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Maverick Landing

Background

In June 2001, the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) applied to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a $35 million HOPE VI grant for the redevelopment of the Maverick Gardens public housing development, located in the southwestern portion of East Boston. HUD notified the BHA in October 2001 that it had been awarded the HOPE VI grant. The BHA and HUD executed the HOPE VI grant agreement in April 2002, which signaled the official commencement of this redevelopment effort.

Maverick Gardens consisted of 413 public housing units in three-story barracks style brick buildings. The original development will be replaced with 396 mixed-income rental units both on the Maverick Gardens site and on an offsite vacant lot known as Carlton Wharf, which is directly across Sumner Street from the Maverick Gardens site. This HOPE VI project also includes the provision of affordable for-sale units and a community and supportive services program for the residents. The 396 rental units will be developed in four phases as illustrated in the below table:

Phase 1 (onsite)

Phase 2 (Carlton Wharf)

Phase 3 (onsite)

Phase 4 (onsite)

Total

Public Housing/ Low Income HousingTax Credit

Market -rate

Public Housing/ Low Income Housing

Tax Credit

Market-rate

Public Housing/ Low Income Housing

Tax Credit

Market

rate

Public Housing/ Low Income HousingTax Credit

Market rate

–Public Housing/LIHTC

116

34

61

19

71

21

57

17

305



Seventy-seven percent of the rental units will be public housing/low-income housing tax credit units (305 units) and the remaining 23% will be market-rate units (91 units). Funding for the approximately $117 million rental project will come from the following sources: · Low-income housing tax credit equity (4% and 9% credits) · HOPE VI funds · BHA capital funds · Permanent loan with MassHousing · City of Boston · Commonwealth of Massachusetts Affordable Housing Trust program (MassHousing) · City of Boston Linkage · Department of Housing and Community Development (what is this?) affordable housing programs · Mass Technology Collaborative

Design

With its proximity to downtown and access to rapid transit, its historic waterfront with spectacular views back to Boston, and its active commercial core, East Boston is under development pressures from all sides. Maverick Gardens sits squarely at the heart of the redevelopment opportunities in East Boston, immediately facing the waterfront with views of downtown Boston and Charlestown.

The current Maverick Gardens site, composed of 413 severely distressed housing units, will be replaced in a four-phase development designed to lower overall site density and provide an increased sense of community and interconnectedness. Phase 1 is located on the northwest section of the current Maverick Gardens site, bounded by New Street, Maverick Street, Sumner Street and the to-be-extended Border Street. The site plan includes one midrise building and four attached townhouse buildings for a total of 150 rental units. Phase II is located on the vacant Carlton Wharf site between Sumner Street and the harbor. The site plan includes one midrise building with 80 units of rental housing. Phase III & IV development, set for construction in 2005, is located on the remaining Maverick Gardens parcel, bounded by Havre Street, Maverick Street, Sumner Street and the to-be-extended Border Street. Phase III and IV will consist of 166 units in attached townhouse buildings plus a 5,000 square foot community center and neighborhood park.

The fundamental urban design concept is to remove the monolithic superblock of the existing Maverick site and restore the historic neighborhood street pattern, reconnecting the site to the surrounding community and providing both visual and physical connections to its magnificent waterfront. The site plan, scale, and massing of the project components will act as a transition between the substantially different scales of a low-rise traditional residential area to the east, industrial area to the north, and waterfront commercial to the west. Maverick Gardens will offer a variety of housing types, including townhouses, duplexes with individual entries, and mid-rise apartment buildings. The development will provide 396 rental units on five full city blocks (including the Carlton Parcel), with a total site area of nine acres, at an approximate urban density of 44 units per acre.

