More than one-third of Boston Housing Authority’s federal public housing portfolio (over 3,600 apartments) is designated to serve households headed by elderly or non-elderly-disabled individuals. BHA’s elderly/disabled communities were generally built in the 1960s and 1970s, and at 50-years and older in age, the properties are in need of modernization.

BHA has embarked on a program to renovate and refresh its elderly/disabled portfolio, to preserve and enhance these communities for current and future residents, to serve generations of Bostonians as permanently affordable, supportive housing—and we have named the initiative “Generations.”
Beginning in 2020, and continuing each year since, the City of Boston has committed City capital funding to support BHA Generations—a total commitment to date of $30 million.

This unprecedented City commitment will leverage over $200 million in additional resources so that BHA can carry out much needed renovation work at its 38 Elderly/Disabled communities across the city.

In order to maximize the financial resources for Generations, BHA intends to convert the traditional public housing subsidy that currently supports these sites to Section 8 subsidy instead. Residents will continue to pay rent calculated at 30% of their household income; but with Section 8 the federal government contributes a much higher subsidy to pay property expenses than under public housing.

Just as resident rent will remain the same, the BHA is committed to preserving all of the other rights and protections that public housing residents enjoy. For example, BHA policies around tenant participation, grievance and appeals will remain unchanged. In addition, with the upcoming subsidy conversions, BHA will remain as owner and manager of the communities.

The enhanced federal subsidies under Section 8 will permit an expanded program of resident services at BHA’s Elderly/Disabled communities; and in terms of physical renovations, Generations is making possible:
  • Upgrade plumbing, heating, electrical, fire protection and life-safety systems
  • Improve energy efficiency and reduce utility costs
  • Improve accessibility for disabled residents and visitors
  • Renovate common areas: lobbies, mailrooms, and laundry rooms
  • Renovate apartments: kitchens and baths (as needed, over time)
  • New flooring, paint and finishes throughout
BHA’s overarching goals for Generations include full electrification—eliminating fossil fuels and shifting to renewable sources of energy; provision of both heating and cooling for enhanced resident comfort; implementation of universal design principles so that residents can comfortably and safely age in place in their homes; and full accessibility in common areas like entrance lobbies, laundry rooms, and community gathering spaces. 

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