Veronica Araujo

This story is part of a collection of stories under the series Voices of Acadia. Each story highlights the residents in one of Acadia’s units and how they came to call it home. To read more stories in this series, click here.

IMG_1367.JPG

“The building we used to live in went up for sale with all the tenants included. The new buyer increased our rent by about $300 a month. Then the building switched owners again and the same thing happened. It became too expensive to live there. One of our neighbors approached us trying to unite all the tenants to go to court, but I don’t like doing things like that so we decided it would be best to move, especially because we were already having some other problems living there.” 

“We began looking for new places, but found it was going to be too expensive to move once we factored in security deposits and having to pay months of rent up front - one landlord wanted to charge us four months of rent up front. We didn’t know what we were going to do. We had never heard of affordable housing until our son’s therapist told us about it. I knew about TND – I had been there to get help with SNAP benefits or a class I was looking for – but I didn’t know Winn was across the parking lot and that I could apply for housing there. I didn’t realize it at the time, but God was putting pieces in our puzzle together because at Winn they explained everything I needed to know about subsidized housing, the waitlist, etc. and they helped me apply.” 

IMG_1362.JPG

“When we applied for Acadia I was a little discouraged because there were so many people applying. There was a big lottery raffle event that happened at the elementary school, but I didn’t go because I didn’t think I was going to get it. Plus, if I got it, they would send me something in the mail letting me know I did.”  

“My husband opened the envelope that told us we won the lottery and I called to set up our pre-qualification meeting. We were very nervous to go to the meeting. During the time we were waiting to find out if we qualified, we would park outside of Acadia and look at it and wonder if it was really going to be ours. When we found out we did qualify, we were told the setup of how many bedrooms would be in our unit, but we never actually saw the unit until we moved in. It felt a little bit like online dating – we weren’t sure exactly what it was going to look like in person. We continued to stop by Acadia on our outings and try to guess what window would be ours, what side of the building we would live on… we never guessed correctly, but my husband had a feeling it would be on the front side of the building, which it is.” 

IMG_1376.JPG

“When we first moved in, my older son, Said, said ‘Wow Mom, I feel like I’m in a five star hotel’ and even now he feels like he’s in a five star hotel. Both of my sons have been very happy since we’ve moved. Our old apartment was small and used to have an exposed heater that restricted where and how much room our two-year-old, Jairo Jr., could play in. Since moving, Jairo Jr. has had so much more room to run around and play – he’s like Speedy Gonzalez now! At his age with autism he’s not supposed to know where he lives but he knows the elevator and where the apartment is. Living in Acadia has been very helpful for him to grow – he doesn’t speak but he’s been communicating more in different ways and has learned new skills.”

Berta Ramos

This story is part of a collection of stories under the series Voices of Acadia. Each story highlights the residents in one of Acadia’s units and how they came to call it home. To read more stories in this series, click here.

IMG_1309.JPG

“We used to live in a bedroom of an apartment on Marlborough Street. A fire started in the building and it ended up burning down. At that point my son Jeffrey was two years old and I was three months pregnant with my daughter Tiffany. We were looking for a place to stay when the Red Cross helped us. We stayed at St. Luke’s Church, the old YMCA in Chelsea, and the Boys and Girls Club where my husband, son, and I all slept in a small bed. With everything going on and being pregnant I didn’t think about the fact that in a few months we would become a family of four.”

IMG_1333.JPG

“We lived on Broadway for seven years. During that time, I had my third child, Erickson. Erickson and Jeffrey shared a bedroom and Tiffany shared a room with me and my husband.”

IMG_1315.JPG

“When we won the lottery I was so shocked and surprised. I always wanted my daughter to have her own room and Erikson never had enough space to play with his toys so I knew it would be best for us to move. I started making payments on furniture for Tiffany’s room, but didn’t tell her. We got the furniture a week after moving in and Tiffany was so surprised and happy.”

IMG_1330.JPG

“Everything has changed since moving into Acadia. My husband and I used to be really stressed out all the time because we were all practically living on top of each other. My husband and I now have our own room and my kids have their own spaces and room to play. My kitchen at Broadway could only fit two people and the bathroom was right next to it. If someone had to use the bathroom I’d have to move out of the kitchen. I can now fit so many more people in my kitchen in Acadia and continue my love for cooking.”