Of additional interest is that the project received a Green Buildings Design and Construction Grant in the amount of $477,675 from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative through its Renewable Energy Trust Fund Program. The purpose of the grant is to implement measures in the Phase 1 midrise building that produce valuable energy savings and new sources for renewable energy. Click here to read more


Ownership Structure and Deal Terms

BHA procured Trinity East Boston Development, LP to be the developer for all four phases of the rental project. This development entity is a partnership between Trinity Financial, Inc. and the East Boston Community Development Corporation. Phase 1 and Phase II closed in November 17, 2003 and construction is nearly complete. Families began moving into their new homes in December of 2004. Phase III and Phase IV are scheduled to close in March/April 2005 with construction beginning immediately after closing. All units are anticipated to be ready for occupancy in the summer/fall of 2006.

Target Mix of Incomes: All former tenants of Maverick Gardens in good standing will be eligible to return to the Project and occupy a public housing unit, regardless of Income Tier or desired Target Mix of Incomes. After initial occupancy, the target mix of incomes will mean 29% at 0-10% of AMI, 34% at 11-30% of AMI, 14% at 31-60% of AMI and 23% at market rates.

Relocation & Re-Occupancy

In order to complete the demolition of the existing Maverick Gardens public housing units, all current residents were required to relocate either temporarily or permanently to other housing. The construction of the new Maverick Landing was phased so as to minimize the disruption to residents’ lives during the redevelopment process.

Per the federal law and the Maverick Gardens Relocation Plan, relocated residents are guaranteed a comparable replacement unit and financial benefits to aid in the move. BHA procured Housing Opportunities Unlimited (HOU), a local relocation firm with extensive experience nationally, to aid residents in this process. HOU provided five full-time staff people and located their office on the Maverick site in order to be accessible to Maverick residents. BHA amended HOU’s contract to permit them to provide counseling and assistance to residents during the reoccupancy process. As part of this scope, HOU conducted housekeeping and budgeting workshops, provided one-on-one counseling around these issues to families, and assisted with school transfer requests, utility hook-up and fee reduction requests, and several other issues that related to assisting residents in being eligible to return to the new housing.

All Maverick heads of household as of the date BHA submitted the HOPE VI application to HUD (June 2001) have first priority to return to the newly constructed Maverick Landing so long as they remain in Good Standing and income eligible. In the event that more Maverick residents seek to return to the development than the newly constructed public housing units can accommodate or that there is a bedroom mismatch, the BHA conducted a Re-Occupancy Lottery to determine in a fair and equitable manner the order in which residents will be offered the new units.

After eligible returning residents are accommodated, the management agent, Winn Residential, will establish a site-based waitlist for the property per the Maverick Landing Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy.

Homeownership Program

The Maverick Landing Homeownership program will further the success of the Maverick Landing HOPE VI program by creating homeownership opportunities, especially for Maverick Landing residents, residents from other BHA public housing developments and BHA Section 8 voucher holders. The Maverick Landing homeownership program will be a Loan-to-Purchaser program providing 50 qualified households with subordinate financing to purchase homes that meet the program’s criteria. The program seeks to provide funds, homebuyer counseling, assistance in locating a home and securing a mortgage and other available funding, and other assistance to 50 income-eligible purchasers. The BHA plans to contribute up to $1,000,000 in HOPE VI funds, for an average subordinate loan of $20,000 per income-eligible household. This is a subordinate financing program only and will entail no new construction or rehabilitation of housing. The BHA has procured a homeownership services provider to assist them in the execution of this program. Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) has been providing homeownership services to low- and moderate-income households since 1987 and will act as the homeownership counselor for the program. NOAH also has established relationships with area Community Development Corporations such as Urban Edge, Dorchester Bay EDC, Codman Square NDC, Nuestra Comunidad, and the Jamaica Plain NDC. All of these organizations have pledged their support in referring potential homebuyers to the program and in helping them locate affordable homes to purchase. Program candidates will be recruited from eligible populations including (in order of priority): 1) Maverick Landing residents, 2) BHA Section 8 voucher holders, 3) residents of other BHA public rental housing, 4) income-eligible Boston residents. All program participants will be subject to income eligibility requirements (50-80% of AMI). Potential homebuyers will receive homeownership and credit counseling, as well as assistance in securing a first mortgage and other financial assistance and finding a suitable home to buy and help navigating the closing process. HOPE VI funds will be used to provide subordinate mortgages and cover closing costs.

