Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Housing Corp Celebrates New Project and Arlington Champion

On Thursday, November 4, at the Housing Corporation of Arlington’s Annual Meeting, over eighty HCA supporters came out to local East Arlington eatery, Flora Restaurant, for a scrumptious breakfast to celebrate the beginning of a new project and to salute a longtime Arlington ally.

To start off the festivities, HCA announced a major $9 million project to benefit low-income residents. Housing Corporation of Arlington (HCA) has purchased three early 20th century apartment buildings on adjacent parcels just a few blocks from where the meeting was taking place in East Arlington. As part of the newly named initiative, Capitol Square Apartments will include significant renovations to all 32 existing apartments, common areas and exteriors, and units will be made affordable in perpetuity serving low-income households.

The Capitol Square Apartments Project, located at 252, 258-260 Massachusetts Avenue, will restore these historic structures through a certified preservation project utilizing both federal and state historic tax credits. According to Richard Duffy, Co-Chair of the Arlington Historical Commission, Edward and Mary Houlian built the three apartment buildings on a portion of the former John P. Squire estate, which had been subdivided and sold as smaller lots. The first apartment building was built in 1912 (#252) and the other two (#258 & 260) followed soon after.

The apartments represent the transition to increasingly dense development of this section of Arlington. This was in part spurred by the trolley car line that shortened commuting times into and out of Boston and Cambridge. The Holian Apartments are the oldest examples of a multifamily housing type that would come to predominate on Massachusetts Avenue in East Arlington over the course of the twentieth century. The opening of the subway at Harvard Square in 1912, with prospects of extending the rapid transit line already under discussion (but not realized until 1985)' was the likely catalyst for a project such as the Holian Apartments.

Green building techniques will also be employed in the renovation to create and allow for a more efficient building envelope and utility systems, water conservation measures, Energy Star appliances, the use of drought resident vegetation and more. Following renovations, the buildings will offer a mix of apartment sizes including studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, retaining 32 units overall.

HCA’s Executive Director David Levy recalled, “I recently went and pulled out HCA’s Strategic Plan for the period 2007-2012. Our first goal was to double HCA’s affordable apartments by 2012 from 46 to 100 units—we’re almost there!”

Laura Wiener, HCA co-founder and Arlington’s Director of Housing, presented HCA’s 2010 Deacon Frank Mandosa Community Service Award to Leon Cantor for his dedication and service to the Town of Arlington and spoke about his 36 year tenure in Arlington. Leon began as a social worker at the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare and for over three decades continued to serve low-income residents as an advocate, social worker and counselor. He acted as the Director of the Arlington Youth Consultation Center and was on the review committee for HCA’s Homelessness Prevention Fund, assisting residents with housing issues. Though Leon officially retired last June, he continues to serve the community by gathering up produce at the end of the Farmers Market each Wednesday and deliver it to low-income residents. “To me,” Laura expressed, “That is an act of love.”

Leon spoke lovingly about the Town of Arlington and the people with whom he worked. He also shared, “It has been great to be a partner of the Housing Corporation, and watch them work diligently one project and one person at a time to make people’s lives better.”

Paul Parravano, HCA Board President, ended the morning’s presentation by asking participants for their support, “HCA cannot do its work in a vacuum. It’s important for us to know that you’re there to inspire us and keep us moving towards our goals.”

Monday, November 8, 2010

The House We Live In

Please consider joining HCA for The House We Live In on Friday, November 12!

On Friday evening, November 12, the Diversity/Inclusion Group at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington is hosting a showing of the provocative, hour-long documentary The House We Live In, a film which examines the roots of housing discrimination in the US and the implications of the unequal housing practices of the past for today's issues and challenges. There will be a guided discussion following the film, and refreshments will be served. This program is free and open to the community.

To explore the history and human face of housing discrimination in the United States, the First Parish Diversity/Inclusion Group (D/I G) will screen a PBS documentary film titled The House We Live In. There will be time for discussion after the film.

This program is sponsored by the Diversity and Inclusion Group of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Housing Corporation of Arlington (HCA), Arlington's Diversity Task Group, and the Arlington Human Rights Commission.

Friday Evening, November 12, 7 - 8:30 PM

Parlor of First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington

630 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02476

Friday, November 5, 2010

Help HCA Prevent Homelessness in Arlington!

In the next few weeks, Hosunig Corp of Arlington will be sending letters out to the entire Arlington community to fundraise for HCA’s Homelessness Prevention Fund. This fund provides grants to Arlington residents experiencing an emergency housing crisis that may lead to homelessness. This year to date we helped over 35 households.

To put this mailing together, we need your help to stuff, seal and send these envelopes!

We will be working from 9 AM-5 PM from Monday, November 8th to Thursday, November 18th, Monday to Friday. We WILL be working Veteran's Day!

Please let us know what times you can come by and help out at our HCA offices! Contact Joanna at 781-316-3606 or

Thursday, October 14, 2010

2010 Annual Meeting!

Please join HCA for our 2010 Annual Meeting!

Find out more about HCA's newest project in East Arlington!

The 2010 Deacon Frank Mandosa Community Service Award will be presented to Leon Cantor for his dedication and service to the Town of Arlington.

