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Mattapan apts. reopen, boost Hub housing stock

Melony Swasey

Anderson was not a tenant at that time. But when she visited the complex to see friends who lived there, she said, she couldn’t park without someone tampering with her car.

And that wasn’t all.

Anderson and Francois recounted instances of “walls falling down,” “mice partying in the kitchen,” constant gang activity and non-resident drunkards sleeping in the hallways. The problems persisted, in Anderson’s view, because some of the property’s former owners were “more concerned with lining their pockets” with rent collections than cleaning things up or investing in the complex.

Then came the 2004 change in ownership, and a commitment to “rehabilitating” Adams Court’s five buildings with an eye toward securing Section 8 affordable housing status for all units.

According to the MCDC’s DeShields, the redevelopment’s success is due in part to the fact that the buildings needed only renovation, rather than significant demolition or rebuilding.

“We took an existing complex and made the necessary upgrades,” said DeShields.

With those upgrades in place, Anderson said, Adams Court is “bright and livable and makes you want to come home.”

Of course, it’s hard to please everyone. While many tenants praised the property’s managers for its cleanliness and their quick responses to maintenance calls, another mother of two who declined to give her name lamented the lack of closet space in her two-bedroom apartment, as well as rules prohibiting tenants from using their small balconies for storage.

But young professional Washington, who has lived in parts of Roxbury and Dorchester, said he considers what he now pays for rent “worth it,” especially given the T-accessible River Street location. He said he and his girlfriend Brooks feel “fortunate” to use the complex’s current affordability as a “steppingstone” for buying a home.

For her part, longtime area resident Anderson praised Nuestra Comunidad for the way “their heart is truly in this,” notably that they “encourage tenants to be vocal about their concerns,” coordinate recreational activities and connect tenants to a range of employment and health resources.

They’ve even gone the extra mile: After a recent surgery, Anderson said, the organization phoned her and sent a maintenance worker to see how she was doing.

“It’s not about the rent,” said Anderson. “They have a genuine concern for the community.”