News

12 MACDC Member Projects Among Rental Round Award Recipients

August 18th, 2017 by Don Bianchi

On August 15, Governor Baker and State officials announced the award of over $72 million in subsidy funding, as well as state and federal housing tax credits that will generate more than $180 million in subsidized private equity, for the development of affordable rental housing.  When completed, these 25 projects http://www.mass.gov/hed/press-releases/administration-awards-72m-to-create-and-preserve-housing.html will create or preserve 1,978 rental units, including 1,698 affordable units, with 402 of these affordable units reserved for very low-income families and families making the transition out of homelessness.

 

MACDC Members were well represented among the awardees, with 12 receiving awards, resulting in the creation or preservation of 747 rental units, including 631 affordable units:

  • Fenway CDC will preserve 52 units, including 39 affordable units, in Burbank Gardens, located in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood.
  • Jamaica Plain NDC will newly construct 47 units, including 40 affordable units, in General Heath Square Apartments, located in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood.
  • Lena Park CDC, in partnership with New Boston Fund, will construct 100 units, including 40 affordable units, on the site of the former Boston State Hospital, in Olmstead Green Mixed-Income.
  • Codman Square NDC will develop 40 affordable family units in Talbot Commons Phase 1, located in Boston’s Codman Square neighborhood.
  • Urban Edge will preserve 99 units, including 89 affordable units, in Wilshire Westminster House in Boston.
  • Just-A-Start will preserve 112 affordable units in several properties in Cambridge, including those destroyed by fire, in JAS Consolidation.
  • Berkshire Housing Development Corporation will develop 60 affordable units in Great Barrington, through a combination of rehabilitation and new construction, in Bostwick Gardens.
  • Coalition for a Better Acre will construct 44 affordable units in The Gerson Building, located in Haverhill.
  • NewVue Communities will develop Carter School, an historic rehabilitation project in Leominster consisting of 39 affordable units.
  • North Shore CDC will preserve 27 single-room-occupancy units, including 26 affordable units, in Harbor and Lafayette Homes, located in Salem.
  • Home City Housing will preserve 104 units in Springfield, including 79 affordable units, in Chestnut Crossing.
  • Domus, Inc. will develop Moseley Apartments, an historic rehab, with 23 affordable units, located in Westfield.

 

The strong showing by CDCs reflects the growing strength of the CDC sector in Massachusetts due in part to the Community Investment Tax Credit program, the Mel King Institute for Community Building and other capacity building efforts undertaken in recent years.  MACDC will continue to steward these programs while also advocating for for more housing resources that will enable CDCs and others to expand the production and preservation of affordable housing in the Commonwealth . 

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"Newton affordable housing group and Metro West Collaborative Development affiliate" - Metro West CDC Press Release

August 8th, 2017 by Jennifer Van Campen

Long-time Newton-based non-profit Citizens for Affordable Housing in Newton Development Organization (CAN-DO) announced today its affiliation, as of January 1, with Metro West Collaborative Development, Inc., also of Newton. Both organizations say that their affiliation move will help grow and support affordable housing in the area. This move is the culmination of a process commenced by CAN‑DO three years ago, in response to the growing challenges associated with developing affordable housing in Newton and the anticipated retirement of its executive director, Josephine McNeil. After consultation with its corporate and individual contributors, partner organizations, and appointed and elected officials, the CAN-DO board of directors determined that the best way forward was to affiliate with another nonprofit housing organization. 

“CAN-DO was attracted to becoming an organization with a more diverse collection of income sources and the opportunity of working in numerous towns. CAN-DO will not change its name and will continue to own its properties, but it is now an affiliate of Metro West,” said Susan Davidoff, president of the CAN-DO board of directors.

CAN-DO was founded in 1994 as a non-profit developer of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income individuals and families in Newton. The organization has created 44 housing units in Newton, including transitional housing for victims of domestic violence, a congregate building for individuals with developmental disabilities, permanent rental apartments, and condominium units. Thirty-seven of these units are deed-restricted and will remain affordable in perpetuity.

