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With Public/Private Financing, Caritas Communities Completes Renovation of 128 Units of Affordable Housing in Cambridge

June 5, 2012

Mark Winkeller, Caritas Communities, 781-843-1242 x13
Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077
Kait Muhlfelder, Boston Private Bank & Trust, 617-912-3684

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Public officials, residents and a team of public and private funders today celebrated a ribbon cutting for Caritas Communities Inc.'s completion of its latest project – the historic preservation of Central House, the largest licensed lodging house for men in Cambridge. Caritas Communities assembled $10 million in private equity, public lending and tax-exempt bond financing to update 128 units of occupied affordable single-room occupancy units at The Cambridge Family YMCA at 820 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square. The physical updates included new bathrooms, elevators and heating systems as well as a new roof and masonry repairs to the facades of the historic, red-brick building. 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.

MassDevelopment issued the bond and along with the Department of Housing and Community Development allocated the low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC), which generated approximately $2.8 million in equity. The tax credits were syndicated by Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation and sold to BrooklineBank and Cambridge Savings Bank. Boston Private Bank & Trust Company purchased the $4.6 million tax exempt bond. 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.

“This was a great partnership among private and public funders to preserve the affordability of this key property,” said Mark Winkeller, Executive Director of Caritas Communities. “Here we are in the center of Cambridge, in a beautiful building, making permanent affordable housing available to 128 people who otherwise would have very few options. With the help of a lot of individuals and financing institutions, we hope that this building will be a resource for the City and the Commonwealth forever.”

“It is great that this very important assisted housing is getting a facelift and will be an even better place for people to live,” said Representative Alice K. Wolf.

“A community should be judged by how it promotes the welfare of its most vulnerable members, and the Cambridge community continues to find ways to lift, sustain, and nurture these individuals,” E. Denise Simmons, Vice Mayor of Cambridge. “The Central House renovation is an excellent example of this effort, and we are all thankful for the continued good work from the YMCA, Caritas Communities, and the generous funders who have helped make this renovation possible.”

“Central House is a valuable affordable housing resource for low-income men in Cambridge and these important renovations by Caritas Communities will ensure the quality and comfort of this housing for many years to follow,” said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason. “Central House is a great example of what can be accomplished when the public, private and non-profit sectors work together with the common goal of creating and preserving quality affordable housing for the residents of Massachusetts.”

“MassDevelopment provided access to low-cost, tax-exempt financing for Central House to help the Commonwealth’s residents access affordable housing,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “Today marks a great day for Caritas and Cambridge as this vital facility opens its doors.”

“It is gratifying to see this project–one that will provide housing and services to a very underserved population – come to fruition,” said MHIC President Joseph Flatley. “MHIC is pleased to have provided a $2.9 million LIHTC investment and to be part of the partnership that made this happen.”

“We are pleased to have helped Caritas Communities preserve this important affordable housing resource,” said Mark Thompson, CEO and President of Boston Private Bank & Trust Company. “The project also created jobs and upgraded a beautiful, historic structure. We are very proud to have been involved.”

The mission of Caritas Communities, now in its 27th year, is to help preserve, create and manage affordable singe room occupancy housing. Caritas Communities serves a wide variety of low income individuals including those working in low wage jobs, chronically homeless and homeless veterans. Having started by buying and renovating a single 3-decker in Dorchester in 1985, Caritas Communities is now greater Boston’s largest non-profit owner and manager of affordable single room occupancy housing, with 890 units of housing in Boston and 9 suburban communities.

MassHousing (The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency) is an independent, quasi-public agency created in 1966 and charged with providing financing for affordable housing in Massachusetts. The Agency raises capital by selling bonds and lends the proceeds to low- and moderate-income homebuyers and homeowners, and to developers who build or preserve affordable and/or mixed-income rental housing. MassHousing does not use taxpayer dollars to sustain its operations, although it administers some publicly funded programs on behalf of the Commonwealth. Since its inception, MassHousing has provided more than $13 billion for affordable housing. For more information, visit the MassHousing website at, follow us on Twitter @MassHousing, subscribe to our blog and Like us on Facebook.

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 more than 300 projects generating investment of $3.8 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 10,000 jobs (2,547 permanent and 8,129 construction), and build or rehabilitate more than 1,000 residential units.

Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation is a private, nonprofit lender and investor specializing in financing affordable housing and community development throughout New England. It was founded in 1990 by a consortium of banks and other corporate investors to fill a critical gap in meeting the credit needs of developers who could not get financing for certain projects from traditional lenders. To date, MHIC has provided $1.7 billion to finance affordable housing and community development. That financing represents the preservation or creation of more than 15,600 housing units and more than 2.7 million square feet of commercial space.

Established in 1987, Boston Private Bank & Trust Company offers highly personalized deposit and cash management, commercial lending, residential mortgage and investment management and trust services. The Bank is headquartered in Boston, with offices in New England, Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, and operates as Borel Private Bank & Trust Company, a division of Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Bank is an active provider of financing for affordable housing, first time homebuyers, economic development, social services, community revitalization and small business. Boston Private Bank & Trust Company is a subsidiary of Boston Private Financial Holdings (NASDAQ: BPFH). For further information, visit