Flora Restaurant
Thursday, November 4
Registration: 7:30 AM
Program: 8:15 AM
Breakfast will be served.
Please RSVP to Jennifer Lewis-Forbes at
781-316-3451 or by October 22

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vote NO on 2!

This November, Massachusetts voters will choose whether or not to keep the law supplying Massachusetts’ best tool to develop affordable housing. Question 2 will decide if the state law Chapter 40B, otherwise known as the Affordable Housing Law, will be repealed.

Over the last decade, this law has been responsible for approximately 80% of the affordable homes built outside of the Commonwealth’s major cities. The law has enabled builders to create 58,000 new homes in cities, suburbs, and small towns. A repeal of the law would halt the construction of 12,000 homes in the pipeline, and all of the jobs and economic benefits they would bring.

The Affordable Housing Law sets a goal for every city and town to require at least 10% of its homes to be affordable. It encourages construction of new homes by providing a comprehensive permit and flexible zoning for developers who build affordable homes. The number of cities and towns above the 10% threshold more than doubled from 24 in 1997 to 51 today, with an additional 40 communities above 8%.

The Affordable Housing Law creates homes, greater equity among communities, and opportunities for working families. Residents in these homes work in health care, education, construction, financial services, retail, human services, and in other occupations critical to our state’s workforce. Home prices and rents remain out of reach for many and, because of the recession, many families are struggling to get by. Massachusetts needs the Affordable Housing Law today more than ever. Please VOTE NO on Question 2.

Learn more at "Affordable Housing and the Ballot Question," Rep Kaufman's October 14th Open House at 7:30 PM at the Historic Depot in Lexington!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thank You to our Spring Clean Up Crew!

Thank you to the 25 plus volunteers who came out to clean up four

HCA properties for the spring!

Interested in other volunteer opportunities with HCA? Email Joanna at

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

HCA Spring Clean Up!

Join HCA on Saturday, May 22, 2010 as we clean up some of our two-families in Arlington. We will be raking, weeding and beautifying the properties for the summer.

This is a great project for the whole family!
Please note: If the participant is under 18, they must have a responsible adult with them.

We will have coffee and doughnuts at 8:30 AM and break for lunch at noon.

Please contact Joanna at 781-316-3606 or to
RSVP and for more details.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thank You, Arlington Community!

On April 11th, over 150 friends and neighbors came together and joined HCA for our 9th Annual Walk for Affordable Housing. Supported by dozens of local businesses, congregations and community groups, this year’s Walk was one of HCA's most successful events to date.

Not only did we raise awareness throughout Arlington about the need for more affordable housing in our community, but we raised over $42,000 to for HCA’s affordable housing and homelessness prevention initiatives.

Thank you, Arlington community, for your interest, involvement and support!

Monday, March 8, 2010

9th Annual Walk for Affordable Housing!

Join HCA friends and supporters for our Walk for Affordable Housing!
Sunday, April 11th; 1-3 PM
A Family Friendly, Three Mile Walk Through Arlington
Starting at the Jason Russell House--Corner of Mass Ave and Jason Street

Featuring the Hot Tamales Brass Band, Molly the Clown and THE CHICKEN!
Free Food & Prizes!

For more walk info, please contact HCA at 781-316-3451 or

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

HCA's New Program

Exciting news--here is HCA's press release about our new program:



Arlington, MA – (February 8, 2010) – The Town of Arlington has selected Housing Corporation of Arlington (HCA), a non-profit organization working to prevent homelessness and provide more affordable housing, as the lead agency for Arlington’s Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). This new federal initiative is aimed at assisting very low-income households for up to eighteen months. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, $1.5 billion will be distributed to 400 communities across the country for homelessness prevention services. Starting in January, HCA began assisting Arlington residents struggling to stay in their housing.

Like the rest of the country, Arlington residents have fallen on hard times. Many have lost their jobs, and for some, unemployment has run out. Those who were self-employed—consultants, small business owners, and others—are struggling to find work and have no safety net. Families and individuals are left to look for other ways to make ends meet: doubling up with relatives, reluctantly using credit cards and leaving bills unpaid.

HCA has experienced a steep rise in the number of Arlington residents seeking assistance. In the last six months of 2009, those requesting help from HCA increased by 70% over the previous year. A month before HCA’s annual HPF appeal went out to the Arlington community, HCA had virtually run out of funds to help Arlington residents stabilize their housing situation. Although the small HPF grants given to families and individuals in danger of becoming homeless are helpful to many, it was clear that the demand for assistance was outpacing the resources that HCA could provide.

Arlington’s HPRP provides short- and medium-term assistance and services to families and individuals who are homeless or in danger of homelessness due to circumstances arising out of the downtown in the US economy. Unlike HCA’s original Homelessness Prevention Fund (HPF), which only gives short-term grants for housing assistance, the HPRP will help very low-income households with rent assistance and other housing-related services for up to eighteen months.

HCA Executive Director, David J. Levy, is pleased to take on this new challenge, “Not only does this program save taxpayers from paying towards the shelter system, but it helps families and individuals to remain in their homes or find stable housing. This perfectly aligns with HCA’s mission.”