2Life Communities (formerly Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly) is proposing to construct two additions to its existing Golda Meir House at 160 Stanton Avenue to accommodate 68 additional apartments for seniors and chronically homeless individuals with disabilities. 2Life aims to make eight of these units affordable to households earning up to 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI), 22 units available to households earning up to 50% of AMI, 20 units available to households earning 60% of AMI, 10 units available to households earning up to 100% of AMI, and eight with no income restriction. The 60 income-restricted units will include nine units dedicated to chronically homeless individuals with disabilities. Fifty-seven of the units are one-bedroom units and ten units are two-bedroom units.
On December 10, 2018, the City of Newton's Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) approved a Comprehensive Permit for this project.
The Golda Meir House Expansion project has also been invited into the state's competitive 2019 funding round for low-income housing tax credits. Full applications for this state funding are due in February 2019.
In the Fall of 2017, the City released a Request for Proposals for the Sale of Municipal Property at 160R Stanton Avenue, otherwise known as the Water Tower Site. This site was identified in the 2016 Newton Leads 2040 Housing Strategy as one of seven priority sites to advance affordable housing development in the City, specifically for seniors and residents with disabilities seeking supportive services. A key requirement for the purchase and redevelopment of this site is the construction and occupancy of 9-12 units of affordable housing for chronically homeless individuals with disabilities, including a social service plan to stabilize these individuals and move them towards economic self-sufficiency.
The City selected the 2Life Communities proposal (formerly JCHE) to expand their existing Golda Meir House at 160 Stanton Avenue, which already includes 199 units of affordable senior housing with extensive programming and services. The Golda Meir House directly abuts the Water Tower Site and 2Life's proposal envisions a physical connection between the new and old buildings to integrate new residents into their vibrant senior community and to incorporate the building’s management into a highly efficient operation.
In order to successfully provide 9-12 units of affordable housing for chronically homeless individuals with disabilities as part of this project, 2Life Communities has partnered with Hearth, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of homelessness among the elderly though prevention, placement, and housing programs. Hearth and 2Life are currently working together on a similar project in Brighton.
2Life Communities is a non-profit provider of senior supportive housing in the Greater Boston area, with four locations and over 1,200 units, all of which are owned, managed and serviced by 2Life. The organization has been in existence since 1965, and two of its properties.
Chapter 40B is a state statute that encourages the development of low- and moderate-income housing by providing a streamlined permitting process and relief from local zoning requirements. Also known as the Comprehensive Permit Law, Chapter 40B was enacted in 1969 to help address the shortage of affordable housing in Massachusetts. The law requires that at least 20-25 percent of units in a development have long-term affordability restrictions. Under Chapter 40B, the local Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is the permit granting authority. The ZBA must review and make decisions (approve, approve with conditions, or deny comprehensive permits) in a public hearing setting. The State Housing Appeals Committee hears appeals for projects in communities that have less than 10 percent of their housing affordable to low- and moderate-income households.