On March 19, BBH’s Gen2Gen program hosted a conversation with Janne Flisrand, co-founder of Neighbors for More Neighbors, a Minneapolis advocacy group that helped the city’s historic 2040 Plan become reality.
This dynamic conversation included Janne’s explanation of the systemically racist policies that contributed to historic exclusionary zoning practices and how the resulting segregation and issues in her own community inspired her to get involved. Minneapolis’ groundbreaking 2040 Plan directly addresses not only Minneapolis’ current housing crisis, but the land use policies that contributed to it. By allowing three-family homes in all residential neighborhoods, abolishing parking minimums to encourage more transit and bike use, and encouraging high-density buildings along transit corridors, through new zoning, Minneapolis hopes to enhance its city center by making the community more accessible to diverse populations. Said Janne, “When we talk about ‘protecting’ something, we’re really talking about intentionally keeping people out. We need inclusive communities and that means fighting exclusionary policies. Being welcoming is about more than being open, it’s about inviting people in.”
Gen2Gen will continue to explore cutting edge policy making in their continuing series, ‘Beyond Subsidized Housing: Big Ideas To Solve Boston’s Big Housing Crisis.’ We’ll be announcing the next date and venue soon!
Meet Our Residents: The Faces of Affordable Housing
Fifty years ago, Anna made her way from Hong Kong to the United States and settled in Quincy with her husband. After weathering the storm of a divorce, she found herself on her own for the first time in her life, and moved into an apartment in the South End. She felt alone; the stairs in her building took a toll on her, she didn’t feel safe walking in the dark after parking far away; and it was challenging to make friends.
Moving to BBH’s Covenant House Communities in Brighton changed everything for Anna. At Covenant House she is part of the flourishing Chinese community that is among the many nationalities represented in this diverse and inclusive development. Anna can regularly be found chatting with fellow residents at coffee hours, setting up Chinese movie nights, or shopping with her friends. She loves that the staff – including two who are fluent in Mandarin – organize so many events, including important cultural customs, like the annual Moon Festival – “it’s my one of my favorite celebrations!” says Anna.
With warmer weather on our horizon, Anna is looking forward to doing more gardening this spring – making the most of Covenant House’s rooftop garden space. “I miss being able to garden, it was something I couldn’t do at my last apartment. I’m excited to be able to do something I love that makes me and other people happy.”
Nonprofit organizations know that our longtime relationships with our trusted funders can make all the difference in our ability to serve our mission. BBH is so grateful to one of our most steadfast funders, the Charles H. Farnsworth Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee (Farnsworth Trust). The Farnsworth Trust provided $150,000 in funding for Phase 2 of The Coolidge at Sudbury, and, now, we are pleased to announce that they have committed their support for the Senior Residences at the Machon in Swampscott.
Established in 1930, the Farnsworth Trust serves to assist older adults in living with dignity and independence. Mr. Farnsworth philanthropic intentions and BBH’s service-enriched housing model share a common goal of enabling seniors to remain in their communities with the support they need to thrive.
A huge thank you to the Farnsworth Trust and all of our partners who support BBH and our developments throughout eastern Massachusetts. With your help we will continue to honor Mr. Farnsworth’s legacy by advocating to improve the quality and quantity of affordable housing and support services for older adults throughout the region.
BBH Senior Project Manager Speaks with Harvard Hillel
Last month, BBH’s own Jesse Kanson-Benavav joined Cambridge Mayor, Marc McGovern, at Harvard Hillel to discuss different facets of housing policy and how to create a more affordable, inclusive, and open community.
The discussion included a brief overview of housing development in our region, the events that have led to the current housing crisis – including the history of systemically racist zoning policies like red-lining – and the current proposed Affordable Housing Overlay designed to mitigate the crisis in Cambridge. Both Jesse and Mayor McGovern aimed to educate the audience about how decisions get made at the local level and how students and all residents can make a difference.
Hellos and Goodbyes at Covenant House Communities!
We are excited to welcome Julie Kong as the new Resident Service Coordinator at the Covenant House Communities. A licensed social worker with a specialty in geriatric social work and affordable housing, Julie worked for a number of years as a Resident Service Coordinator with the Schochet Companies. At Covenant House, she will be helping residents access resources and support them so they are able to thrive. As Julie says, “It’s easy to see Covenant House is a special place as many long time residents are so happy to be here. The residents and staff have been very welcoming to me. I look forward to getting to know the community more.”
This past month we also bid a bittersweet farewell to Covenant House’s beloved receptionist Galina Voronov, who retired after nearly a decade of service. Galina could coax a smile out of anyone and was always available to help with Russian translation. She regularly attended community functions with residents, many of whom became her good friends. Staff and residents of BBH and Covenant House celebrated Galina’s nine years of dedicated service with a party and cake with many attendees taking turns at the microphone to express their gratitude. Galina will be greatly missed. We wish her a wonderful retirement and hope she returns for a visit soon!
We’re Always on the Lookout for New Opportunities!
BBH is always on the lookout for new housing sites as well as opportunities to acquire and rehabilitate existing housing – please keep us in mind! We have a successful track record working locally to invest in affordable housing resources to expand and serve specific housing needs. We have used a diverse set of local and state tools to advance housing production; we are a Chapter 40T designee; and we are excited about expanding our role in safeguarding precious community-based housing resources.
The need for quality, affordable housing is ever growing. Give us a call to learn more about our areas of expertise and how working with BBH can help your nonprofit or for-profit organization.