Symphony Plaza Elder Housing to Stay Affordable

July 17, 2019

BOSTON–Symphony Plaza, an affordable housing community for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities, will remain affordable permanently. A celebration for the completed rehabilitation took place recently at The New England Conservatory.

Boston City Councilor for District 7 Kim Janey said, “We’ve got to make sure working families, seniors and people with disabilities have a place to stay. We need to make sure residents can stay.”

Symphony Plaza is comprised of Symphony Tower East and Tower West on Massachusetts Avenue, with 403 units across from Boston’s Symphony Hall. Acquired by Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) in 2001, the property was refinanced with public and private funders to preserve the towers as affordable housing long-term.

More than half of the Symphony Plaza residents are Asian. Resident Ji Caixia prayed in Mandarin, “May our elders live in love and joy. Bless our homes and bless America.”

RHF president and CEO Laverne Joseph said, “Our priority is to serve those who need housing. … I get calls from realtors to sell our inventory, and I thank them for the laugh.”

Boston’s population is growing, with an emphasis on building housing and increasing its inventory of 5,400 affordable units, said Boston chief of housing and director of neighborhood development Sheila Dillon. “You have a glorious home in Fenway,” she said.

The $16 rehabilitation combined tax-exempt bond financing from MassHousing, 4 percent low income housing tax credits, a bridge loan funded by Wells Fargo, support from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, permanent debt placed by Rockport Mortgage, and a loan from RHF.

Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) was founded in 1961 by two clergy and a layperson in the United Church of Christ. What began with a $7,000 grant has turned into one of the nation’s largest non-profit organizations that provides housing and services for more than 22,500 older adults, low-income families and persons with disabilities. RHF has 197 communities in 29 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands. Of those communities, 79 are in California and 58 are in Southern California.

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