IMG_1323.JPG

“Things happen for a reason. The fire in the apartment on Marlborough Street brought us to Broadway which then brought us to where we are now in Acadia.”

Bonnie Guimond

This story is part of a collection of stories under the series Voices of Acadia. Each story highlights the residents in one of Acadia’s units and how they came to call it home. To read more stories in this series, click here.

IMG_1207.JPG

“When my kids were growing up I only used enough so that I wouldn’t get sick because I also had two jobs and was a VISTA. I always called myself an active addict because I worked, raised kids, and still did drugs. I wasn’t much of a mother – I was there physically but I wasn’t there mentally. I can say I made life hard because of the choices I made, but I felt I had no choices to make. I felt like drugs was the only choice I had if I wanted any kind of life – if I wanted any kids or something because I couldn’t let a man come near me or touch me unless I was high.” 

“I started doing drugs when I was 12 years old and didn’t stop until 15 years ago. I started off on pot in a hand carved pipe on the tracks behind quality bakery in east Boston and after a while it wasn’t enough for me. My favorite high was angel dust because you weren’t going any farther away from reality when you smoked that – you were as far as you were gonna get. It got you out of reality, away from reality, and that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to escape reality and to be somebody else than who I really was because I didn’t like who I was. I felt that I was damaged goods. I’ve come a long way though.” 

“My mother was my biggest enabler. Without her I either would be dead or I would have been clean. I wouldn’t have been on drugs as long but that would have meant I’d have to deal with the issues. My father had already passed away. If I ever needed a place to go or needed money, my mother always helped me. When I lost her I lost all of my backups. Once she died it was either I get clean or die. I think it was my mother’s death that made me get clean. When I went to sell her house, I said the last time I lock this door will be the last time I use drugs. Who knew that after one showing it was gonna sell. That was the last time I got high and it’ll be 15 years this month. My mother never saw me straight but she sees me now and when I die I’ll be straight and she’ll see me then.” 

IMG_1214.JPG

“I got to a point where I decided I’m tired of living on the street. I’m tired of living with other people. I’m tired of not having my own keys. I’m tired of not having my name on a mailbox.”  

“Then One Beach was being built and I decided to apply there because I just needed to get rid of the stairs where I was living on Webster Ave. I had 18 stairs to get to the front door and another 12 to get to my bedroom – that's 30 steps, I don’t know how many times a day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve landed on my head trying to go up and down those stairs - I have more scars and stitches and concussions than I know.” 

“It was either I get my own place or I’m gonna end up in the Shattuck because I could not live where I was with the stairs for another winter. How many times can I hit my head before it’s gonna be too late or something really bad is gonna happen?”  

“When they started building Acadia, my application was in, but I made sure I’d go to the office and check in with the progress because I needed this apartment.” 

IMG_1212.JPG

“You know what it’s like to have your own set of keys to your house? If you’ve never had a set of keys you’d know what it feels like to have your name on a mailbox with your own set of keys to a house you can call your own. Even bills look good! They have your name on them – that means it’s your apartment. I didn’t have that for a long time. I haven’t had that since my kids were young. It’s a good feeling. And it’s a good feeling to live alone because I can do things on my time. I don’t have to walk on egg shells and I can still be the super clean person I am and there’s no one to tell me to stop cleaning all the time or ‘where’d you put this or where did you put that?’ I can tell you where everything in my cupboards are. Now I can live the way I want to.”

IMG_1218.JPG

“I thank God every morning. First for my feet hitting the floor. Then for where I am now and where I use to be. I will not do drugs ever again and I will not be associated with anyone who has drugs. Because this place is pretty nice and I don’t want to lose it.”

VITA volunteers help pull people out of poverty

Did you know you can help alleviate the sting of poverty in the lives of hundreds of working families? Many of the people that we serve face a number of challenges- from having limited English proficiency, not being able to afford tax preparation, to simply finding tax filing overwhelming. 

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteers work together to aid low-income households file their taxes free of charge- helping filers save an average of $176 in unnecessary filing fees (meaning the taxpayer gets to keep all of their refund). Volunteers also help to maximize refunds by ensuring taxpayers claim the Earned Income Tax credit (up to $6,431 per household), and other beneficial tax credits.  Last year, volunteers at TND helped bring over $600,000 in tax refunds to the community. You can do the same! Volunteer and help people claim these important tax credits! Your work will empower others to care for their families and withstand unexpected economic changes that help reduce poverty - and you can do this all while boosting your resume!