Metro West CD is a regional non-profit community development corporation whose mission is to develop 100 units of affordable housing over the next five years in its 21 partner communities, and to encourage economic development that improves neighborhoods. Metro West has developed 57 affordable homes and apartments since 2003.

Each organization will continue to exist as an independent entity but will share an interlocked board that will govern both. Each organization will also continue to independently own its properties and to abide by the agreements pertaining to those properties. On February 1 Metro West will take over management of the CAN-DO properties through its offices on Chapel Street in Newton. The affiliation does not affect the requirements of occupancy nor impose any tenant re-screenings or new income certifications from tenants, except as regularly scheduled

“Both organizations believe that their long-term sustainability will be improved  by an affiliation,” said CAN-DO executive director Josephine McNeil. McNeil will officially retire as of February 1, but will continue to serve as CAN-DO’s executive director emeritus through June to help with the transition and organize CAN-DO’s 14th Annual Celebration. McNeil was one of the organizing members of CAN-DO and its first president of the board of directors.

“Metro West was attracted to the idea of working in the largest municipality in its catchment area,” said Jennifer Van Campen, executive director of Metro West. “Working with CAN-DO in Newton increases the opportunities for both organizations.”

Under the affiliation, the chairperson of the combined board will, for at least the first three years, be a resident of Newton. The agreement also provides that the combined board will establish a Support Services Subcommittee that will guide and oversee the combined organizations’ commitment to service-enriched housing. CAN-DO currently collaborates with local social service organizations and others to provide services to residents in several of its properties with the goal of securing more stable futures for themselves and their families. The goal of the subcommittee is to expand these services to all CAN-DO residents.

Each organization will retain the charitable contributions it raises. CAN-DO’s will continue to fund development and advocacy efforts in Newton. 

CAN-DO will sponsor its annual fundraising gala, Yes In My Backyard, on March 12 at the Marriott in Newton. Tickets can be obtained by visiting http://www.newtoncando.org

The Metro West Collaborative Development offices are located at 79-B Chapel Street, Newton.  http://metrowestcd.org/

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"E2E, Quaboag Region Workforce Training and Community College Center" – a new resource for Community Building

August 8th, 2017 by Sheila Cuddy

In 2013 as the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation was developing its new Community Investment Plan, one of the most pressing community needs was for post secondary education. Employers were concerned about finding fully trained workers. Unemployed and underemployed residents needed educational resources to attain and update job skills. There was no educational facility beyond high school located in this 400 + square mile region with little public transportation. QVCDC research indicated education levels that were dramatically behind the Massachusetts average in several communities.

As QVCDC and the community began a series of meetings to work on solutions, important links and partnerships were built. A local community banking partner of QVCDC offered to donate 4500 ft. of Class A space in downtown Ware to house this new facility. A local community foundation utilized Community Investment Tax Credits to support the establishment of the facility. With a physical location and demonstrated community support in place, Holyoke Community College signed on to provide onsite workforce training, and online credit bearing classes at E2E. Local employers donated equipment and labor to fit out the space, and the local vocational school built a beautifully crafted podium. Additional support provided the sign, technology and computers for students to use. The Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board launched a pilot program to provide regular onsite staff support for both job seekers and employers closing a 30 mile gap to their closest office.

In addition to being a respectful space for people to access job skill and educational resources, E2E has created an eye-catching visual presence in the downtown Ware streetscape. It brings vibrancy as well as resources to downtown Ware.

Community Investment Tax Credits have been used to accomplish community building that is not just a program, but is a physical space located in the heart of the downtown.

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MACDC Members Learn to Partner with Hospitals

July 26th, 2017 by Kermshlise Picard

The healthcare field is increasingly thinking about social determinants of health (SDOH) and how to partner with non-health organizations to improve the health of their shared communities. This is a great opportunity for CDCs, who were working on SDOH before most of us even knew what SDOH were! To help prepare CDCs and other community developers for this opportunity, and thanks to a generous grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Mel King Institute held three trainings this summer called “Forging CDC-Hospital Partnerships.”  

