After an 18 month campaign, tenants at Concord House, two mid-rise buildings on Tremont Street in Boston’s South End, have won an historic victory saving 171 at-risk homes as permanently affordable housing!
The buildings’ original HUD subsidy contracts ended in 2017. Tenants were set to receive Enhanced Vouchers from HUD, but they would have been replaced by high market tenants when they left. MAHT organized the Concord House Tenants Association, which vowed to seek permanently affordable housing to preserve the South End’s diversity.
After a year long battle, tenants at Esperanza Trust and Fort Hill Gardens, two properties totaling 80 units in Roxbury, are finally seeing some positive changes. Without any Section 8 funding coming to either building for a year, much needed repairs were not addressed while tenants were left wondering what would happen when Section 8 contracts end in 2020.
The current owner, Pitts, at first tried illegally to get out of the Section 8 contract early, but was blocked by HUD when MAHT organized tenants in 2017. HUD forced Pitts to hire Cruz Management. Cruz was able to stabilize the property and secure release of HUD subsidies in March 2018.Read more
In August 2017 MAHT received a call from a tenant at Eperanza Trust, a 3 building 40-unit property in Roxbury owned by Lorenzo-Pitts, Jr. looking for information about how to legally withhold rent do to less than satisfactory repair work. This turned out to be the tip of an iceberg!
MAHT organized an emergency tenant meeting and quickly discovered that the owner was attempting to illegally terminate the Section 8 contract threatening tenants with displacement. Another 40 families at Fort Hill Gardens, also owned by Pitts, were similarly at risk. Both buildings are located in the rapidly gentrifying Fort Hill neighborhood of Roxbury.Read more
In 2017, MAHT helped organize tenants at Concord House, 2 buildings totaling 181 units Boston’s South End, to save their homes as HUD mortgages subsidies ended. MAHT helped roll back rent increases and helped the Concord House Tenants Association formulate a plan to preserve affordable housing by converting to Project Based Vouchers (PBVs). Many of the residents grew up in the racially diverse South End and have lived at Concord House for decades, and are determined to preserve this diversity for the South End in the future.
The owner, Charlie Gendron, agreed to the tenants plan, and ultimately passed legislation in Washington in March 2018 which will enable Concord House to convert to Project Based Vouchers if tenants consent.
Meanwhile, tenants have been issued Enhanced Vouchers from HUD . If tenants agree, the owner will preserve the building for Section 8 tenants for at least 20 years.
During 2017, MAHT has made progress in saving Concord House, 181 apartments in the gentri-fying South End, as affordable housing after the HUD mortgage ends in March 2018.
In May, the owner embraced tenants’ proposal to convert HUD Enhanced Vouchers, expected in 2018, to permanent Section 8 subsidies to preserve affordable housing. Meanwhile, in March tenant Marjorie Williams was socked with a sudden, $400 per month rent hike. MAHT found that Ms. Williams and three other tenants were erroneously charged too much by the owner and Boston Housing Authority. The BHA had even urged Ms. Williams to quit her job as a personal care worker to remain in the building, which turned out to be unnecessary.
MAHT worked with the BHA to win a $400 month rent rollback, and a $1,200 rebate for Ms. Wil-liams. “The rent rollback was a godsend,” says Ms. Williams. “With MAHT”s help, I was able to save my home, and save my job!”
Meanwhile, an amendment to allow 100% preservation of Concord House as Section 8 housing is pending in Congress. MAHT hopes the bill will pass by January, 2018.
In March 2017, ten families at Waverly Apartments in Brighton received letters under their doors notifying them that they were being evicted from their apartments. The letters explained that their landlord had requested a rent increase from the Boston Housing Authority, and that the BHA had deemed the rent increase to be unreasonable. As a result, their Enhanced Vouchers could no longer be used in the development, and tenants would be forced out by the end of June.Read more
On Monday, March 6, 2017 the Boston City Council’s Committee on Government Operations held a public hearing regarding The Jim Brooks Stabilization Act [Docket #0106]. Mass Alliance of HUD tenants were present for this hearing, as well as other groups such as City Life/Vida Urbana and Right to the City. This Act was sponsored by Mayor Marty Walsh, and was referred to the Committee on Government Operations on January 11, 2017. To get the FAQs in regards to the Jim Brooks Act - CLICK HERE!
After a 20 year struggle, tenants at Fruit Sever Apartments in Worcester have won a huge victory! The nonprofit Community Builders has purchased their 132 unit building from a controversial slumlord, and plans major repairs and restoration of affordable housing! Tenants celebrated and met with TCB on March 7th.Read more
To supplement Chapter 40T, the legislation can pass the Enabling Act to Save Affordable Housing, SD 947 filed by Sen. Chandler, or HD 2805 and HD 3203 both filed by Rep. Smizik, to "enable" any city or town to save expiring housing, if they choose, AT NO COST to the State or localities.Read more