S. End, Chinatown, hard hit as luxury units displace affordable apartments
As buildings change hands and rents increase, elderly renters and homeowners are feeling pressue in Roxbury, the South End, Chinatown and other neighborhoods in various stages of gentrification.
Financial abuse affects whole families
Cases of elder financial abuse often present a messy trail of poor decisions, declining cognitive ability, aggressive or unscrupulous lenders and self-serving family members. But the results can be stark: lost dreams, financial ruin and even homelessness for elders or their heirs. And the loss of a long-held home not only curtails a family’s economic rise, but can fray the cultural fabric of a neighborhood.
Reverse mortgages, refinance schemes often put seniors at risk
Mortgage companies are aggressively marketing reverse mortgages to seniors, but advocates warn that the refinancing scheme isn’t for everyone.
The Boston Housing Authority has moved a step closer to tapping private development dollars in the face of public funding gaps that make it difficult to operate and improve its aging housing stock. In a public meeting May 28 at Charlestown High School, BHA Director Bill McGonagle outlined the agency’s plan to issue a Request for Proposals to transform the nearby Bunker Hill development into an expanded, mixed-income complex.
Aging housing stock and fixed incomes leave Boston seniors vulnerable
Traditional wisdom says home ownership provides economic security in old age, but as the senior population swells, repair costs rise and more people enter retirement saddled by debt, many elders find themselves “house-rich but cash-poor,” unable to keep up with repairs or adapt the home to be safe for frailer bodies.
Mental health, brain development suffer
Homelessness-related stress and trauma plays a role in poor maternal health and poor parenting, which then affects child development, said Carmela DeCandia, who is co-author of a recent report on family homelessness. Ninety-three percent of homeless mothers have a history of trauma. Thirty-six percent are suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder — triple the incidence of PTSD in the general population of women. These conditions are often factors in substance abuse and depression.
A group of lucky Grove Hall children were served an elegant afternoon tea on Saturday. Wearing their best dresses or jackets and ties, they sat at beautifully-set tables at Boston Public Library’s Grove Hall branch and enjoyed such delicacies as mini scones with lemon curd, blueberry muffins, fruit kabobs, and mini sandwiches of grilled cheese or jam-and-Fluff. They sipped tea or cocoa from delicate floral-patterned china tea cups
New bus lanes, street widening dropped; community still skeptical of plans
The Boston Transportation Department last week unveiled its latest revision of Melnea Cass Boulevard redesign plans, reviving a process stalled by community resistance at several stages over the past three-and-a-half years. The new plan no longer includes the bus rapid transit lanes that were a key part of earlier versions.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the mayors of three other large U.S. cities shared a stage at UMass Boston Sunday to discuss financial empowerment strategies that help cities address increasing income inequality and persistent poverty.
Mayor Martin Walsh and the city’s Elderly Commission have launched an Age-Friendly Boston initiative with the aim of making Boston a place that supports senior citizens in continuing to lead productive, safe and healthy lives.
Some wary of height, parking for 76-unit project
Community members crowded into a meeting room at Brookside Community Health Center last week to hear details and offer comments on a market-rate residential/retail development proposed for 3200 Washington Street in Egleston Square.
Boston Public Library on Feb. 21 unveiled the renovated second floor of its Central Branch’s Johnson Building, featuring dazzling new spaces for children, tweens, teens and adults.
In the aftermath of the historic January and February snowstorms in Boston that caused transit shutdowns, stuck trains, borrowed shuttle buses and frustrating delays at frigid platforms, the MBTA announced it could be another 30 days before full service resumes on its rail lines.
After multiple storms piled more than 90 inches of snow on Boston from mid-January to mid-February — and with more snow expected this week — the city is a mess, with clogged streets and sidewalks, drift-buried cars, countless cancellations, tempers wearing thin and few places to put snow even where shovels and plows attempted to keep up.
Ground floor retail still to come to former Ferdinand’s Building
After three years of painstaking restoration and new construction, the former Ferdinand building, now the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, is days away from opening as the new Boston Public Schools headquarters.
Jamaica Plain neighborhood and economic development groups are reviewing a proposed Egleston Square development that will bring 76 residential units and more than 5,000 feet of ground-floor retail space to the site of a former plumbing and heating supply company and a still-operating auto repair shop.
Promises to protect city against cost overruns
The organizers of Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, along with Mayor Martin Walsh, fielded questions last week from the public on funding, cleanup, potential venues, transportation, and most of all, a persistent sense that the process has not been open and inclusive of Boston residents. Despite bitter cold, the meeting drew some 350 people who filled a lecture hall at Suffolk University Law School and spilled over into a second room to watch the meeting on a video feed.
Agency responds to audit findings
Accountability and transparency are the new stated goals at the Boston Redevelopment Authority,according to a new year-in report issued by Mayor Martin Walsh and BRA DirectorBrian Golden last month.
A group of community residents and advocates in Boston’s Chinatown have formed the city’s first new community land trust in over 25 years in an effort to preserve affordable housing in the neighborhood in the face of increasing development pressure.
Activists, elected officials call for more transparency
Even after a public presentation by Boston 2024, the private group organizing Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics Summer Games, not everyone is convinced the process is sufficiently transparent.
Northeastern University is launching a new initiative to help local and minority-owned and women-owned businesses build their capacity to win contracts from Northeastern and other large institutions.
Roxbury residents wary of Franklin Park use
The United States Olympic Committee’s announcement Jan. 8 that Boston will be its sole U.S. contender for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games — and that Franklin Park in Roxbury could be tapped as an event venue — has created a local flurry of fears, hopes, and most of all, questions.
