Mayor Walsh did not want to keep our seniors waiting. On Friday, July 21st, he arrived promptly at 9:30 to sit down with about 70 of our Brighton Campus residents to answer their questions.
Our seniors were noticeably thrilled to have an opportunity to interact with the mayor in such an intimate setting, and it was clear that the mayor would have stayed longer. But after an hour, the time had come for the main event: the groundbreaking for JCHE’s new building, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg House at 132 Chestnut Hill Avenue.
Gathering in front of the dilapidated, soon-to-be-demolished, old VFW meeting hall, the mayor and our other distinguished guests – including U.S. Representative Michael Capuano, State Representative and Chairman of the Joint Committee on Housing Kevin Honan, and Boston City Councilor Mark Ciomo—donned the requisite hardhats, grabbed the requisite shovels, and officially broke ground on a new building with 61 affordable apartments for low-income seniors.
Back inside, in a room usually occupied by Brighton Campus seniors for socializing or shooting pool, our guests delivered their remarks to an audience of over a hundred residents, staff, local leaders, policymakers and media. It was an enthusiastic show of support for JCHE’s efforts to expand affordable senior housing in the Commonwealth.
“Seniors built our city,” declared Walsh. “They are Boston’s fastest-growing demographic group, and one of the most economically challenged,” he added.
Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs Alice Bonner stressed that housing isn’t merely about bricks and mortar, but truly about the “heart and soul of community.” She reiterated Governor Baker’s support for our mission, pointing to last April’s establishment of the state’s first Council to Address Aging to which JCHE President and CEO Amy Schectman was immediately appointed.
Over the next hour, every speaker at the podium praised JCHE’s mission and reinforced the importance of our ambitious expansion agenda. It was a fabulous event, and it underscored the broad support for the critical work we do on behalf of seniors in the Commonwealth.
Named in honor of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, whose generous gift helped make this project possible, the 57,400 sq. ft. building will be connected to JCHE’s existing 700-apartment Brighton campus, allowing residents full access to our many services, programs, and amenities.
Two key, innovative elements of the project are the designation of seven apartments for chronically homeless seniors who will receive enhanced services through HEARTH, Inc., and a 5-unit suite for adults aging with lifelong developmental disabilities run in partnership with Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS). Last month, JCHE & JF&CS were named one of four finalists for their joint project by the Pioneer Institute’s prestigious “Better Government Competition.”
In addition to the grant from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the $23 million project is made possible by a $2.25 million investment by the City of Boston, $3.025 million in funds from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in addition to both State and 9% Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit allocations, a $2.25 million permanent loan from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, and $14.4 million in construction financing and $14 million in tax credit equity from Wells Fargo.
Take a look at the pictures of the event below and check out this video of the event.