Last week, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) voted to distribute $200,000 in mitigation funds from the Suffolk Downs Redevelopment project to Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS). The funding fulfills a portion of its community benefits commitment from when the project was approved in September 2020.
This money will be used to fund GBLS’ ongoing efforts to provide support for Eastie residents, including short-term rental assistance, and assistance for meeting basic needs such as food, utilities, childcare, or medical expenses.
In September of 2020, the BPDA Board approved the Suffolk Downs Project, the Suffolk Downs Master Plan for Planned Development Area as well as five associated development plans attached to the project.
The BPDA approved project includes the construction of 11 million square feet of mixed use development Eastie. As part of the Suffolk Downs project, the developer, HYM Investments Group, agreed to contribute $400,000 to assist Eastie-based nonprofits in their efforts to help residents here avoid eviction.
It was agreed that the funding would be paid in two installments. The first $200,000 was due to the BPDA on December 28, 2020 and the second $200,000 installment is due to the BPDA 30 days after the appeal period ends for a building permit for the construction of the first building outlined in Suffolk Downs’ Master Plan.
Initially it was agreed that the funds would come to the Department of Neighborhood
Development (DND). Since then, DND has requested that the BPDA grant the first $200,000 directly to a non-profit.
Working with the BPDA, DND has agreed that the GBLS should receive these funds and begin assisting the residents in Eastie immediately.
GBLS has agreed to assist low-income Eastie residents with rental relief and basic living expenses and other needs like medical costs. According to the BPDA low-income is defined as a household making less than 200 percent of the 2020 Federal Poverty Guidelines.
GBLS will provide program reports on this initiative over six months and is responsible for program administrative functions including final eligibility determination, execution of program contracts if any and delivery of funds to recipients.
Every six months GBLS will provide a chart of the names and the amount of money issued to eachEastie resident who applied, along with whether the check was cashed. GBLS will not take any part of the fund for administration and will notify DND when the $200,000 fund is spent.