There are many ways you can help. In addition to tax preparers, we also need greeters, people scheduling appointments and answering the phone. Each role is vital, and we'll train you. 

If you're you interested in tax preparation but worried about learning tax law or making a mistake on someone's taxes, relax, we've got you. VITA volunteers are protected under the volunteer protection act. You'll attend a training on tax law and learn to use the tax software. In the first couple of weeks, we'll pair you with an experienced volunteer, and after you finish each return, someone will thoroughly check all of your work. There will also always be a site coordinator and other experienced volunteers to help answer any questions you may have. 

Whichever role you choose,  we will help you with what you will need to fulfill that role, or we can help you find the one that's right for you. If you’re interested in being a part of a group of people using their skills to lend a hand to others, click here.  

Dozens of volunteers come together to spruce up Costa Park

Costa Park in the Shirley Avenue neighborhood is shining a little brighter after a revitalization project that added murals, fixed up the playground and planted new greenery around the much-loved community space. The project, co-sponsored by Republic Services, the City of Revere and The Neighborhood Developers, drew dozens of volunteers who live and work in Revere to the park on Saturday, June 8.

Republic Services General Manager Kurt Lavery was joined by company employees and family members who helped in the days leading up to the project day as well as on the day itself. “This is a special day for Republic Services, for The Neighborhood Developers and for all of our community partners,” Lavery said. “We are proud to join you in this rebuilding day project to achieve a safe, clean and welcoming Costa Park.”

The park is one of the busiest in Revere with hundreds of children and adults using the playground each week. Due to its heavy use, the city park needed some TLC to keep it in tip top condition. The playground’s rubber surfacing was worn away in many places, some playground and park equipment was broken, and the park’s murals and art installations no longer shined.

A planning committee composed of neighborhood children and adults had been working since late winter to plan the park improvements. Kyla Alterman, a community organizer for The Neighborhood Developers, worked with residents. “Each improvement that you see in the park was the result of engaged children and adults who showed up at design meetings. They helped select our new ball hoops, balance beam, and accessibility swing,” Alterman said. “We painted a hopscotch on the ground after dozens of children drew pictures of one as an element they wanted to see most in the park. Community members also selected the painted butterflies that will be installed on the park’s fence, came up with the idea to collect plastic caps to make murals, and to paint a welcome mural at the entrance of the park.”

During the event, a shiny new Republic Services truck was positioned just outside the park’s entrance. The company, which has a local division in Revere, is one of the nation’s largest trash and recycling haulers with 14 million customers. In his remarks, Lavery, the general manager, said, “This past year, our Foundation launched a substantial company-wide charitable giving program we call the National Neighborhood Promise. And, through this program with partners like The Neighborhood Developers, Republic is committed to helping rebuild, revitalize and restore neighborhoods just like here in Costa Park. Our goal is to help build stronger, more unified neighborhoods. And through our programs and volunteer projects we believe we can – with each of you – make a meaningful difference in the communities where we live and work.”

Republic Services has 200 employees working out of the company’s Revere facility picking up recycling and trash from regional residential and commercial customers, including the residential properties of The Neighborhood Developers that are home to more than 1,100 children and adults in Chelsea and Revere.

Mayor Brian Arrigo and City Councilor Ira Novoselsky were on hand to thank Republic Services, The Neighborhood Developers, community residents and city employees who helped to make the day productive and fun. Qin Li, a mother of two who regularly enjoys the park with her children, told the Mayor that she is recruiting volunteers to join a Friends of Costa Park group. “Our goal is to keep the park clean, and to use the park for organized activities,” she said.


National Service Recognition Day for Chelsea

City Manager Tom Ambrosino proclaimed Tuesday, April 2nd, to be National Service Recognition Day for Chelsea. The City Manager brought seven Chelsea-based AmeriCorps volunteers to City Hall to celebrate their hard work and dedication to bettering the community.

“Chelsea is in a very fortunate situation where a lot of great nonprofits partner to help make the lives of our residents better,” offered City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “And that’s fundamentally what the City’s role is, to improve the lives of the residents.  Thank you for being part of that.”

