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MassDevelopment Bond Boosts Cambridge’s Central House

September 27, 2011

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077
Mark Winkeller, Caritas Communities, 781-843-1242 ext 13

MassDevelopment has issued a $4,631,735 tax-exempt bond on behalf of 820 SRO LLC, which will use bond proceeds to purchase and renovate a 128-unit single-room occupancy facility on the upper floors of the Cambridge YMCA. Caritas Communities Inc. will sponsor and manage the project, called Central House. The Cambridge Family YMCA is a partner in this venture. Improvements include life safety, elevator, and bathroom upgrades; new windows, flooring, and lighting; and masonry work.

MassDevelopment and the Department of Housing and Community Development also approved an allocation of low-income housing tax credits, which generated about $2.8 million in equity. Boston Private Bank purchased the bond; Brookline Bank and Cambridge Savings Bank purchased the tax credit equity. Additional funding came from the City of Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust, Massachusetts Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and the Department of Housing and Community Development's HOME and HSF programs.

“Caritas Communities helps the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable – who often work in the service industry and struggle to afford apartments in greater Boston – by providing permanent affordable housing,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “This low-cost financing both supports necessary facility improvements and provides access to tax credits, allowing Caritas to generate equity and devote resources to residents.”

Eighteen of the 128 units are for men who need only housing, while the remaining 110 units combine housing with social services. The facility serves low-income men who have a history of homelessness, chronic mental illness, substance abuse, or HIV/AIDS. Caritas Communities owns and manages 28 single-room occupancy houses, providing affordable housing for more than 750 men and women in the Greater Boston area.

“This complex financing package was critical to preserving and enhancing Central House, a building that plays a major role in combating homelessness among extremely low-income individuals,” said Caritas Communities Executive Director Mark Winkeller.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2011, MassDevelopment financed or managed 277 projects generating investment of nearly $3.7 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create 10,291 jobs (2,507 permanent and 7,784 construction) and 1,350 housing units (336 new and 1,014 rehab).