More than 4,200 low and middle income apartments throughout Massachusetts were financed in the 1970s through the state’s Section 13A program. As the 40 year “13A” mortgages expire, so do the programs that keep rents affordable. In the past few years, MAHT has organized several 13A tenant groups that are in the forefront statewide of protecting these at-risk buildings.
So far in 2018, MAHT groups from Mercantile Wharf, the Forbes Building, Babcock Towers and Newcastle-Saranac all had meetings with the City of Boston’s, MassHousing and State officials to discuss strategies to keep their buildings affordable for those who live there and those who come after them. MAHT tenants proposed creative ideas such as Project Based Vouchers and utilizing HUD’s“Small Area Fair Market Rents” to subsidize low income tenants. In May, Newcastle Saranac tenants in Boston won a proposed “preservation” sale of their building. MAHT also helped tenants successfully challenge an illegal mass eviction threat by the current owner, which rescinded the eviction threats and agreed to respect current leases.
Earlier in the year in Fall River, MAHT mobilized the elderly and disabled tenants at Riverview Towers, a 200 unit high-rise building whose 13A mortgage ended in March 2018. Tenants supported an innovative plan by a state-designated buyer to utilize Project Based Vouchers from the Fall River Housing Authority to keep the apartments affordable but they still need local government support to make that happen.
The fight to preserve the homes of these and other 13A tenant's in Massachusetts continues. Your help is welcome.