Three of the volunteers recognized on Tuesday serve the CONNECT program at The Neighborhood Developers: Damon Major, Laura Bither, and Evie Heffernan. CONNECT is a partnership of five organizations that together help people solve housing problems, find better jobs, take the next step in their education, and fix their personal finances.

Two of the celebrated volunteers, Sage Loomis and Sophia Ordonez, are part of the Healthy Chelsea Coalition, where they design and deliver programming about nutrition in Chelsea schools. Convened and managed by MGH, Healthy Chelsea is a community coalition focused on improving the overall health of Chelsea residents. 

One volunteer, Sam Moser, is teaching English as a Second Language as part of the Chelsea Collaborative’s menu of workforce development services. The Collaborative works to meet the basic needs of Chelsea residents, foster leadership and citizenship, and change systems for greater equity and justice.

Every year, the AmeriCorps program places thousands of volunteers in thousands of communities throughout the nation to bolster civic, neighborhood, and faith-based organizations.  For more information, see https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps.

The holiday spirit of giving 

This holiday season TND residents received toys from Marine Corps Toys for Tots organization. This was the first year our TND children participated in this program. It was a success put on through our resident service departments from The Neighborhood Developers and Nuestra Communidad as well our property manager Winn Residential. This team effort brought the holiday spirit of giving into our properties.  

Resident Service received 256 toys from Toys for tots and roughly 160 children were able to pick up their toys that same week! It was a week filled with joy, excitement and smiles. Luckily the children were on winter break so they got to come into our offices and pick up their own toys. The excitement of parents also filled the room that day, some families had worried they would not have a toy for their children for the holidays. They were very surprised and thankful that TND was able to organize this event.   

 



 

Republic Services Charitable Foundation Launches Giving Program

National Neighborhood Promise™ Grants Awarded to Eight Local Neighborhood Revitalization Organizations

PHOENIX, Dec. 3, 2018 (from press release) -- The newly established Republic Services Charitable Foundation has announced the recipients of its first-ever companywide charitable giving program called National Neighborhood Promise™. National Neighborhood Promise grants are designed to deliver critical funding to nonprofit organizations leading neighborhood revitalization projects across the country.

"For the first time, our more than 35,000 employees across the country are coming together on a national level to focus our charitable giving efforts more strategically, making significant and lasting impacts on the neighborhoods that need it most," said President and CEO Don Slager.  "We're excited about this important step in Republic Services' growth and look forward to making an even bigger difference in the communities we serve."

Through National Neighborhood Promise, the Republic Services Charitable Foundation partners with select 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations to directly support neighborhood revitalization projects and programs within the United States, including Puerto Rico. These partnerships strengthen the neighborhoods in which Republic's employees live and work.

In 2018, the Foundation is funding projects with eight partners in local communities, with grants ranging from $40,000-$250,000:

The selected projects include critical home repairs, community cleanups and park revitalizations. Republic Services employees in each of the eight communities will offer volunteer time in addition to the grant funding and in-kind products and services. The projects in total are estimated to impact more than 100,000 residents.

Grant recipients for 2019 will be announced early next year.

For more information about the Republic Services Charitable Foundation and the National Neighborhood Promise program, please visit  RepublicServices.com/giving.

About Republic Services
Republic Services, Inc. is an industry leader in U.S. recycling and non-hazardous solid waste disposal. Through its subsidiaries, Republic's collection companies, recycling centers, transfer stations and landfills focus on providing effective solutions to make responsive waste disposal effortless for its 14 million customers. We'll handle it from here.®, the brand's promise, lets customers know they can count on Republic to provide a superior experience while fostering a sustainable Blue Planet for future generations to enjoy a cleaner, safer and healthier world.

For more information, visit the Republic Services website at RepublicServices.com. "Like" Republic on Facebook at Facebook.com/RepublicServices and follow on Twitter @RepublicService and Instagram @republic_services.

