The former St. Kevin’s Parish in the Uphams Corner neighborhood of Dorchester, Mass., continues to help those in need—in its redevelopment as much-needed affordable workforce housing and permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless families.

Now known as Uphams Crossing, the 80-unit community is following in the footsteps of its predecessor, which, prior to its closing, had a long-standing mission of providing support for the homeless.

“The pastor took an active role to see this parish used to continue serving those in need,” says Lisa Alberghini, president of the Planning Office for Urban Affairs, a nonprofit housing developer affiliated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. “It honors the legacy of that work.”

Uphams Crossing, which was completed in October, consists of three buildings. Two are new construction, and the third is an adaptive reuse of the former St. Kevin’s Parish school and church building, in which the developer added a third floor to the two-story building.

The one-, two-, and three-bedroom units serve households earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income. More than 3,300 applications were submitted for the 80 units.

Twenty of the units serve formerly homeless families who came from seven shelters in Boston. A project-based subsidy through the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program has been provided for those units. According to the developer, this is one of the first new project-based contracts issued in the commonwealth in many years, based on new funding by the state legislature to reduce family homelessness.

Uphams Crossing's 60 workforce units are home to residents employed at over 35 local businesses. St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children is providing on-site services, including a full-time social worker, for all residents.

“This is a direct example of homeless families coming from shelters straight into affordable housing,” says Alberghini. “And it’s a great example of housing for working people who can no longer afford the market rents in the Boston area.”

The developer leveraged more than 10 resources of financing for the $32.3 million project, including 9% and state low-income housing tax credits with Bank of America Merrill Lynch as the investor. The city of Boston provided HOME and Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund monies, and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development provided funding through several different programs. The Massachusetts Housing Partnership is the permanent lender, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston and Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta provided funds through member Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Project Details

Developer: Planning Office for Urban Affairs
Architect: The Architectural Team
Major Funders: Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development; Massachusetts Housing Partnership; city of Boston; Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston; Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta