May 28, 2019 - Cardinal O’Malley, Governor Baker, and Mayor Walsh Celebrate Opening of an Affordable Housing Development in Boston
Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley O.F.M. Cap., was joined this afternoon by Governor Charlie Baker; Mayor Martin J. Walsh; Lisa Alberghini, President of the Planning Office for Urban Affairs of the Archdiocese; Karen LaFrazia, President and CEO of St. Francis House, and numerous funders and supporters for the Ribbon Cutting on The Union, a redevelopment in downtown Boston.
Cardinal Seán O’Malley said, “The Archdiocese of Boston, through the Planning Office for Urban Affairs, is pleased to have collaborated with St. Francis House as together we received support and assistance from Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh in developing this greatly needed affordable housing. The Union’s new residents, those of limited income and those formerly homeless, now have a home from where they can fully participate in civic and community life. It is a blessing for the Archdiocese to be able to work with the Commonwealth and the City of Boston to provide sustainable, dependable and affordable housing for people in need. As we celebrate the successful completion of this project we look forward to further opportunities for continuing the mission of lifting people from the instability and anxiety of not knowing where they will spend the coming day or night to the dignity, respect and confidence of having a home.”
The Union is the adaptive reuse of the historic Boston Young Men’s Christian Union into 46 units of affordable housing. The property now provides permanent affordable homes for those with very modest incomes. Included in the new residential community are 26 units for people who are currently homeless or have been homeless, and twenty units for residents with incomes at or below 50% and 60% of the area median income (households making up to $51,780). In addition to this new housing, St. Francis House, located across the street, will provide the wrap around support services needed to ensure that all residents are stable and can thrive in their new homes.
“Our administration remains committed to addressing the Commonwealth’s housing crisis by supporting development at all levels, including boosting affordable housing stock,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Union is a key step toward that goal, and the project’s focus on supporting people struggling with homelessness is crucially important. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to encourage future development modeled on the successful partnership that made The Union possible.”
"The Union represents our belief that every single person in our City deserves compassion, support, and a safe place to call home," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "This project couldn’t have been possible without the compassionate leadership of The St. Francis House and The Planning Office for Urban Affairs of the Archdiocese, as well as the City and State."
The 48 Boylston Street property was built by the Boston Young Men’s Christian Union (BYMCU) in 1875 to pursue its mission of engaging in charitable work, and was operated by the Union for over 150 years. In honoring that legacy, St. Francis House (SFH) and the Planning Office for Urban Affairs of the Archdiocese (POUA) are continuing to serve people in need at the property. Deeply rooted in a commitment to social justice and serving others, these two non-profits joined together to combine POUA’s housing development expertise with SFH’s ability and track record for providing extensive supportive services. This innovative partnership was created with the help of funding from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership.
“As with many people who end up at the front door of SFH, it has been a long and winding road, filled with pain and shame but ultimately triumph. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of stable housing for people like me. The safety and dignity of a home and the support of people that care about you makes all things possible.” Andrew Moskevich, resident at The Union.
“We are so grateful for our partnership with the Planning Office for Urban Affairs and the extraordinary commitment of the Commonwealth and City for the development of this housing. Together we are creating an inclusive community where men and women once homeless will live a new life contributing to and enjoying in the vitality and prosperity of the neighborhood.” said Karen LaFrazia, President and CEO of St. Francis House.
“Providing housing options for a diverse group of people is key to a vibrant community and illustrates what can happen when we work together for the common good,” said Lisa Alberghini, President of the Planning Office for Urban Affairs. “We’re grateful to the Commomwealth, the City, our funders and supporters who made this possible, and especially to our partner St. Francis House.”
Financing for The Union includes funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and MassHousing; the City of Boston Neighborhood Housing Trust and Department of Neighborhood Development; Bank of America Merrill Lynch; the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation; and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston and its member, Eastern Bank, which participated in the Bank of America construction financing.
The adaptive reuse of the building was completed to the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Preservation and the development is utilizing both Federal Historic Tax Credits, and Massachusetts State Historic Tax Credits provided by Secretary Bill Galvin and the Massachusetts Historical Commission. The property was completed in mid-December 2018, and will be fully occupied by the end of the month.