SOURCE Republic Services

Related Links

http://republicservices.com

SAY YES TO HOME, COMMUNITY, AND OPPORTUNITY!

unnamed.png

My name is Rafael Mares, and I recently joined The Neighborhood Developers (TND) as the new executive director. Prior to joining TND, during and after law school, I spent several years as a housing advocate. In countless courtrooms, I represented low-income tenants seeking to prevent eviction, stop housing discrimination, and address unhealthy conditions in their homes. I was especially proud when my team successfully litigated a class action for almost 300 public housing tenants which resulted in the lead abatement of New England’s largest public housing development. In coalition with other legal-aid attorneys, I secured protections for renters in foreclosed properties during the mortgage crisis. What I had the privilege to see and experience through my work as a lawyer, reinforced my belief that housing is a human right. 

But stable housing issues are also personal to me. On February 27th of this year, I received a phone call at 2:30 AM from the general contractor who was renovating our house. He called to let me know that a fire had completely destroyed our home of fifteen years in Revere; the only home my children had ever known. My family and I are lucky that we have support to help us get through this time of crisis and uncertainty. Most people who lose their home don’t. My own loss has renewed my focus on the importance of advocating for access to safe, healthy, stable, and affordable homes. 
  

Every other day someone in Chelsea, Everett, and Revere --the communities that The Neighborhood Developers serves -- gets evicted from their home through a court order. Evictions are most likely to occur when households fall behind in rent.


Since the recession ended, the cost of housing has dramatically increased while salaries have not risen apace. In Everett, for example, over the last eight years, rental rates have increased close to 30%.  

Most of us have moved at some point in our lifetime. Even when a move is planned, it is a stressful experience for everyone in the family. Imagine the disruptions to work, school, and everyday life due to one or more forced moves in a year. Neighborhoods with a lot of resident turnover suffer other challenges such as lack of access to good employment and working conditions. They also experience more violence, chronic health issues, and social isolation, and, unfortunately, less civic engagement. 
 

Housing instability harms people’s ability to succeed. This is why your gift truly matters. You are helping to provide stable housing for some of most vulnerable members of our community. 

 
As a Revere resident, TND is my local community-development organization, and I’m glad to know you are part of our organization as well. This year, as TND celebrates its 40th Anniversary, it has become even more apparent that we need to “Raise the Roof.” 
 

The need for homes that people can afford is so great that this year we received over 3,500 applications for 34 apartments at TND’s newest property, Acadia.  


TND offers a unique giving opportunity. Using Community Investment Tax Credits (CITCs), donations of $1,000 or more made to The Neighborhood Developers earn half of your donation back as either a state tax credit or a check. Federal deductions also apply making the value of your donation go even further. For CITC information or to donate, please click the button below.

Ensure that more of us have access to a stable home and a great neighborhood by making a donation to The Neighborhood Developers today. We are grateful for your support! 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Rafael Mares 
Executive Director 

A BEAUTIFUL POEM TO HOME, COMMUNITY, AND OPPORTUNITY.

if a community is a house

By Angelica Maria Aguilera
Poem commissioned for TND's 40th birthday

if a community is a house

i imagine the bricks as all its people,

each shaped uniquely and wedged in differently,

mundane as the sky but it falls and we are all screwed.

a house of course is greased with grit,

a thousand bricks holding it up day in and out without
asking for rest

ode to the organizers, the bodega owners, the families and the
street sweepers

ode to the mailmen, the kindergarten teachers with patience flexible as a gymnastic star, the neighbors that make themselves our mothers when our mothers are off making a life for us,

ode to the streetlights that guide us back to our bedrooms and into the loudest dreams

ode to the cement sidewalks that serve as classrooms for character

to the friends that teach us where we can call home

to the spaces that raise us, give us space to leave, and arms to come back to

if a community is a house

that means it is always under construction

the upkeep is infinite, and tireless

the crooked oil painting waits for hands to guide it

the leaking faucet is no competition to the plumber’s loyal wrench

a hideous wallpaper is nothing to a mother’s ruthless eye for discount decor

and manipulation of coupons

home is picky about its use in context

it knows itself to be more verb than noun

it is the tending not the structure that most correctly captures it

it is the pieces of yourself you nail into the walls, the fragments of

heart molded into the tiles, the continuous work that constitutes the word
that creates the sweet sweet sweetness of

home.


On this Giving Tuesday, say yes to
home, community, and opportunity!

Donate

STORYTELLING INTERNSHIP

Storytelling Internship 

Purpose 

We are looking for an enthusiastic storytelling intern to join our communications department. As a storyteller you’ll advance the mission by capturing the stories and strong photos of the people we serve—bringing the impact of our work into focus. 

