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BOSTON: Fed Funds Fade for Affordable Housing

National Multifamily

Developers and owners of affordable housing nationwide are grappling with the decline of federal funding. In South Boston, the Old Colony complex—one of the nation’s oldest public housing communities—has been undergoing a $135M overhaul. Half of the distressed housing there has been revamped, but completion faces a major obstacle: Its funding came through the ARRA and HUD’s Hope 6 program, but now there isn't any federal program for the remaining 350 apartments, says BHA administrator Bill McGonagle.


The night-and-day difference at Old Colony shows how these funds are put to good use. A contingent of Beacon Communities, The Architectural Team (TAT), and the Boston Housing Authority have demolished some superblocks that made the 840-unit project feel like a walled fortress. They recently completed 12 new buildings with 245 apartments and townhomes; they also formed a new street pattern, seamlessly blending it into the surrounding area. The new units give residents a sense of ownership and encourage pedestrian activity that helps reduce crime, says TAT's Jay Szymanski, above.