery, support those who were hardest-hit by the pandemic, and create real and lasting change in communities across Massachusetts.”
“The City of Everett is proud to have partnered with The Neighborhood Developers to construct a development that will boast our affordable senior housing and townhomes for first time home buyers,” said Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria. “The site of St. Therese holds a special place in our community’s heart, and we proudly made the decision to repurpose this site as a place that will continue to serve the community. I am grateful for the combined efforts of the Baker-Polito Administration, The Neighborhood Developers, MassHousing, Mass Development, and East Boston Neighborhood Health Center to help the City of Everett continue our efforts in providing a home for all of our residents.”
State Sen. Sal DiDomenico said he was glad to see that the project is becoming a model for the state, and that other TND projects in other communities are now following this model in Everett.
The Neighborhood Developers (TND) is in the process of transforming the former church property into 77 new affordable rental homes with supportive services for seniors offered by East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC), as well as six townhomes, which will be sold to working families at affordable prices. It anticipates accepting applications to live in the apartments and townhomes by early 2022. TND is building the affordable senior rental homes with affordable housing resources from the Commonwealth and with MassDevelopment financing. EBNHC will provide on-site services to senior residents. The for-sale townhomes are being developed under MassHousing’s Commonwealth Builder Program, which advances new homeownership and wealth-building opportunities for first-time homebuyers in communities of color.
Of the $1 billion proposed for housing initiatives, Baker is asking that $500 million in federal funds would be dedicated to expanding homeownership opportunities in communities hardest-hit by COVID-19 pandemic by supporting first-time homebuyers and scaling up the Commonwealth Builder Program. The Administration has also proposed investing $500 million in federal funding to create more affordable rental homes, including service-rich rental units for seniors and veterans.
“I approached TND many years ago about coming into Everett because I knew they would be a great fit for our community,” said DiDomenico. “There is a real need in Everett for affordable housing, both rental and homeownership. This is a great example of Mayor DeMaria and our state partners coming together with innovative nonprofit organizations like TND and EBNHC to meet the interrelated needs of housing and health care in our community. I look forward to seeing residents enjoying this new space next year.”
Said Steve Laferriere, TND Developers Director of Real Estate Development, “TND is grateful for being one of the first participants in The Commonwealth Builder program, which is designed to begin to remedy a history of exclusion and disinvestment by expanding homeownership opportunities in gateway communities like Everett. With the six townhomes at St. Therese, we are taking a small step towards dismantling the racial wealth gap by offering families the opportunity to become homeowners. At the same time, we are also ensuring seniors can afford to age in place here. We are grateful to the Baker-Polito administration because none of this would be possible without their support and leadership.”
EBNHC CEO Manny Lopes said bringing services to where people rent and own homes is a new horizon in health care delivery.
“The pandemic has further proven that overall health and well-being is inextricably tied to housing and other non-medical factors,” he said. “Thanks to support from Governor Baker, The City of Everett, The Neighborhood Developers, and OppCo we’re thrilled to be one step closer to bringing a comprehensive set of services to this new, innovative complex in Everett. With affordable housing and high-quality healthcare under the same roof, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, alongside our partners, looks forward to maximizing impact on older adults in the community for decades to come.”
The Baker-Polito Administration initially proposed its plan to invest a portion of Massachusetts’ federal funds in June at an event in Haverhill highlighting a Commonwealth Builder project. The Administration initially launched the Commonwealth Builder program with a $60 million investment in 2019.