Job Functions and Responsibilities

  • Going out into the field and interviewing stakeholders 

  • Writing stories

  • Documenting events and programs

  • Photographing stakeholders

  • Distributing content on several channels

  • Identifying best-of photos from events and interviews

  • Filming Events (If interest and ability)

Requirements

Students applying for this internship should have an interest in capturing stories. You’ll need strong written and verbal communication skills. This internship is for students seeking school credit. School-credit requirements vary from school to school.

We are looking to fill multiple intern positions and will fill the positions on a rolling basis. The ideal candidate can commit to a minimum of 10 hours a week. The schedule is flexible, and will be determined based on your availability and program need.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT

Trey Greer, Communications Manager
tgreer@tndinc.org

PRESS CLIPS

New York Times: A Map of Every Building In America

Most of the time, The New York Times asks you to read something. Today we are inviting you, simply, to look. On this page you will find maps showing almost every building in the United States.

City Lab: Why the U.S. Needs Better Crime Reporting Statistics

What's really the most dangerous American city? The way crimes are currently counted can easily confuse and mislead.

New York Times: What's really the most dangerous American city? The way crimes are currently counted can easily confuse and mislead.

One morning last year, Michele Carter woke up to find an eviction notice slipped under her apartment door.

Boston Globe: Can Boston's developers merge art and equity?

Not every city can have a single charismatic visionary like Gates driving creative reuse of urban spaces. 

Enterprise: Opportunity360 at One Year – And Beyond

We hope you’ve enjoyed celebrating the one-year anniversary of Opportunity360 with us. Over the past year it’s been exciting to watch this unique and powerful resource be used…

Meeting of The Minds: How Homeownership Builds Individual and Community Wealth

Ever since, and long before, the housing market crashed in 2008, with its devastation of homes, neighborhoods and lives, pundits and policy makers have debated the wisdom of advocating for homeownership – particularly in minority communities. 

Fast Company: Being born in the wrong ZIP code can shorten your life

“State and local governments could play a role in increasing life expectancies,” writes Professor Jessica Young.

Strong Towns: Opportunity Zones, But for Whom?

If you’re plugged into the urbanist blogosphere, you’ve probably heard something about the new federal Opportunity Zones by now. 

Fast Company: A new Ikea report is an unsettling look at life in the 21st century

“Almost half of Americans (45%) go to their car to have a private moment to themselves,” the company reports in a new survey of 22,000 people in 22 countries.

Podcast: It’s the Little Things

Want to better your community but don’t know where to start? 

Nonprofit AF: 7 game-changing things nonprofits can learn from for-profits

A while ago, I read about Juicero, a wifi-connected juicing machine. It was originally $700, and you had to subscribe to these proprietary packets of cut-up fruit and veggies for $7 each. 

Boston Globe: 'Mass displacement is a crisis': Building clearouts are becoming increasingly common

Mass displacement is a crisis': Building clearouts are becoming increasingly common in Boston.

Community Leadership Institute

This past weekend The Neighborhood Developers was able to send six residents to the NeighborWorks America Community Leadership Institute conference in Houston Texas.  CLI is a “three day training event that aims to strengthen the voices and skills of the community, resident and volunteer leaders.” Participants from all over the USA attended this training, where at the end of the training participants are eligible for a $4,000 grant for an action plan created by the resident leaders.

 

IMG_6070.JPG

Left to Right: Yenis Joya, Resident Service Coordinator Monica Elias, Resident Service Manager Gabriel Fonseca, Elizabeth Ramos (Middle), Pamela Ross (Front), Loira Moore (Back), Marcus Queen (Back) Mina Jlil (Front) and Vice President of Resident Services Monica Dean.

Mina Jlil speaking in front of a session at CLI

TND’s team was composed by TND residents housed in our properties and community residents from both cities of Chelsea and Revere. This team was led in efforts with TND Resident Services department.  

For many of our residents this was the first time traveling outside MA.  During the trainings our residents engaged with residents from all over the country where they found inspirations in each other. A big take away for our residents was that there are many communities in the USA fighting for affordability in their communities and trying to strengthen community engagement, not much difference in comparison to our communities. TND is excited to see what community action plan grows from this year’s CLI team.