Nearly 50 people from 39 organizations participated in the trainings across Massachusetts—on June 6 in Northampton, July 13 in Boston and July 18 in Lawrence. Instructor Enid Eckstein taught participants about hospitals’ obligation to invest in their communities, challenges hospitals face in doing so, potential sources of funding from hospitals, and more terms and strategies around approaching a hospital about community development. Participants in Northampton and Boston learned from Department of Public Health officials about the new Determination of Need guidelines that hospitals must follow, and participants in Lawrence learned about them from Enid. All participants worked through a case study of a local hospital in order to practice analyzing hospital financial data and reports on community programs. Through these case studies, participants realized that there is much room for improvement in how hospitals spend their community benefit dollars and for clarity on which health concerns each hospital is prioritizing. While these issues can be challenging to navigate, they also present a chance for CDCs to demonstrate their value in engaging with community members and leading successful initiatives that address the SDOH in their communities. 

At the end of the trainings, all three groups discussed what they can do next to put their new knowledge to use and potentially join forces to build relationships with local hospitals. Participants in Boston and Lawrence wrote themselves letters for the future, explaining their vision and strategies they would hope to implement after attending the trainings. MACDC and the Mel King Institute intend to continue supporting these efforts: MACDC has hired Enid Eckstein to provide some direct follow-up technical assistance to CDCs or groups of CDCs that want to move forward. MACDC will also work with MACDC members who are interested in creating a Community Health Committee to continue these conversations and develop strategies to improve the health of their communities. MACDC will be advocating for strong policies and practices in this arena as part of the Attorney General’s Task Force on Community Benefit, of which MACDC President Joe Kriesberg is a member.  And, of course, the Mel King Institute will offer additional workshops and sessions on this and other related community health topics. 

All in all, we hope these trainings are just the first step towards building more productive cross-sector collaborations that create healthier communities all over Massachusetts. We look forward to seeing this movement develop and supporting our members along the way.

 

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Eastern Bank Renews $300k Community Investment Tax Credit Donation for 2nd Year

July 12th, 2017 by John Fitterer

 

Boston, MA -  Eastern Bank has announced that it will award $300,000 in grants for the second year in a row to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) across Massachusetts participating in the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) program.

“Eastern Bank continues to be an incredible supporter of CDCs in Massachusetts,” commented Joseph Kriesberg, MACDC’s President.  “CDCs will use this support to expand economic opportunity in local communities across Massachusetts.”

Organizations involved in the CITC program have deepened their community engagement, expanded their programming, and increased their impact.  In 2016, these organizations engaged nearly 2,000 community leaders to achieve the following results:

  • Homes Built or Preserved:  1,195
  • Job Opportunities Created or Preserved:  3,903
  • Small Business Assistance Provided:  717
  • Families Served with Housing, Jobs, or Other Services:  70,840
  • Invested in Local Communities:  $489.6 million

“Eastern Bank is thrilled to continue supporting CDCs through the Community Investment Tax Credit program,” remarked Gary Leach, Eastern Bank Senior Vice President, Community Development Lending Group Head. “Eastern Bank is committed to supporting organizations working within low- and moderate-income communities.  The CITC increases the impact of support and helps ensure the long-term revitalization neighborhoods and town in Massachusetts.”

The CITC program provides a 50% refundable state tax credit for donations between $1,000 and $2 million.  Because the donation is refundable, organizations, such as foundations and donor advised funds, can support CDCs across Massachusetts through the program as well as individuals and businesses.

 

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Legislature & Governor Poised to Cut Small Business Support by 62.5%

July 10th, 2017 by

Advocates say that second consecutive year of budget cuts undermine efforts to reduce racial wealth gap and extend jobs and opportunity throughout the state.