ACC Partner Program

The final development component of the Maverick HOPE VI program is the ACC Partner Program. This component envisions BHA providing operating subsidy to one or more developer partners for the creation of up to 200 new public housing units. The theory behind this component is that developers may need some additional subsidy in order to make their proposed or existing project financially feasible. We have met with representatives from the Massachusetts Association of CDCs and CEDAC to gain an understanding of their constituents’ needs and prospective pipeline of projects. Our intent is to issue an RFP for these operating subsidy funds in the winter of 2005.

Community and Supportive Services

The Maverick Gardens HOPE VI program seeks to address the supportive service needs of the residents. The case management and other procured services are designed to assist residents in improving their financial stability and to provide opportunities for the youth. The following highlight some of the major programmatic components:

· Case Management Services: A number of organizations are currently providing case management services to over 150 households. They conduct initial assessments, referrals to counseling, job training & education, job search assistance, childcare and transportation services. The Maverick Tenants Organization (MTO) provides advocacy, counseling and referral services to Maverick residents Monday through Thursday. Maverick Family Support Program (MFSP) provides advocacy and clinical counseling services three days a week. Both MTO and MFSP have been working with the community since before the HOPE VI program began. Housing Opportunities Unlimited (HOU) provides services related in some way to the relocation process, including budgeting and housekeeping workshops and one-on-one assistance with the school transfers; their services are available Monday through Friday. Their staff has English and Spanish language capability. The BHA is in the process of procuring additional case management services with particular focus on employment assistance.

· Adult Learning & Computer Learning Services: Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) (www.jvs-boston.org), a local employment, education and training vendor, provides adult basic education classes including GED preparation and English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). JVS also staffs a computer–learning center at Shore Plaza East, 600 Border Street in East Boston and at their Downtown location at 29 Winter Street. There are 10 computers available to residents for classes in basic computer software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Internet, and for job search. Residents may also use the computer-learning center to supplement the learning in the adult education classes and provide residents with the basic skills for using computers in everyday life. Residents are placed into one of 8 levels of English classes that are being offered as a part of JVS’s Center for Adult Lifelong Learning.

· CSS Advisory Committee: This committee is made up of a large number of partner organizations, both public and private, which have a strong interest in supporting the BHA in successfully implementing the CSS program. Its mission is to assist in the oversight and development of programming throughout the course of the Maverick HOPE VI program. At our CSS Advisory Group meetings in 2004, members came together to advise us on the needs of Maverick youth by identifying potential partners and programs and on our strategic plan for 2005.

· Youth Programs: Two local non-profit organizations have been procured to provide youth recreation and youth art/music/dance programs to over 40 children and teenagers from Maverick. Zumix (www.zumix.org) is providing an array of art, music and dance classes including performance arts, hip-hop dancing and painting/drawing. East Boston Social Centers (www.ebsoc.org) is providing slots in its day camp programs and in its teen after-school programs for Maverick youth. In concert with these procurements, MTO offers a number of summer employment opportunities to teen residents. The funding for these jobs comes from MASSPORT, one of our CSS partners. MTO has also begun the YO (Youth Opportunities) Program, a new youth leadership program.

· Section 3 Employment: This program has linked residents with pre-apprenticeship training opportunities as well as placed them into paid employment. To date, there have been 51 Section hires, 15 of whom are Maverick residents. We continue to work closely with the general contractor and Women in the Building Trades to enroll Maverick residents in the pre-apprenticeship training program so that they will be eligible for hire by one of the unions. We also link residents interested in construction jobs with JVS so that they can earn their GED, which is another requirement of joining the trades.

· Homeownership: NOAH, an East Boston-based non-profit organization, is offering Maverick residents a “credit-smart” workshop and homebuyer counseling programs. To date, 11 Maverick residents have enrolled in the homebuyer counseling program and 18 residents completed the Credit-Smart classes.


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