“Con amor y respeto we stand in solidarity with you”

#HoustonCLI #CLI2018 #TNDResidents #Chelsea&Revere #ResidentLeaders




Iftar Dinner

Ramadan is the most holy Islamic holiday of the year, it's a holy month of fasting and prayers for Muslims. During Ramadan Muslims do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. They break their fast by sharing meals with family and friends. Last Wednesday June 13th, the residents from 525 Beach in Revere hosted an iftar dinner and invited neighbors and friends; Muslim and non Muslim friends. This was a great opportunity for non Muslims friends to explore and share this culture.

A Colombian resident Maria Patino and her son Carlos Patino attended the iftar dinner and stated they were so happy and felt so welcomed to explore and understand their neighbors culture. Maria shared with resident service that everything was, “Estupendo, todo muy rico, me encanto!” (Excellent, everything was so delicious, I enjoyed it!)  It was a great night for the residents of 525 Beach, they broke fast together, enjoyed each other's company and learned so much from each other. The community room was filled with noise, laughter, neighborly love and delicious food.

Here you can see some dishes that residents and friends shared during the iftar dinner. The harira soup is a very traditional soup served during Ramadan filled with chickpeas, lentils, tomatoes and other fresh veggies. As well you can see all the delicious pastries baked, Sondos Zenina a resident from 525 Beach is known for her famous desserts, on the far left she has baked a pistachio kataifi cake and a friend shared a homemade baklava.  

This was a great night to remember!

Launch into Summer Events! #NWW18

On June 7th, in celebration of NeighborWorks Week, TND with the help of many volunteers hosted the Launch into Summer event in Chelsea Square.

IMG_9572 (1).JPG

 

This annual event on the first Thursday in June is usually hosted in TND's office, but due to the large amount of summer events happening in Chelsea Square this summer, changing the location seemed obvious.  Over 100 community members came out to Chelsea Square to enjoy music, play games, learn about resources and most importantly to connect with their neighbors.  Thank you to NeighborWorks and all of the resident leaders who volunteered; together you made this event possible.

BIG NEWS! 40 YEARS, PARTNERSHIPS, AND NEW LEADERSHIP

INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIP -- OPPORTUNITY COMMUNITIES -- EXPANDS NONPROFIT CAPACITY FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND TRIGGERS TND LEADERSHIP TRANSITION

On Thursday May 31st The Neighborhood Developers publicly introduced Rafael Mares as its incoming Executive Director when more than 200 were on hand to celebrate the organization’s 40th Anniversary.  Those who welcomed Rafael included Congressman Michael Capuano, Secretary of the MA Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, EOHED Undersecretary Juan Vega, Senator Sal DiDomenico, Senator Joseph Boncore, Representative Joseph McGonagle, Brian Arrigo Mayor of Revere, and Tom Ambrosino Chelsea City Manager as well as many City Councilors, organizational members, friends and allies.

2018-05-27_16-03-15_878.jpg

Rafael is well known regionally for his work with the Conservation Law Foundation where as a Vice President and Program Director of the Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice program he has provided legal, technical, and strategic support to equitable transportation and community development efforts. His work on the Fairmount Indigo Corridor, for example, served to improve economic opportunity and mobility for Boston residents in Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park that were without efficient or rapid transit to downtown employment. Prior to joining the Conservation Law Foundation, Rafael worked at the Wilmer Hale Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School in Jamaica Plain representing indigent tenants in fair housing and eviction matters. Rafael and his family are residents of Revere, one of three cities served by The Neighborhood Developers. The ability to support equitable development within his own community is part of what drew Rafael to apply to for the position.

“Rafael has been a steadfast advocate for healthy communities across New England,” said Bradley Campbell, President of Conservation Law Foundation. “His work ensuring equitable access to the MBTA and fighting for environmental justice in places like Lawrence, Massachusetts will have a lasting impact on countless lives. All of us at CLF will certainly miss his energy and the passion he showed for his work over the last nine years.”

