[Hpn] Roxbury, MA - More than 20 percent of Caritas Communities residents have experienced homelessness - Boston Herald - July 12, 2002

Editor Editor <hccjr@bellsouth.net>
Fri, 12 Jul 2002 09:07:39 -0500


Putting Positive Energy To Good Use: Communities Get Together On Affordable
Housing
More than 20 percent of Caritas Communities residents have experienced
homelessness

________________________________________
by Staff Writers - Boston Herald - July 12, 2002


Despite the recent trend of staggering real estate prices in the Boston area,
there's still some good news in the affordable housing market.

     Keyspan Energy Delivery New England recently partnered with Caritas
Communities Inc. to open the renovated Dudley Inn in Roxbury. The project will
provide energy-efficient affordable housing for 68 Boston residents, including
some who were formerly homeless.

     Caritas Communities is a non-profit organization founded more than two
decades ago by members of the Greater Boston real estate community and other
concerned citizens ``to create affordable housing for working men and women,''
according to the Caritas Web site www.caritascommunities.org

The homes are single-room occupancy lodging houses, and each occupant rents a
room that comes furnished, and is professionally maintained, at an affordable
rate.

     Keyspan Energy Delivery New England (KED NE) ``includes the combined
customer base of the former Boston Gas, Colonial Gas, Essex Gas and Energy North
Gas companies,'' according to Nick Stavropoulos, executive vice president of
Keyspan Corp. and president of KED NE. He said that Keyspan does more than
distribute gas in the Northeast.

     ``Contributing to the needs of residents and community programs in the
cities and towns we serve is important to Keyspan,'' said Stavropoulos.
Keyspan's Energy Management Program provides ``$13 million annually towards
residential, commercial and industrial economic development programs,'' he said.

     Stavropoulos added that funds are targeted especially for projects that
result in energy savings and efficiency, or ``cogeneration technologies,'' in
which energy that was normally vented into the atmosphere would be recovered and
used productively to create more energy.

     Keyspan provided the Dudley Inn project with $45,000 for the installation
of high-efficiency boilers, Energy Star windows and programmable thermostats, as
well as R-30 roof insulation and other energy-efficient equipment.

     ``This was a phenomenal opportunity,'' said Mark Winkeller, executive
director of Caritas Communities, in reference to the Keyspan grant. ``And they
could not have been more helpful.''

     Winkeller said that Caritas, the largest non-profit owner of affordable
lodging houses in Greater Boston, is committed to finding caring supporters and
partners.

     ``Each property must be evaluated, acquired, renovated and financed,'' he
said.

     ``Property managers need to be hired and trained. Buildings require
improvements and proper maintenance.''

     All of this requires money.

     ``Keyspan's economic redevelopment grants provide funds for housing
partnerships and non-profits totaling over $850,000 each year throughout
Massachusetts, with approximately $200,000 allocated in Boston,'' said
Stavropoulos.

     Another recent Keyspan economic redevelopment initiative was the Uphams
Corner Market project, which provided 45 units of badly needed affordable
housing for residents in Uphams Corner, Dorchester, not to mention the
revitalization of the Uphams Corner Building into a mixed-use facility.

     Both the Uphams Corner project and the Dudley Inn project have set aside a
percentage of the units for people transitioning from homelessness.

     The Dudley Inn is actually a four-building complex in Dudley Square, a
prominent location in Roxbury. ``I really believe that if we at Caritas
Communities Inc. hadn't bought the property, it would have become an affluent
property; taken out of affordability,'' said Winkeller. ``Now it's become
permanent housing, and everybody benefits.''

     Added Stavrolpoulos: ``Through this partnership with Caritas we were able
to increase the energy efficiency of these buildings, which benefits the
building owners, the tenants and the environment.''

     More than 20 percent of Caritas Communities residents have experienced
homelessness, and they are delighted to finally have a clean, affordable place
to live. With the help of corporate sponsors like Keyspan, Caritas can continue
to provide that much-needed place people can call "home."

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