BOSTON, July 10, 2017—On Friday, the legislature voted to approve the conference committee budget for Fiscal Year 2018, including just $750,000 in funding for the Small Business Technical Assistance program, a 25% cut from FY 2017 and a 62.5% cut from FY 2016.  The funding was also below the levels proposed by the Governor ($1 million), the House ($1 million) and the Senate ($2.5 million).

“We are dismayed with the budget’s devastating and disproportionate cut to a successful program that is creating jobs, opportunity and new tax revenue across the Commonwealth,” said Joseph Kriesberg, President of MACDC.  “This program is specifically targeted to reducing the racial wealth gap, supporting immigrant entrepreneurs, boosting rural economies and reaching other hard to serve markets in our state. These cuts move us in the wrong direction.”

“We understand the state’s tight budget, but a 62.5% cut over two years to a successful program does not make sense when we see growing economic inequality,” noted Kriesberg. “We will continue to advocate for hard working entrepreneurs to ensure they have the support they need to succeed.”

“We call on Governor Baker to use some of the discretionary funds recently pulled from various state accounts to restore funding to this program, at least to the level he proposed in his FY 2018 budget.”

The Small Business Technical Assistance program was created under Governor Mitt Romney and has enjoyed bi-partisan support ever since. It is administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation and funds a network of over 30 community based organizations who provide highly specialized services to targeted markets. FY 2016, the program achieved:

  • Technical assistance and training from grantee SBTA providers to 1,891 business clients;
  • 1,056 new jobs were created; 1,594 jobs were preserved;
  • 367 businesses received $29,970,094 in financing, a leverage rate of 15:1;
  • 74% of businesses supported achieved a positive outcome:  opened, grew, or stabilized;
  • 97% of clients are from underserved communities including people of color, immigrants and women.

Joseph Kriesberg can be reached at 617-721-7250 or joek@macdc.org.

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Seven Tips to Help You Forge Health and Housing Partnerships

July 5th, 2017 by Pamela Bailey

In NeighborWorks America’s new five-year strategic plan (2017-2021), one of our most significant transitions is recognition that many members of our network are increasingly broadening and deepening their cross-sector collaborations. We want to support them in advancing this new paradigm to create more opportunities for low-income people and communities.

One of the diverse sectors in which our network members are increasingly active, often through new types of collaborations, is health. A survey conducted by NeighborWorks of 242 of its network organizations showed that nearly 89 percent are engaging in activities that connect housing and community development directly to health—with the most common strategies focused on the home environment and access to healthy foods. A total of 83 percent of those initiatives relied on partners, ranging from hospitals to local public health departments.

A paper summarizing the results of the survey, co-authored by Sarah Norman, NeighborWorks’ director of healthy homes and communities, is now in peer review at the journal Cities & Health and is summarized in a blog post on Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies website.

Read the full article 

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Mel King Annual Breakfast A Huge Success!

June 30th, 2017 by
We hope you enjoyed the annual breakfast!
 
On June 22, we came together to celebrate community building, innovation, and connection in Massachusetts. There were many accomplishments and inspirational ideas shared from our partners, the poets from IBA's Youth Development and Arts Program, and our keynote speaker Jeremy Liu from PolicyLink
 
Major Announcements:
  • Our presenting sponsor, Eastern Bank, announced an additional $300,000 in donations available to Community Development Corporations through the Community Investment Tax Credit!
  • The Public Housing Training Program launched in March with a two-day training for residents who serve on the Board of their Local Housing Authority (LHA). Starting in the Fall, we will also offer training for any interested public housing resident, especially those involved with their Local Tenant Organization or Resident Association. 
 
Check out photos and videos from the event on Facebook
 
MKI Accomplishments 2016-2017
 
We are proud to announce our accomplishments from Fiscal Year 2017. Thank you to everyone who attended our trainings and events, taught, or partnered with us this year! 
  • 545 Students
  • 30 Training Courses
  • 171 Organizations
  • 13 New Courses
Watch the Annual Video Again 
 
 
A special thank you to Mel King, Vanessa Calderón Rosado, Marc Draisen, and Representative Byron Rushing for participating in the 8th Annual Video.
 
