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Elderly benefit from Dudley Revitalization

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Elderly benefit from Dudley Revitalization
(Photo: Central Boston Elder Services)

From her office in the 2300 block of Washington Street, Catherine Hardaway, executive director of Central Boston Elder Services (CBES), watches the construction of the nonprofit’s latest project.

CBES broke ground last October on the Dudley Square Elderly Housing Development, and right before Christmas, completed laying the foundation.  

The project is an achievement for CBES because it is not only playing a part in revitalizing Dudley Square, but it also marks the first time in CBES’ nearly 40 year history that it will own the facility that cares for its community.

To mark the occasion, U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), was on hand and noted the great impact the project would have on the community. “This facility,” he said, “will provide good housing for our most vulnerable seniors and jobs for construction workers who need a paycheck.”

The housing development will have 57 units and a common area to meet the needs of elders, 62 years or older. Twelve of the units will serve the needs of homeless elders and 21 will be designated for low-income. Included in the common area will be a laundry area, lobby and lounge which will double as a recreational area for residents to participate in wellness and exercise programs and receive meals on wheels.

The project is funded through government tax credits and contributing funds from local and state-wide agencies, who work with public and private lenders, including, Hardaway explained, a company owned by billionaire Warren Buffet.

As a contingency of accepting the funding, CBES must ensure that the project meets certain environmental standards.

“We are concerned about the environment,” said Hardaway, which is why they decided to go beyond the required Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) eligibility standards and take the steps toward full LEED certification. By building “green,” CBES is hoping to be an example to the community.

State Rep. Gloria Fox also attended the groundbreaking and praised CBES.

“Central Boston Elder Services has taken the lead in providing services to our elders in the Greater Boston area,” Fox said at the time. “As that population continues to grow, CBES has once again made a further commitment by providing safe and affordable housing to our elders.”

CBES officials also said they hoped to inspire the community by using a diversified workforce on the project. On site is a mix of minority and elderly workers, including one retired construction worker in his 70s that was looking for a way to get back into the workforce.

“We are connecting the generations,” Hardaway said. “We are committed to having seniors and [potential] residents involved.”

She said she was pleased to see young and old community members working side-by-side, pouring concrete in the cold. Hardaway expects the project will finish on-time for an early-fall opening next August or September.