Place-Based Investing | October 18, 2022

East Boston Community Development establishes a neighborhood trust to preserve affordable housing

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, October 18 — In cities like Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland and Tulsa, local organizations are working with the nonprofit Trust Neighborhoods to preserve housing affordability in fast-gentrifying neighborhoods, where low- and moderate-income residents face rising rents and displacement. 

A new Mixed-Income Neighborhood Trust in East Boston has acquired 114 units across 36 multifamily that will be preserved as affordable for current and future residents in the long term. East Boston Community Development Corp. created the trust with $8 million in financial assistance from the Boston Impact Initiative, local social justice group City Life/Vida Urbana, the Hyams, Boston and Eastern Bank foundations, and private individuals.

East Boston has historically been an affordable neighborhood for the many immigrant families and families of color that live there. Between 2011 and 2021, the cost of a single-family home shot up 226%, the sharpest hike of any neighborhood in the city; multifamily rents have gone up at a similar pace. 

“For many years, families in East Boston have been fighting to stay in their homes and live their lives in peace, without constant fear of displacement or deportation,” said CityLife/Vida Urbana’s Mike Leyba. “This major acquisition and preservation of affordable housing to the neighborhood is only possible because of the power and tenacity of local residents who continuously fight for community-wide stabilization.”

Leyba said “the new East Boston Neighborhood Trust will be a core piece of that stabilization effort in East Boston for years to come.”

The city of Boston provided $12 million in public funding to make the acquisition, $9 million of which was drawn via funds provided by the American Rescue Plan Act, which allocates emergency funding to states and municipalities to recover from Covid-19. The rest of the capital came from the CARES Act and Boston’s Inclusionary Development Policy program.

East Boston Community Development also received a grant from Boston-based Barr Foundation to complete the acquisition. 

“I am proud that in Boston we are using our American Rescue Plan funds not only to protect family housing from displacement, but also to pilot new forms of community self-governance,” said Kenzie Bok, a Boston city council member and chair of the committee on Boston’s COVID-19 Recovery. “Housing justice means homes are for people, not for profit, and this Mixed-Income Neighborhood Trust is an example of how Boston can creatively use public capital to anchor our resident communities for the long term.”

The East Boston neighborhood trust purchased the portfolio in a $47 million transaction with joint venture partners Hodara Real Estate Group and The Grossman Companies.