Also announced at The Neighborhood Developers’ 40th Celebration event was the launch of Opportunity Communities (OppCo), a new and innovative joint-venture launched in April 2018 to increase the capacity of community development nonprofits to sponsor socially just, locally controlled, and equitable change within low- and moderate-income communities. Opportunity Communities was co-founded by The Neighborhood Developers and Nuestra Comunidad of Boston. Across the two non-profits organizations is a housing portfolio of 1,150 apartments, which provide a stable home to over 3,000 low- and moderate-income individuals. Greater scale provides greater opportunity. Through OppCo, The Neighborhood Developers and Nuestra Comunidad are leveraging their combined resources and creating a common, shared set of core operations and programs with significantly more capacity than either organization can afford on its own. The end result is a more sustainable, efficient and robust structure for community development activities that sustains each organization‘s distinct identity, independent non-profit status, and control over mission, assets, and strategy. The model is designed for scale; up to ten community development non-profits are expected to join OppCo in the years ahead.

static1.squarespace.jpg

Stepping into the role as CEO of OppCo is Ann Houston, who for the last 14 years has served as the Executive Director of The Neighborhood Developers. Ann Houston joined The Neighborhood Developers in November 2003 with a mandate to expand the organization’s real estate development program. She accomplished this and much, much more. During her tenure with the organization, The Neighborhood Developers completed 16 real estate projects with 378 new or rehabbed homes representing more than $100 million invested in healthy, affordable homes for low and moderate-income households. Other major organizational milestones that occurred during Ann’s tenure include geographic expansion into Revere (2010) and Everett (2017) and the creation of CONNECT, an innovative partnership that supports low-income individuals and families to find a better job and achieve greater economic stability and mobility.

At the event another community development organization that is also turning 40 during 2018 -- NeighborWorks America – was recognized as The Neighborhood Developers’ Partner of the Year. NeighborWorks America exists today because 40 years ago, a coalition of residents, government officials, bankers and community members decided to experiment with a new way of making communities better places to live. Instead of public housing projects, this coalition envisioned better, more affordable homes in the places that people need them most. Since its Congressional chartering in 1978, NeighborWorks has expanded to nearly 250 members nationwide. Yet, it has retained what makes it unique: a grassroots approach that allows every organization the flexibility to focus on the needs of its particular community. The Neighborhood Developers is one of the first NeighborWorks organizations formed by a local coalition of Chelsea leaders and benefits from all that NeighborWorks has to offer: technical assistance; flexible grants; comprehensive, tailored training; and the opportunity to interact with and learn from fellow professionals from a variety of sectors.

Partner Of The Year

NeighborWorks America

Partner of the Year

NeighborWorks America exists today because 40 years ago, a coalition of residents, government officials, bankers and community members decided to experiment with a new way of making communities better places to live. Instead of public housing projects, this coalition envisioned better, more affordable homes in the places that people need them most. Since its Congressional chartering in 1978, NeighborWorks has expanded to nearly 250 members nationwide. Yet, it has retained what makes it unique: a grassroots approach that allows every organization the flexibility to focus on the needs of its particular community.

TND is one of the first organizations chartered by NeighborWorks America – then known as Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.  Both organizations are celebrating their 40th anniversaries in 2018.

Accepting the TND Partner of the Year Award on behalf of NeighborWorks was Jeffrey Bryson, Interim CEO and President. Joining Jeffrey were Katie Watts, SVP of Field Operations, and Joan Straussman, now Director of the Northeast Region. Also on hand was Margo Kelly who was the first NeighborWorks America representative to support the Chelsea start-up as well as Michael Williams who plays that role today. TND benefits from all that NeighborWorks has to offer: technical assistance; flexible grants; comprehensive, tailored training; and the opportunity to interact with and learn from fellow professionals from a variety of sectors.

DVeCL_HW4AAg3kT.jpg

NeighborWorks America is a tremendously valuable funding partner having invested nearly $8M over the last fifteen years in TND.  Through their support for organizational capacity building, NeighborWorks has assisted TND in good times and challenging times. They are a valuable forum for learning – some of our best ideas were nurtured through conversations at NeighborWorks forums and work on national committees.  At CONNECT we say that people can’t aspire to what they don’t know about: NeighborWorks America constantly raises our aspirations.

TND Group.jpg

The day after the celebration, TND was happy to host our Neighborworks America guests on a tour: Jeffrey Bryson, Katie Watts, and Michael Williams. As we both celebrate our 40th anniversaries, we enjoyed sharing our work and vision for home, community, and opportunity into the future.