A housing dream come true

first_imgIt’s been a decade since the launch of Harvard’s 20/20/2000 initiative, the University’s 20-year, $20 million, low-interest loan program to help create low- and middle-income housing in Boston and Cambridge.A ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday (Oct. 30) marked another success story, this one at the Doña Betsaida Gutiérrez Cooperative on the Blessed Sacrament campus in Jamaica Plain. There were 1,600 applicants for the 36 units available; 14 families have already moved in.“This is fulfilling a dream that a lot of folks had for many years,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, one of the speakers at the event. “If you listen to some folks out there today, they don’t understand what affordable housing, workforce housing is all about. … It is so desperately needed.”The Blessed Sacrament campus has been one of the largest Boston recipients of 20/20/2000 funding, which has so far helped build 4,350 affordable units in 120 projects in the two cities, or one-sixth of the total affordable units built or renovated since the program’s start in 2000. The projects have included affordable apartments, first-time homebuyer condominiums, homeless shelters, cooperative housing, assisted living for low-income seniors, and live/work space for artists.The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp. (JPNDC) and development partner New Atlantic Development Corp. have received a total of $1.3 million in 20/20/2000 loans through both Boston Community Capital and the Local Initiatives Support Corp. to support site acquisition and construction financing for phase 1 of the Blessed Sacrament project.Menino praised the development as “a real team effort all the way.” He acknowledged Harvard’s support and said, “Quality, affordable housing means so much to families across the city, and the 20/20/2000 program demonstrates the value of the creative and productive partnerships that enable such progress.”The Blessed Sacrament’s phase 2 of the development, which meets LEED Gold energy standards, is named after Puerto Rico native Betsaida Gutiérrez, a longtime Blessed Sacrament parishioner who has lived in Jamaica Plain since 1972. Gutiérrez — “She’s small, but she’s a ball of fire!” said state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez in introducing her — rallied former parishioners and neighbors to ensure that their former church would be redeveloped in a way that benefited the community.A tour of the units revealed sunny spaces painted in crisp, serene wall colors, cushy wall-to-wall carpet in the bedrooms, and open-plan kitchens with islands for breakfast seating. When the project is completed, it will also contain retail space that is expected to bring 20 or 30 jobs to the neighborhood.But that isn’t what the residents were thinking about during Saturday’s ceremony. Rosaria Pena, whose remarks in Spanish were conveyed by a translator, said Betsaida was “part of her family now,” adding that her affordable rent will help her to put her son through college “and build his future too.”And Ethiopian immigrant couple, Teklu Tessema, a taxi driver, and Tsigie Gebretsadik, a cashier, did not speak at the ceremony, but as it finished, both were wiping tears from their eyes. “We are still excited, and it’s been almost a year,” said Tessema of the two-bedroom condo they got as first-time buyers. “We are so happy,” added his wife.“We need more affordable housing,” said Julia Martin, who lent her name to a JPNDC senior community nearby that was built in 2006. “We need more like this is Jamaica Plain. The first day, there were 500 people looking for an apartment — the first day alone, and it was pouring rain, and they stood there in that rain. That’s how important affordable housing is.”Speaking at the event, Harvard’s executive vice president Katie Lapp congratulated the JPNDC and its partners for contributing to the vibrancy of Hyde Square.“We take great pride in helping make dreams come true for so many families who deserve the respect and comfort that good housing provides,” said Lapp.Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino addresses the crowd at the grand opening of the Doña Betsaida Gutiérrez Cooperative. The Blessed Sacrament campus has been one of the largest Boston recipients of 20/20/2000 funding, which has so far helped build 4,350 affordable units in 120 projects in Boston and Cambridge.last_img read more

Government pays $3.76b for land in 77 strategic projects

first_img“The projects’ development over the next five years is expected to involve a total of 19 million [workers],” Airlangga said.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has raised concerns over land acquisition for strategic national projects and has asked ministers to solve the problems quickly.“I have received reports that the biggest obstacle [in strategic national projects] is land acquisition,” Jokowi said on May 29. He asked ministers to accelerate the projects to speed up the nation’s economic recovery.Jokowi ordered the acceleration of programs that could fuel the economy, such as the land certification program, the transmigration land legalization program and the social forestry program. “I would like to ensure that these programs continue as planned,” he said.Topics : The agency, which is responsible for the reimbursement of state-owned companies for land acquired in strategic national projects, has paid Rp 22.24 trillion to toll road operator PT Jasa Marga, Rp 11.88 trillion to construction company PT Waskita Karya and Rp 6.35 trillion to construction firm PT Hutama Karya.Basuki said the agency had procured land worth a total of Rp 4.38 trillion from March 16 to June 24 – during the coronavirus pandemic. He said the agency would continue to reimburse funds to help companies endure depressed toll road traffic.The government has said it will continue the development of strategic national projects during the COVID-19 health crisis with the addition of 89 projects with an estimated investment value of Rp 1.42 quadrillion.Coordinating Economic Affairs Minister Airlangga Hartarto said recently that the new projects were an addition to the existing 223 strategic national projects and were expected to employ about 4 million additional workers each year from 2020 to 2024. The Finance Ministry’s State Asset Management Agency (LMAN) has reimbursed Rp 53.3 trillion (US$3.76 billion) owed to state-owned companies for land acquisition in 77 strategic national projects, including toll roads and irrigation systems, as of June 24.The agency paid Rp 47.7 trillion for land acquisition in 40 toll road projects, Rp 3.5 trillion for 25 dam projects, Rp 1.3 trillion for seven railway projects and Rp 539 billion for a port project, LMAN president director Basuki Purwadi said on Friday.“The government’s commitment to build infrastructure will continue as it does not only boost economic growth but also creates jobs and connects regions,” Basuki told reporters in an online press briefing, adding that the government was hoping to improve the reimbursement process.last_img read more