Partnering with the Community to Create Strong Neighborhoods
Founded in 1979, The Neighborhood Developers (TND) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to producing healthy, affordable and sustainable homes in the communities of Chelsea, Revere and Everett, Massachusetts. A community development organization, TND’s mission is to create strong neighborhoods that help residents secure stable homes, achieve economic mobility and determine their own future. TND relies on the union of community voices and leadership combined with its own vision and resources to create equitable change in this vibrant area north of Boston.
To hear TND’s latest contribution to the Greater Boston area communities it serves, we reached out to Rafael Mares, TND’s Executive Director to discuss an exciting new development in the works for the city of Everett. Rafael shared the organization’s plans to create innovative housing and wellness services for area seniors.
Can you share an overview of a recent TND project?
In our first development in Everett, Massachusetts, we will implement a vision for seniors to age in the community in safe, quality homes with easy access to health care and wellness services.
The Saint Therese senior building & homeownership development at the former Saint Therese Parish will create a community of affordable rental homes for seniors, homeownership opportunities, green public space and a new health center serving residents and neighbors alike. The development will include a new building with 77 affordable rental homes for seniors aged 62 and older with a health center serving building residents as well as members of the broader community. Of the 77 homes at Saint Therese, more than one third will be allocated to households earning up to 30% Area Medium Income.
The health center will be run by the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC). The St. Therese health center location will increase access to coordinated primary and behavioral care for older adults while incorporating the Program of All Inclusive Care (PACE) model for frail seniors who may otherwise require nursing home care in Everett and surrounding communities. The PACE model enables adults 55+ to stay healthy, active, and independent in the place they call home and will integrate complex care management, care navigation, integrated behavioral health, social supports, among other wrap around services.
The development’s amenities will include community and fitness rooms, laundry and parking. We also plan to redevelop a pocket park on the site to enhance the site’s accessibility and functionality. The park project will incorporate architectural elements from the church building and include an interpretive exhibit to honor the rich history of Everett’s Saint Therese Parish.
The redevelopment will include six new three-bedroom townhouse condominiums, which will be sold at below-market prices, three homes allocated for households earning up to 80% Area Medium Income and three for households earning up to 120% Area Medium Income. These homes will help fill a gap in the Everett housing market, where there is a limited supply of affordable three-bedroom homes available.
How will the Saint Therese project make an impact in the community?
Saint Therese will serve residents as well as the neighboring community by providing affordable rental homes for seniors, homeownership opportunities, a public green space and the new health center.
Can you share lessons learned since you began developing this project?
The most important lesson we’ve learned is the value of deep partnerships and collaboration. This project would not have been possible without the strong partnership with the City of Everett. City officials worked closely with us to conceive of a plan to honor the legacy of Saint Therese Church, though we were demolishing the building.
The City supported our proposal to create affordable ownership opportunities, despite the fact there was no statewide program to fund these opportunities at the time we proposed the project. The city contributed significant financial resources to make the project happen. City officials have embodied the spirit of collaboration as they partnered with us to navigate through the various approval processes – our first time doing so in the city of Everett.
How has Boston Private’s involvement impacted the project?
Boston Private has had a tremendous impact. A longtime partner, the firm has provided construction and permanent loans for several of TND’s affordable housing projects. In addition to providing loans for affordable housing, Boston Private is financing the new health center and provided the construction loan for our homeownership units.
The home ownership funding was a particularly challenging process as we were among the first projects to participate in the new Commonwealth Builder Program. Being the first, TND and Boston Private had to work through several unanticipated hurdles to ensure the new program would be consistent with our shared goals.
What are the next steps for the project?
This project is currently under construction. The senior building and new health center are scheduled to be completed in May 2022, and the townhomes are expected to be completed a few months prior.
How can our clients and readers support your organization?
We’re working hard to ensure that everyone has a set of keys to a healthy home in the communities we serve and your support is always appreciated. We’ll continue to make an impact by opening doors to more people and community groups interested in pursuing this goal with us.
To help support our ongoing effects in the community, donations may be made directly through our website anytime. All donations of $1,000 or more are eligible to receive 50% of the donation back through the Community Investment Tax Credit program. In addition to donations, supporters may sponsor or volunteer their time at one of our community events.
To learn more about The Neighborhood Developers and the ways they’re serving Massachusetts communities, please visit theneighborhooddevelopers.org.