 

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor:

Platinum:
Boston Private Bank
Massachusetts Housing Partnership
Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation
Northeastern University

Gold:
Needham Bank
NeighborWorks America
WinnCompanies

Silver:
Kevin Martin and Associates
Klein Hornig LLP
NEI General Contracting
Santander
Tufts Health Public Plan

Bronze:
Ann L. Silverman Consulting
Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC)
Dedham Savings
Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston
Mass Growth Capital Corp.
Munkenbeck Consulting
Third Sector New England
Maloney Properties, Inc.
Dana Farber Cancer Institute

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Development Without Displacement: Dudley Neighbors Inc. Add 527 Columbia Road Property to Land Trust

June 28th, 2017 by Juan Leyton & Tony Hernandez

We are excited to share some historic news in the movement to promote development without displacement:  Dudley Neighbors Inc. (DNI) community land trust has successfully acquired the Citizens Bank building in Upham's Corner, 572 Columbia Road, and placed it into the land trust.  With support from the City of Boston's Acquisition Opportunity Fund, DNI was for the first time able to compete and purchase a large privately-owned property and place it on the land trust.   The DSNI Board authorized the DNI Community Land Trust to acquire the property and work with the community to develop a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a development plan that meets the neighborhood's vision and a development partner willing to implement that vision in partnership with DNI. Citizens Bank was already planning to move out of the building and will relocate to another site in Upham's Corner, leaving the property empty for future development. 

This move is part of DSNI's expanded anti-displacement strategy in response to the increasing housing costs in the neighborhood and the threat of low- and moderate-income families being forced out of the community they have helped to build.  With the designation of Upham's Corner as a Neighborhood Arts Innovation District and City-sponsored planning around the Strand Theatre, we have the opportunity to create a mixed-use project at the Citizens Bank site that will support and complement efforts to strengthen Upham's role as an affordable, vibrant center for arts, culture, and creative economic development.  Over the next several months, DSNI will be working together with the City of Boston, Upham's Corner Main Streets, and numerous neighborhood associations and community organizations to engage the residents, artists, and merchants in planning the future of this site, as part of a larger effort to implement priorities that have emerged from previous planning processes such as the Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative.  We will also build on the partnerships we have developed through the Fairmount Cultural Corridor initiative and engage with our partners at Design Studio for Social Intervention and the Fairmount Innovation Lab/ArtMorpheus to directly engage artists and creative entrepreneurs in this process.  

What do you want to see in Uphams Corner? Ideas so far include new affordable housing, including artist live/work space, studio and rehearsal space, locally-owned businesses, accessible parking, and community space for local organizing. How can we make sure that the development brings resources and benefits back into the community?   How do we ensure that development in Upham's Corner reflects the priorities of residents and preserves the racial, economic and cultural diversity that makes Upham's such a special place to live, work and visit?

This represents a major step forward in DSNI's strategy to seek out opportunities to expand the DNI community land trust as a vehicle to promote community control of land and resources.  To make sure that this development truly benefits our community, we need to hear your ideas. Keep an eye out for community meetings, and contact Tony at thernandez@dsni.org with any questions. Together, let’s embrace this historic opportunity!

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Report from People and Places Conference

June 8th, 2017 by Richard Thal

Richard Thal, Executive Director of the Jamaica Plan Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), joined close to 20 of his colleagues from the Massachuasetts community development field in Arlington, Virginia at the 2017 People and Places Conference.  Below is his letter to "JPNDCers," which is an excellent recap of the conference.

A special thanks to Richard for granting permission for the publishing of his letter.

