Jefferson Park State / Jefferson Park Federal
Energy-efficient retrofit and residents' retention at Jefferson Park (State/Federal)
Jefferson Park State and Jefferson Park Federal are two adjacent housing projects in Cambridge, MA, directly connected to the city of Boston. These complexes were built in two stages between 1950 and 1952, with a total of 11 three-story brick buildings organized around open parking spaces, and a larger six-story housing block. Initially reserved for war veterans, active servicemen, city workers and their families, Jefferson Park in the 1960s had a population of around 1400 people according to census data. By the late 70s, the population had declined significantly, the property fell into disrepair and vacancies abounded.
In 2018, the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) has completed the green redevelopment of one portion of the property (Jefferson Park State), which involved the demolition of four existing blocks that were replaced by six new energy-efficient buildings with a combination of flats and townhouses, and new pedestrian-friendly green space, a community learning center and workforce program classrooms.
In 2022, the redevelopment of the other portion (Jefferson Park Federal) was authorized. This will involve the complete demolition and energy-efficient rebuilding (particularly involving passive house and electrical heating system) of all existing affordable units (175), an addition of 103 new flats for a total of 278 post construction, and a redesigned layout of the green open space and pedestrian routes to better integrate the housing complex into the surrounding neighborhood.
CHA has established a number of nonprofit affiliates beginning in the late 1980s - these are managed by the CHA, but are legally distinct from it; as a result, they have access to loans and funding that would be unavailable to a public authority.
The Cambridge Affordable Housing Corporation (CAHC), one of the most significant of these companies, was founded in 1989 with the goal of expanding the CHA's portfolio by including properties that are not publicly owned. This way, the CAHC can purchase housing inventory from the market, which then the CHA subjects to affordability restrictions through Section 8 vouchers.
By partnering with banks as investors, and with its own nonprofit subsidiaries as development partners, the CHA has "repositioned" nearly all of its property of more than 2,100 federally subsidized flats into voucher-based housing thourgh the through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, while retaining ownership of these properties.
The 278 new units in JPF will be "deeply affordable" though Section 8 vouchers.