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!