--

Dear JPNDCers:

As we plunge into JPNDC’s celebratory month of June. I am writing to report back on the national People and Places Conference that I attended in DC this past Wednesday through Friday. This conference, the second of its kind, built on the groundwork laid by the inaugural event in March 2015 and was honchoed by the same four groups that came together two years ago to build a grassroots coalition of people working in our field across the country: NACEDA, the National Association of Community Economic Development Associations; NALCAB, the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders; CAPACD, the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development; and the National Urban League. In an attempt to incorporate a more spiritual element of our work, this year a fifth co-sponsor joined - the Network for Developing Conscious Communities.

As you probably won't be surprised to hear, there was a big swing in moods at different points in our gathering. We learned about the impressive work that groups like JPNDC are doing across the country and also about looming threats to policies and programs that provide resources to low- and moderate-income people and to help create a fairer and more just society.

Some of this good work entails one-on-one efforts that help improve (and sometimes transform) individuals and families' lives.  Like JPNDC, more organizations are focusing on helping people build their financial capability, for example working to help low-income people and recent arrivals understand about credit and build their credit scores. Groups are developing initiatives to provide credit builder loans for people with no (or bad) credit histories. The national Credit Builders Alliance (which we joined in early 2016) has launched a pilot program to help organizations figure out how to count rent payments toward people's credit scores.

As we learned from one of our keynote speakers, Richard Cordray, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, changes in federal policies over the last six to eight years have had a very positive impact. Since it started operations in 2011, CFPB has recouped $12 billion dollars for 29 million consumers and has levied $600 million in fines against financial institutions guilty of deceptive and discriminatory practices. In addition, it is estimated that changes to the laws governing credit card disclosure practices have saved people $16 billion in "gotcha" fees. As they say, that ain't hay!

Unfortunately, even though Director Cordray was too polite to mention it, his agency is under attack. Numerous people in the administration and the Congress have railed against the CFPB and the US House of Representatives will be considering legislation in the coming days that could curtail or eliminate the agency's activities.

At different workshops and through conversations with our compatriots from around the country, we learned about several examples of groups building strong grassroots coalitions to win impressive policy victories at the local and state levels. The Center for Community Change tracked 39 referendum campaigns across the US last fall where voters were asked to raise revenue to increase spending on affordable housing. Our side emerged victorious in 32 of the 39 campaigns, including in different venues in California that require 2/3 of the voters to vote in favor. In the largest campaign in the country, in Santa Clara County where $950 million was at stake, the engagement of residents of affordable housing spelled the difference between success and failure in reaching the 2/3 mark.  Hundreds of residents were trained as speakers at public events and as organizers to mobilize thousands of their neighbors to go to the polls. The number of resident voters pushed the campaign over the top.
 
Over the last several years, people in our field have been trying to think more critically and creatively about how we can build public support for efforts to improve the lives of the people we serve. At workshops, meetings with legislative aides, and informal conversations the same theme was sounded repeatedly- while it’s important to know the facts and figures, what matters most are the stories of individual human beings. For instance, when discussing changes to immigration policy, nothing is more powerful than hearing how those changes will affect the lives of individuals and families. When advocating for more funding for creating and preserving affordable housing, it’s far better to focus on the need and the people involved than the amount of money or the number of “units”. 
 
Last Thursday afternoon about 15 conference attendees from Massachusetts met on Capitol Hill with staffers representing 9 of the 11 members of the Mass. Congressional delegation, all of whom are generally supportive of the work of groups like JPNDC. While they had some specific suggestions about legislative issues that we need to emphasize more, they stressed that it is particularly helpful to their bosses if we can share individual stories. Not surprisingly, the legislators have found that showing the human impact of public policies is a more effective way of persuading some of their colleagues who are not as supportive than more abstract policy arguments.
 
For many of us, this is not a new point, but I always find it helpful to get regrounded in remembering what our work is about. And, at a time in our nation’s capital when the value of our work is under attack, it is more important than ever to celebrate the dedicated and determined people working all over the country to create what Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to as “the beloved community”.

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