(scroll down for answers about resident relocation plan)
1. What is planned for the Mary Ellen McCormack site?
BHA, WinnCompanies and the Mary Ellen McCormack (MEM) residents are creating a plan to redevelop the MEM public housing development. As part of this long-term plan, the existing deteriorated housing units will be replaced with a new mixed-income development, including one-for-one replacement of the existing 1,016 deeply affordable units, as well as the addition of moderate-income and market units. The planning process is just beginning and will include significant resident participation. Construction is not expected to begin for at least two (2) years.
2. How big will the new units be?
There will be a range of unit types and sizes, but units will generally be larger at every bedroom size than the current Mary Ellen McCormack units.
3. Where on the site will the units for BHA residents be?
Deeply affordable units will be mixed in along with the market-rate units throughout the whole site and in every building. The only exception is that the site plan currently includes one dedicated building for seniors, and there may be one additional building that will be dedicated to veterans and/or other residents who require particular supportive services.
4. Which parts of the site will be demolished and built on first?
The order of construction phases has not yet been decided, but will be agreed upon through a joint process between the developer, the BHA, the MEM Task Force, and the broader MEM resident community.
5. How much parking will be provided in the new development?
Through a combination of structured garage parking and on-street parking, WinnCompanies expects to provide a higher number of parking spaces per unit on the redeveloped MEM site than is currently available. Some of the new parking will be fee-based, but there will be many free spaces.
6. Will there be in-unit washers and dryers in the new development?
The new development will have washers and dryers in every building. Many, but not all, units will have their own washer and dryer in the unit.
7. Will there be dog parks in the new development?
Yes, the new development will have dog parks included in the landscaping plan.
8. What will happen next? How can I get involved?
WinnCompanies will begin by holding on-site office hours at the MEM Task Force Office to answer questions and listen to your comments about the proposed redevelopment. Starting in mid-November 2017, office hours will be held:
- Tuesdays – 1 pm to 7 pm
- Thursdays – 8 am to 2pm
- The first Saturday of the month – 9 am to Noon.
In the new year (2018), we will begin having more community meetings, so please look out for further notices about those! We look forward to your involvement throughout the process.
1. When Mary Ellen McCormack is being redeveloped, will I (as a current resident) have to move?
Yes, but not right away. The planned redevelopment of MEM calls for the demolition of the MEM site, so that new units can be constructed. The buildings will be taken down in phases, and to the greatest extent possible, we hope to accommodate relocation for most families on the MEM site.
2. Will you guarantee that every eligible household that wants to return to MEM is able to return?
YES. The BHA will sign a Relocation Agreement with every households guaranteeing your right to return to a new unit at the site as long as you are in Good Standing. A resident is deemed to be in Good Standing if she/he is in compliance with his/her relocation unit lease and:
- If a resident owes rent for the relocation unit or the unit he/she was relocated from, the resident has entered into an agreement to pay the back rent that is owed and is not in default under the terms of the agreement.
- There are no eviction actions currently pending against the resident
- The resident does not have a history of significant or repeated lease violations.
3. When will I have to relocate?
We don’t expect any relocation to happen until at least 2019 and perhaps later. Depending what phase of the project your unit is in, it could be many years before you are required to move.
4. What type of relocation choices will be available?
We expect the following resources will be available for MEM relocation:
- Relocating to a vacant existing, or new unit, at the MEM site
- Using a Section 8 voucher to rent an apartment in Boston or elsewhere (subject to availability)
- Moving to another BHA public housing community.
- Receiving down-payment assistance toward the purchase of a home.
5. What if I move now on my own?
At the beginning of the relocation process you will receive a General Information Notice (GIN) outlining your relocation rights and responsibilities. Once the GIN is issued, you are eligible for many relocation benefits, including relocation counseling, moving assistance and coverage of all moving costs. You are NOT eligible for these benefits now—you are only eligible once you receive the GIN.
6. Who is eligible for relocation benefits and assistance?
Households living at MEM are eligible for relocation benefits and assistance, so long as they remain tenants. Residents who voluntarily leave MEM before the BHA and its relocation contractor notify them with the GIN give up their rights to relocation assistance, as well as the right to return to MEM. Only legal occupants of the unit will be entitled to relocation benefits. Make certain that all members of your household have been through the screening process and officially added to your lease. In addition, benefits may be pro-rated if one or more members of the household are ineligible non-citizens. The relocation staff will work with each household to determine the precise level of benefits to which you are entitled.
7. What moving assistance am I entitled to?
Families will be offered three moving assistance options. Households may elect to:
- Option 1: Use the services of a professional moving company contracted by the BHA. This option also includes packing materials, utility reconnection fee reimbursement and a relocation allowance in the amount of $50.
- Option 2: Undertake the move on your own and be reimbursed for all documented reasonable out of pocket expenses. Examples of reasonable out of pocket expenses including packing and moving costs, up to 12 months of storage costs, utility reconnection fees, etc.
- Option 3: Take a lump sum payment in lieu of being reimbursed for out of pocket expenses. Lump sum payments include the relocation allowance and are based upon unit size.
This assistance will be available to all households as they relocate off-site, whether temporarily or permanently. It will also be offered to those who move back to MEM from their temporary location.
8. How do I select my relocation option?
BHA and WinnCompanies will hire a firm to provide relocation counseling assistance to all households at MEM. These relocation counselors will meet with each household to discuss the relocation options and the benefits of each type of relocation. Based on that information, each resident will have to state his or her permanent and/or temporary relocation preferences.
9. How much rent will I have to pay for my relocation unit?
All of the rental relocation options, including Section 8 and a unit at another BHA development, are affordable. No resident will have to pay more than 30% of their income in rent, as they do now.
10. If I choose to return to MEM after redevelopment, will I get a unit with the same number of bedrooms as I have now?
Families who move back to MEM will be placed in a right-sized unit based on their family size. So if your family is currently in a two-bedroom unit but you are eligible for a three-bedroom unit, you will move into three-bedroom unit when you return to MEM. On the other hand, a family that is currently in a two-bedroom unit but is now only eligible for a one-bedroom unit would move into a new one-bedroom unit at the redeveloped MEM.