BOSTON – Monday, December 12, 2016 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Deputy Secretary Nani Coloretti, the Boston Housing Authority, Department of Neighborhood Development, Preservation of Affordable Housing, Madison Park Development Corporation, elected officials, and Whittier Street housing development residents to announce a $30 million federal grant to support the revitalization of Roxbury’s Whittier Street housing development and the surrounding neighborhood.
“As we shape Boston’s growth, we must make sure our progress benefits everyone, especially long-term residents of the City,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m extraordinarily proud of the dedication of our partners who have come together to create a brighter future for the residents of Whittier Street and the surrounding neighborhood. We are so grateful for President Obama’s leadership, for our strong working relationship with HUD, our Congressional delegation who worked hard to bring us to this day and of course, all of our community partners and the Whittier residents, who have been absolutely critical in working toward this grant.”
“These game-changing investments will breathe new life into our neighborhoods and offer real opportunities for the families who call these communities home,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “What we do today will leverage private investment and bear fruit for generations of families looking for an opportunity to thrive in neighborhoods that are connected to the economic and social fabric of their communities.”
The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) and the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) worked collectively to submit a second Choice Neighborhoods application for $30 million to redevelop the Whittier public housing development and the surrounding neighborhood.
A crucial element of this project was the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s (BPDA) work to certify the land use approvals for the planned development, which means that no further zoning or land use approvals are required to move forward with this project.
HUD created the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative to transform neighborhoods and link housing improvements with appropriate services, schools, public assets, transportation and access to jobs. In 2011, Boston was one of just five cities nationwide to receive one of the first-ever HUD Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Implementation grants. The Whittier Street grant marks Boston’s second Choice Neighborhoods grant.
“This is great news for the City of Boston and the Lower Roxbury neighborhood. The Choice Neighborhoods federal grant will help transform the Whittier Street Housing Development by renovating existing affordable housing units and creating additional housing opportunities. This federal investment will also have an impact on job creation and the local economy. I appreciate HUD’s support for the City’s revitalization plan,” stated Congressman Mike Capuano.
“This grant helps us to continue our commitment of providing healthy, safe, and accessible affordable housing to the residents that live within the Whittier corridor,” said BHA Administrator Bill McGonagle. “Every family in public housing deserves access, opportunity and the chance to strive for excellence. We believe this grant allows for these things to take place.”
The Whittier Street housing development is part of the larger neighborhood of Roxbury, with an area of roughly one square mile and 2,418 households. Built in 1953, Whittier Street is over sixty years old, and the HUD Choice Neighborhood grant will allow the property to be updated to fit with the current mixed-use neighborhood.
The plan for the Whittier community, driven by the goals of the Choice Neighborhoods program, encompasses three areas of focus and strategy: Neighborhood, Housing and People.
The $30-million Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant will leverage an additional $260 million in private and public funds for commercial and residential development and public facilities in the Whittier neighborhood.