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Groundbreaking:Hearth at Four Corners

Affordable housing – especially for older residents is on the way for 16 Ronald Street in Dorchester! 

See press release below from Mayor Marty Walsh’s office:

Tuesday, September 24, 2019 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker  joined Hearth President and CEO Mark Hinderlie, D.F. Pray President, Scott Pray, the Hearth Board of Directors, local elected officials, and residents to celebrate the groundbreaking of Hearth at Four Corners. The $19 million project will create 54 units of supportive, affordable housing for older adults, and will be located on a previously vacant city-owned lot at 16 Ronald Street in Dorchester. Today’s groundbreaking ceremony builds on the City of Boston’s commitment to creating more affordable housing, especially for older residents. 

“As a city, we measure our success by how we are able to serve all of our people, including our most vulnerable residents. We’re excited about the Hearth at Four Corners project and the new affordable housing opportunities it brings for Boston’s older adults,” said Mayor Walsh. “This project is another example of our commitment to maintaining and growing our affordable housing stock in Boston. I want to thank all partners involved for making this opportunity possible, which will make a positive difference in the lives of those who will call Hearth home.”

Hearth at Four Corners will create 52 affordable one bedroom units, and two studio apartments. All residents at the new 48,867 square foot building will have 24/7 access to on-site concierge services and a Resident Service Coordinator. Additional wellness services will also be available once construction is complete. The new housing development will serve individuals age 62 or older who have either low or middle-income housing needs. In addition, two units will be set aside to house formerly homeless individuals. 

“Our administration has prioritized the production and preservation of affordable housing across the Commonwealth, and we are pleased to support this development that brings critical senior housing to the City of Boston,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We will continue to invest in projects that combine housing and important wraparound services, and we look forward to working with our colleagues in the Legislature to pass our Housing Choice bill to facilitate the production of new housing to address Massachusetts’ affordability and availability crisis.”

Hearth’s construction plans call for the highest standards of universal design throughout the new building to accommodate older adults of all abilities. The building will meet LEED Silver, Energy Star, and Enterprise Green Community standards. Financing for the project includes support from the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, and State, Federal low income housing tax credits, MassDevelopment, Citizens, and Eastern Bank. Philanthropic support was provided by Charles H. Farnsworth Trust, Charlesbank Homes, and individual donors.

“Hearth feels so fortunate that here in Boston we have a Mayor and a Governor who believe so strongly that all our residents deserve a place to call home. Mayors and Governors oversee critically important agencies charged with addressing the crisis in affordable housing, and this project wouldn’t have happened without them, but this Mayor and this Governor have gone beyond simply good management to provide inspirational and philanthropic leadership to make sure we succeed in ending and preventing homelessness in the Commonwealth and our City,” said Mark Hinderlie, Hearth President and CEO.

This project received support from the community led by the City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development, and the Erie Ellington Brinsley Neighborhood Association. The new building will be located at the former Ronald Gibson School, and will be steps from the MBTA Fairmount line. Hearth has begun construction with their contractor D.F. Pray, and they anticipate completion of construction and the beginning of lease up by late summer 2020.  

In the past five years, almost 430 units for older residents have either been completed, or are currently in construction — 81 percent of which are income-restricted units. In addition, the City has six more developments in the pipeline that will create 270 more units for older residents. 

Today’s groundbreaking for Hearth at Four Corners strongly aligns with the City’s housing goals to use more City-owned land to produce affordable housing for seniors as outlined in Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030. Mayor Walsh recently increased the City’s overall housing targets from 53,000 to 69,000 new units by 2030 to meet Boston’s population growth. These updated housing goals build on Mayor Walsh’s commitment to increasing access to home ownership, preventing displacement and promoting fair and equitable housing access.

Since the release of the original Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030 plan in 2014, income-restricted housing stock has grown along with overall new production resulting in nearly 20 percent of newly-developed housing units designated as income restricted, and 25 percent of rental units designated as income restricted. Based on the Mayor’s housing plan, in total, after creating an additional 15,820 units of income-restricted housing, Boston will have nearly 70,000 units of income-restricted housing by 2030.

Mayor Walsh’s 2019 housing security legislative package  focuses on expanding upon the work that Boston has done to address the region’s affordable housing crisis and displacement risks for tenants by proposing new and strengthening current tools to leverage Boston’s prosperity and create sustainable wealth opportunities that make Boston a more inclusive and equitable city. The housing security bills proposed seek to help existing tenants, particularly older adults, remain in their homes, and creates additional funding for affordable housing.

For more information on the City’s work to create more housing, please visit: Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030.

About Hearth, Inc.

Founded in 1991 as a nonprofit with a mission to end elder homelessness, Hearth has developed 228 units of housing, including Hearth at Four Corners.  They have placed over 2,500 older adults in safe housing with appropriate services, both in Hearth housing and through their Outreach Program, and created a National Leadership Initiative, which has resulted in tens of thousands of units of permanent supportive housing for homeless and at-risk older adults coast to coast.

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and Caught in Dot and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.