News5 Minute ReadMar | 1 | 2023
Preventing Housing Displacement, Supporting Local Business & Building Community Wealth
FOR SEVEN YEARS, Hyde Park salon owners Nikia Londy and Baron Langston had inquired about purchasing the historic Vertullo Building where their business Intriguing Hair is located.
Then one day they learned it was about to be sold to a market-rate developer who could displace Intriguing Hair and the building’s other businesses and residents.
With little time to put a bid together, Nikia and Baron began contacting local agencies to get help. LISC Boston quickly joined together with MGH, Historic Boston, Inc., and other state and local partners to provide the financing to support their bid.
“Ownership is an important tool in helping to reduce the racial wealth gap and ensuring Bostonians have access to creating a pipeline of opportunity,” said mayor Michelle Wu in a statement about the investment. “I am proud to support the efforts by so many crucial organizational partners and community leaders to help more Boston business owners acquire the property their businesses occupy.”
But the benefits did not stop there. Acquisition of the property also prevented the displacement of four other Black-owned businesses and three residential households in the building, many of whom had been there for 30 years.
- Nikia Londy and Baron Langston
“Thanks to this support, we created the first Black-owned block in Hyde Park.”
Protecting Immigrant Housing in Chinatown
In Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, MGH worked with LISC and the Asian Community Development Corporation to prevent the displacement of predominantly working-class Chinese immigrants.
The resulting acquisition of 64 Beach Street protected 14 residential apartment units from being converted to market rate units. This six-story building, just steps away from the historic Chinatown Gate, is also home to the New Golden Gate restaurant.
Keeping Senior Housing Affordable in Chelsea
In Chelsea, Bellingham Square Associates Ltd. purchased a home for seniors and individuals with disabilities using MGH and LISC funds along with other state and local resources. This has resulted in the preservation of 27 units of affordable housing for seniors and individuals with disabilities. And, in addition to the renovations, the project has facilitated activities such as cooking and wellness classes, social groups, and activities to help senior residents stay engaged in their community.
An Impactful Partnership
In total, MGH’s $1.2 million investment in affordable housing and economic development has seeded extraordinary impact through LISC Boston’s Community Acquisition and Predevelopment Initiative.
Through this partnership, LISC has already preserved 192 homes with transit access in diverse Boston and Chelsea neighborhoods, with a projection of 500 total units in the future.
“Affordable places to live and stable rents where businesses can thrive are becoming increasingly out of reach for many in our communities, yet they are closely tied to their health and wellbeing,” said Leslie Aldrich, Implementation Officer for MGH Equity and Community Health. “Through unique investments such as our partnership with LISC, MGH is working to address these issues while helping to build generational wealth and strengthening community roots.”