Mothers of murder victims seek improvements in relations with Homicide cops
Boston Police Department Superintendent-in-Chief William Gross and Deputy Superintendent John Brown spoke Jan. 10 to a gathering of people who have lost loved ones to homicide in communities of color. The event, held at Roxbury’s Bethel Baptist Church, was organized by the Women Survivors of Homicide movement.
Finalists to be introduced in February forums
At a public forum held this week by the Superintendent Search Committee, attendees learned that some 70 people have applied for the Boston job, filled by interim Superintendent John McDonough since Carol R. Johnson’s retirement in 2013. Forum moderator Bob Gittens explained that this large applicant pool has been reviewed and narrowed with the help of the executive search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. A winnowed-down group of applicants will be interviewed by the Search Committee in the next few weeks, and by early February, three final candidates will be referred to the School Committee and Mayor Martin Walsh.
A long-abandoned former public bath house near Uphams Corner available for redevelopment has sparked the interest of four proposers, among them Dorchester native and self-styled bicycle repair entrepreneur Noah Hicks.
With a number of major Roxbury development projects poised to advance this year, calls are growing ever louder for the projects to bring good jobs and community benefits.
Every year, many lower- and moderate-income Bostonians miss out on what could be a substantial benefit: the Earned Income Tax Credit.
A summit last week highlighted Governor Deval Patrick’s record of criminal justice reforms and provided a forum for conversations on best practices for prisoner re-entry and the use of data to support and sustain reforms.
Logan airport service workers along with service union representatives and other supporters rallied Dec. 17 to protest continuing hazardous and unsanitary working conditions for employees of ReadyJet, a cleaning contractor used locally by several airlines.
When the long-dormant former Ferdinand’s furniture store reawakens as the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building next month, Dudley Square will have a gleaming new centerpiece. Set in motion in 2011 by former Mayor Thomas Menino, the redevelopment promises to grace Boston’s geographic center with a sophisticated exterior that knits together historic and contemporary architecture, an airy modern interior and a sixth-floor community space and roof deck with sweeping city views available to Boston School Department employees, visitors and the public.
Thirty-six Boston high school students are starting on a seven-year path through high school and college and into teaching careers, thanks to a new Boston Public Schools program aimed at developing a more diverse next generation of teachers.
Mayor Martin Walsh welcomed some 500 community members to a My Brother’s Keeper summit in Roxbury last Saturday. A diverse group of community stakeholders that included local residents, clergy, educators, police and business and nonprofit leaders — as well as a good number of teens — gathered at the James P. Timilty Middle School to help shape the local MBK initiative that aims to improve the opportunities and outcomes for Boston’s boys and men of color.
Roxbury residents were vociferous in their opposition to the city’s proposal to site addiction recovery services displaced from Long Island at the former Radius Specialty Hospital on Townsend Street.
A report released this week, “The Silent Crisis: Including Latinos and Why It Matters,” shows that while Latinos make up 17.5 percent of Boston’s population, they hold only 7.5 percent of cabinet, senior staff or chief positions and only 7.1 percent of board and commission seats in city government.
Governor Deval Patrick has signed an Executive Order on Environmental Justice that enhances environmental protections and benefits for communities of color and low-income or limited-English-proficiency communities, groups that bear a disproportionate burden of environmental pollution and toxins.
Roxbury seniors shared their stories as part of the Roxbury Elder Storytelling Project.
City Council members reacted indignantly last week to Mayor Martin Walsh’s veto of a proposed new Commission on the Status of Black Men and Boys in Boston that District 7 Councilor Tito Jackson had been championing for the past 10 months.
Following last week’s release of a Boston Public Schools report revealing deep disparities in outcomes for black and Latino males in the Boston schools, community members raised questions and voiced a mixture of emotions and thoughts from dismay and anger to suggestions and passionate hope for change.
Nonprofit leaders discussed the challenges unique to women in girls during a forum presented by Simmons College and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts.
The school department released a report this week outlining the challenges black and Latino students face in the city’s education system
As the ranks of older adults are expected to swell nationwide in the coming decades as the large Baby Boomer generation reaches their 60s and 70s, more and more elders are at risk of being swindled by unscrupulous caregivers and scam artists.
An innovative gang-intervention program opened an office in Roxbury last week.
A gubernatorial candidate forum hosted by Northeastern University and El Mundo Media last week elicited lively exchanges on immigration reform, increasing access to education and creating a Latino-inclusive administration.
With ninety percent of housing units in Boston were built before lead paint was banned, lead is a pervasive danger in the city, yet many landlords and renters do not fully understand the laws around lead paint removal.
Mayor Martin Walsh has announced the opening of the Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment in Dudley Square as part of a new initiative to address income inequality and poverty in Boston.
A coalition of labor activists secured an agreement from the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee to push for higher minority participation and higher wages on any new construction on public land in Roxbury.
Owners of City Realty defended their firm against allegations of doubling rents and forcing out tenants in properties they have acquired during a City Council hearing Monday.
The City of Boston’s Jobs and Community Services (JCS) Office recently awarded over $1 million to 19 community-based employment and workforce development programs.
The Walsh administration unveiled a sweeping new plan to meet Boston’s growing housing needs.
Bloggers Spectra Asala, of Spectra Speaks (spectraspeaks.com), Jay Smooth of Ill Doctrine (illdoctrine.com) and Andrew Ti of Yo, Is this Racist?, spoke about anti-racism blogging during a panel discussion hosted by the Ford Hall Forum.