Neighborhood Housing Services of the South Shore on Thursday will unveil the largest project in its 30-year history with the ribbon-cutting at an $8 million low-income apartment project in Quincy.
The 24-unit building, situated on Winter Street, was constructed with funding from a variety of sources, including $4 million in investor tax credits, $1 million from the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Trust, and $1 million from the Department of Housing and Community Development’s HOME funds.
Additionally, DHCD low-income tax credits, Massachusetts Rehab Community Based Housing, and a mortgage through the Massachusetts Housing Partnership helped solidify the project.
Under the guidelines, “Winter Garden” renters must have an income that at or below 60 percent of the median area income. Already. 400 families have applied to be in one of the building's 24 units, showing the need for such projects in the community, Executive Director Robert Corley said.
“To have high-quality, affordable, new apartments for people to rent in a city as busy as Quincy is very rare,” Corley said. “I don’t even like to call it affordable rent, it's realistic rent because it's so outrageous. A lot of places cost more to rent than my mortgage. Especially when its new construction, they go to the top of the market.”
The building is also desirable due to the several three-bedroom units, which are difficult to find in this market.
“The ongoing foreclosure crisis has resulted in a greater need for rental housing with more than two bedrooms,” Corley said.
Additionally, all of the units are handicap-accessible, with three units reserved for individuals with disabilities.
The building is also notable due to its environmental friendliness, Corley said.
Not only does it have 85 photovoltaic panels on the roof to generate electricity, but the building has 28 solar panels to generate hot water. The flooring in the bottom level is also made from recycled rubber, and the playground base is made from recycled material.
“Sometimes new construction can look a little institutional, but this looks very warm and homier than some larger projects. It lays out nicely at the site and is in keeping with the neighborhood,” Corley said.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on Oct. 18 at 11:30 a.m. on the site. Neighborhood Housing officials say they plan to have occupants by December.
The project replaces two dilapidated properties, including an early-1900s single-family home that had long since been abandoned, and a paved parking area that used to help accommodate the Shipyard’s 25,000 employees.
The new construction has replaced those eyesores and also installed a new water main, usable by the entire street, in the area. The estimated $100,000 pipe construction was made possible by federal stimulus funds.
“We are tremendously proud of our partnership with Neighborhood Housing Services and grateful for the work it does every day on behalf of our community,” said Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch in a release. “These projects providing affordable housing for our residents are a great testament to Quincy’s sense of community, and we’re going to continue to do everything in our power to make them happen.”
Elsewhere in the region, the group is working on building affordable housing for more low-income families as well as for returning veterans.
According to Corley, in addition to the veterans housing Neighborhood Housing opened on Sept. 11, the organization is working on a similar housing project in Weymouth to open in November.
The group is also working on bringing a two-family townhouse to the site of the old VFW post in Houghs Neck.
“The city of Quincy and the mayor are very interested in doing their part for returning veterans in the area, as well as in Weymouth,” Corley said.
Other projects are also in the pipeline, but are only at the beginning stages, Corley said.
“We’re a community housing development agency, that’s what we do, that’s our business, and we’re the designated agency for Quincy and Weymouth, so we’re constantly searching for opportunities to buy housing, but always trying to focus on the quality, because what’s usually available are not of high quality,” Corley said.
For more information on Neighborhood Housing Services, visit their website.