Dorchester Bay EDC's Indigo Block Proposal Approved by the BRA

June 30th, 2016 by Kimberly R. Lyle & K. Leah Whiteside

On May 21, 2015 Dorchester Bay and partners Boston CapitalEscazú Development, and Newmarket Community Partners were designated by the City of Boston as developer of a 2.7 acre parcel of land at 65 East Cottage Street, adjacent to the Uphams Corner station on the Fairmount/Indigo Line. The development team will build 80 residential rental units for low- and middle-income households; 9 condominium units for sale at rates that are affordable to middle-income households; and 20,000 square feet of light industrial space. This is an exciting project for Dorchester Bay. We are eager to transform this vacant parcel into high-quality affordable housing for our community, to bring new job opportunities to the neighborhood, and to provide a more direct link to the train station right next to the property. Read the article from the May 21, 2015, edition of The Dorchester Reporter about the award announcement.

View our complete project materials and visuals at our our page on the Co-Urbanize website.

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Eastern Bank Announces $300K Community Investment Tax Credit Donation

June 23rd, 2016 by John Fitterer
Boston, MA -   Thanks to the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC), Eastern Bank is awarding $300,000 in grants to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) across Massachusetts participating in the program.  This donation is the largest to the field in the bank's history and builds upon a long legacy of supporting CDCs in Massachusetts.
"Eastern Bank's donation to our field is significant," noted Joseph Kriesberg, MACDC's President.  "Thanks to this support, CDCs will improve neighborhoods and communities as more homes will be built, more jobs will be secured and more families will be stabilized."
Thanks to the CITC program, CDCs are hiring new staff and increasing their capacity overall to develop new affordable housing, provide loans and technical support to entrepreneurs and businesses, and support thousands of individuals and families each year.
"Supporting CDCs across Massachusetts is very important to Eastern Bank.  Thanks to the Commonwealth's Community Investment Tax Credit program, we are more than doubling our support to the field this year," commented Gary Leach.  "We encourage businesses, financial institutions and individuals to learn more about this program and get involved.  CDCs are doing incredible work here in Boston and across Massachusetts.  Supporting these organizations is critical to strengthening our most vulnerable communities."
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, also are able to support CDCs across Massachusetts through the program as well as individuals and businesses.
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A State House Snapshot for June: Budget Negotiators meeting, Zoning Reform and Economic Development Bills Are Moving!

June 21st, 2016 by David Bryant

State Budget:  With just six weeks remaining in the current Massachusetts Legislative Session, a number of important MACDC legislative priorities are still pending.   Our key budget priority, $2 Million in funding for the Small Business Technical Assistance (SBTA) program administered by Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC), was included in the Governor’s and the House approved budget but not the Senate-passed budget. It must now be reconciled in a six-member House and Senate conference committee.  The Senate budget did provide $100,000 to cover operating expenses for the Massachusetts Food Trust – funds that were not provided by the House so this too must be addressed in the conference.  Further complicating the conference deliberations, the Baker administration disclosed last week that this year's state budget shortfall is larger than anticipated and estimates of revenues available for next year's budget might be off by as much as $750 million.  This news makes the budget reconciliation process even more challenging for the conference negotiators.  MACDC and its members are making their voices heard so legislators understand the importance of these programs.

Zoning Reform:  On June 9, the Massachusetts Senate passed “An Act promoting housing and sustainable development” (S.2311), by a vote of 23-15.  This is the first comprehensive zoning reform legislation to pass either the House or Senate in many decades, and we are grateful to so many of you who contacted your senators about this important legislation.

This is a tremendous victory for the Alliance and its partners, and, now, it is on to the House!

Here is a link to MACDC’s statement shared with senators ahead of the vote.

Economic Development:  On June 15, the Joint Committee on Economic Development & Emerging Technologies reported favorably H. 4413, An Act Relative to Job Creation, Workforce Development and Infrastructure Investment.  MACDC supports the economic development proposal and our members are encouraged that key policy concepts and areas of implementation and focus outlined in the bill are consistent with ideas CDCs have put forth.  These efforts are demonstrated by the multi-year funding commitments to:

  • The Mass Works Infrastructure Program ($300 million)
  • The Brownfields Redevelopment Fund ($45 million)
  • The Smart Growth Trust Fund ($15 million)
  • Transformative Development Initiative ($30 million)

The Joint Committee also included $6 million authorization over 3 years for capital expenses for the Massachusetts Food Trust – a huge win!  The bill will now go through a series of committees before it is voted on by the House and Senate and sent to the Governor. Here is our testimony to the House Committee on Bonding in support of the bill. We will need to follow the bill carefully to ensure that funding is maintained at each step along the way – as nothing is guaranteed for final passage.


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Enlisting Landlords to Prevent Displacement

June 16th, 2016 by Leah Bloom

Recently, the City of Boston announced the creation of the Acquisition Opportunity Program, a $7.5 million loan fund designed to keep currently-affordable rents low. LISC Boston was instrumental in the development of this anti-displacement strategy, and we applaud the City’s commitment to mitigating the impact of gentrification.

In 2014, we and the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) formed the Gentrification Learning Community, a diverse group of residents, community development professionals, and neighborhood organizations, to study the issues causing displacement in our city. At the same time, along with our partners at The Boston Foundation and the Department of Neighborhood Development, we convened the Acquisition and Conversion Working Group, a consortium of more than 20 organizations including CDCs, funders, and city and state officials, to identify strategies for allowing low- and moderate-income people to stay in their homes.

What we found is not news. 

Skyrocketing real estate prices, an aging and inadequate housing stock, and a slower-than-average recovery from the Great Recession among minority and low-income families all contribute to the problems of gentrification and displacement. But the solutions we came up with offer real promise.

Sheila Dillon, Chief and Director of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development, says "Mayor Walsh has made it very clear to us that we needed to think creatively about new ways to help tenants remain in their homes --  he wants to make sure that the people who have lived in their communities for years can remain there.  ​With the help of partners like ​LISC and​ the Boston Foundation, we developed the Acquisition Opportunity Program as one way to attack this problem.  We know that it is only one tool, though, and that much more work needs to be done.  But we are excited about this pilot program, and grateful to have supportive partners to help us."

The program has the potential to prevent not only displacement, but homelessness as well. It will also allow workers to remain near their jobs, and children to stay in their neighborhood schools.

Perhaps most important of all, when people can stay in the homes they’ve chosen, the fabric of community remains woven tight: Neighbors look out for their each other and their neighborhoods, helping to keep everyone safer, healthier, and happier. And that is an outcome that LISC believes everyone deserves.

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