2016 Affordable Housing Development Competition
An integrated and supportive community for
formerly homeless individuals and the growing neighborhood of Jamaica Plain
1st prize winning proposal |Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston
Affordable and Mixed-Income Housing Development, Finance, and Management, GSD, Harvard University, 2016, Boston, USA
Building Ties Across a Diverse Community
The Emily Greene Balch House represents the vanguard of innovative housing models for formerly homeless residents, seeking a bold and holistic approach to supportive services beyond just the need for adequate shelter. At its heart, the Balch House serves as a vibrant, mixed-use landmark that fosters an integrated and stable community among its residents and the surrounding Jamaica Plain neighborhood. The mission to effectively and thoroughly serve the needs of this historically marginalized population permeates all facets of the project’s design and programming agenda, creating a rich and comprehensive intervention approach. We believe this proposal takes significant steps towards a broader societal acceptance of homeless citizens, and showcases the contributions they can make if given the chance.
The primary development goal of our clients, The Community Builders (TCB) and Pine Street Inn (PSI), is to maximize the number of formerly homeless residents the Balch House can serve. We address this need by bundling all available voucher subsidies from several sources and leveraging them with public soft debt and cross-subsidy through mixed-income units on-site. The project expands on PSI’s secondary goal of preserving their existing on-site offices by designing improved work space for their counselors, as well as developing their social enterprise initiative, iCater. These assets create an integral link between the formerly homeless and Jamaica Plain communities and they improve the well-being of all Balch House residents.