Harmon Apartments was conceived in the spirit of Cordelia Harmon, who in 1881 founded The Boston Home, a nationally recognized long-term care facility for adults with advanced progressive neurological diseases, primarily multiple sclerosis.
Located on the organization’s Boston campus, the 36-unit Harmon Apartments is an “accessibility plus” development that serves as a model for independent community living for adults with physical disabilities. The development combines accessible features with state-of-the-art technology plus wellness programs and supportive services.
Most of the residents are in their 50s, but the development serves a wide range of ages from 15 to 81. All tenants require the building’s accessible features, with 90% reliant on supportive services.
“The first feeling of most of our residents is relief,” says Tara Mizrahi, principal and vice president at Affirmative Investments, co-developer of the property with The Boston Home. “They have found an affordable, attractive home that has been designed to meet their unique needs. Many were coming from challenging and isolating environments.”
The accessible features include automatic doors, roll-in showers, and accessible appliances. Residents can also control the heating and cooling systems, lights, and blinds from their phones if needed.
In addition, Harmon Apartments provides a range of on-site wellness and social programs along with a case manager to allow the residents to lead active, healthy lifestyles. Residents can also access the services offered next door at The Boston Home, including day programming and wheelchair-enhancement services. They are able to live independently, but they also have a sense of community.
Without the development, some would be living in a skilled-nursing facility, which does not fit their atypical needs and from a public policy is more expensive. Thirty homes are affordable to residents earning no more than 30%, 50%, and 60% of the area median income. Six are market rate.
The $18.2 million development utilized state and federal low-income housing tax credit equity.