Gut Rehab to Create Apartments for Homeless

The Walnut Avenue Apartments redevelopment is about to begin construction in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. The project will be a gut rehab of a derelict commercial building that will ultimately create housing for 30 formerly homeless individuals.

Boston—The Walnut Avenue Apartments redevelopment is about to begin construction in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. The project will be a gut rehab of a derelict commercial building that will ultimately create housing for 30 formerly homeless individuals. There will also be a manager’s unit, with a 20-bed respite-care facility on the first floor.

Respite care provides short-term and time-limited care for children with developmental delays and adults with intellectual disabilities. It allows families and other unpaid caregivers of these individuals to take a break from their tasks, which over the longer-run helps maintain their ability to be primary caregivers.

Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp., the developer of Walnut Avenue, is working with the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) and Pine Street Inn, which will provide the support services. The BHCHP, for instance, will operate the respite facility. Other transitional support will include counseling, assistance in daily living skills, job-readiness training, home budgeting, case management and crisis intervention.

Recently UnitedHealthcare invested $5.1 million to help finance the project. The company’s investment is being made in partnership with Enterprise Community Investment Inc., an affordable housing specialist, as part of an initiative by UnitedHealthcare to build affordable housing with supportive services.

Since 2011, UnitedHealthcare has invested more than $175 million in housing that qualifies for federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, to develop new housing nationwide. UnitedHealthcare and Enterprise have worked together to invest $83 million of that total in affordable-housing developments in six states, including Massachusetts.