The Union logo

Located in the heart of downtown Boston, the Union at 48 Boylston Street is the result of a partnership between St. Francis House and the Planning Office for Urban Affairs of the Archdiocese of Boston, providing 46 new units of affordable housing.

 


“Without an affordable home, finding a job and being an active member of the community is impossible. This building will strengthen our mission to provide pathways to stability for individuals experiencing homelessness.”

– Karen LaFrazia, President & CEO of St. Francis House

Enjoy our timeline of progress below as we explore the next phases of this project.

To stay up to date, search #48Boylston on Twitter for pictures, to read news articles, and see support from our elected officials statewide and in the City of Boston – you do not have to have a Twitter account to see these.

Also, be sure to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, coming out the third week of every month, to hear about new updates! You can sign up at the bottom of this page.

Present

Since launch, the endeavor at 48 Boylston has created much-needed homes for people displaced in the city of Boston, giving those once struggling with homelessness a safe and comfortable place to live.

We are thrilled to announce that our next phase will go beyond the great benefits of housing. Future plans include a street-level business venture, employment training and new jobs for homeless individuals. This development will give us the opportunity to expand our support services while adding vitality to our neighborhood.

May 2019

Tenants of the Union at 48 Boylston were able to move in to their own spaces the week of March 18th, with all units officially occupied by May 2019.

At the end of May, St. Francis House and the Planning Office for Urban Affairs of the Archdiocese of Boston welcomed a full crowd for a historic ribbon cutting ceremony, announcing the newest addition of affordable housing to downtown Boston. Guest speakers included Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh, Senator Joe Boncore, State Representative Aaron Michlewitz and Bank of America’s Maria Barry. The event ended with Andrew Moskevich, one of the residents of the Union at 48, who shared his personal journey and gratefulness. Read the blogpost.

The Union is now home to 46 individuals, and with the culmination of this project, St. Francis House now offers 102 units of affordable housing.

February 2019

The final touches have been placed, the lights are on, the water is running and construction of all housing units officially comes to completion at the end of February 2019. The Union at 48 Boylston is ready for tenants!

January 2019

With the generosity of Bob’s Discount Furniture and several other partners, the 26 units created for those leaving homelessness behind are now being completely furnished with the necessities to live a safe and comfortable life.  BDF’s designers hand-picked furniture for each suit, and BDF employees spent three days delivering beds, bureaus, tables, nightstands and more!

The donations do not stop there: a huge thank you to many groups who participated in stocking these apartments with baskets of kitchen, bathroom and laundry supplies. Read more and see photos on our blog here.

These units, once barren rooms of wood, wires and pipes, are beginning to look more and more like home.

Summer 2018

Summer 2018 saw huge progress; it was a busy time for 48 Boylston! Read our full blogpost. With 50+ works on site every week, many jobs have been since completed or are currently in progress such as: electricians roughing out the units, plumbers installing bathroom fixtures, a reworking of the existing sprinkler system, creating roof structural supports and cleaning the interior and exterior bricks.

Spring 2018

Throughout February, March and April, contractors start internal demolition of the property and begin reconfiguring the space into apartments. The construction crew also tackles miscellaneous projects such as clearing out wall-to-wall carpeting, removing the existing mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and planning out wall placement. More detailed blogposts and photos of the development of 48 Boylston can be found here: February, March, and April.

January 2018

At the beginning of 2018, we break ground at 48 Boylston Street! Read more and see event photographs here. The construction company begins mobilizing to prepare the structure for abatement, as it is a historical 150-year old building.

August 2016

St. Francis House and the Planning Office for Urban Affairs of the Archdiocese of Boston are awarded funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to create 46 units of affordable housing at 48 Boylston Street. On behalf of the Baker Administration, DHCD will support the project with a combination of Federal and State Low Income Housing Tax Credits that will leverage approximately $11.8 million in equity, and $4,000,000 in various subsidies from DHCD. The City of Boston is also providing significant funding for the development.

“These affordable housing awards reflect our administration’s commitment to a stronger, more prosperous, and more inclusive Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By increasing affordable housing production, and stabilizing working families, low-income senior citizens and homeless families or those at risk, these housing awards will strengthen communities across Massachusetts.” Read the press release.

April 2016

On April 8th, 2016 St. Francis House (SFH) purchased, in partnership with the Planning Office of Urban Affairs (POUA), the historic building located across the street on the edge of Chinatown and the Boston Common. Karen LaFrazia, Executive Director of St. Francis House, said, “the purchase of 48 Boylston Street will allow us to create affordable housing in the heart of downtown Boston in a neighborhood that’s watched average rents skyrocket. Without an affordable home, finding a job and being an active member of the community is impossible. This building will strengthen our mission to provide pathways to stability for individuals experiencing homelessness.” Read the press release.

48 Boylston Groundbreaking with Gov Baker

 

L to R: Miceal Chamberlain, Bank of America; Mayor Martin Walsh; Lisa Alberghini, POUA; Cardinal Seán O’Malley; Governor Charlie Baker; Secretary of Commonwealth William Galvin; and Karen LaFrazia, St. Francis House all sign a metal beam that will be installed during the renovation.

On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, we broke ground at 48 Boylston!

Cardinal O’Malley, Governor Baker, Mayor Walsh, POUA President Lisa Alberghini, and St. Francis House President & CEO Karen LaFrazia were joined by leaders from business, government, and the private sector to celebrate the groundbreaking of this affordable housing development in downtown Boston. Check out photos!

From the beginning, we knew there was no better use for the renovation of this building than creating affordable housing.

Five years ago St. Francis House and the Planning Office embarked on a partnership to develop affordable housing at 48 Boylston Street. Since the beginning we shared a vision to create new affordable housing for those who are working but struggle to live in a home they can afford, and for people experiencing homelessness, especially those who are chronically homeless, and to provide the supports necessary to ensure they could thrive in their new home.

We took advantage of a unique opportunity. It is not often that one project can accomplish so much.

This renovation will preserve a beautiful piece of architecture, create 46 new units of affordable housing, enable us to relocate our administrative offices so we can expand our support services across the street and will create a new street level business that will add to the vitality of the neighborhood and provide training and employment opportunities.

But fundamentally the redevelopment of this property into affordable housing is helping to build an inclusive neighborhood; one that values social and economic diversity where people of all means will live together.

Nothing is more destabilizing to a community and to a human life than homelessness and poverty and nothing does more to rebuild a life than ensuring that every person can have a home and live with dignity. This historic renovation will preserve the stone and the spirit of this building.  By using this building to create affordable housing we are ensuring that people will find stability in the lives and that everyone has a place in this community. We are so thrilled that in just one short year, 46 men and women will call this building home!

Thank you to all of our partners for making this project possible.

From the very beginning, residents and business owners alike embraced this project. We are grateful to all our elected officials, especially Mayor Walsh, Secretary Galvin and Governor Baker, for their support, making this project possible. Because of their leadership and commitment to affordable housing, men and women once homeless will live a new life contributing to and enjoying in the vitality and prosperity of this neighborhood.

Check out photos here.

From ‘homeless’ to ‘neighbor’ in downtown Boston

48 Boylston has been completely redeveloped by St. Francis House to provide much needed affordable housing in the community, creating 46 units of affordable housing.

The completed development includes units to serve people who have experienced homelessness, and others with very modest incomes. Twenty-six of the units are reserved for individuals earning less than 30% of the area median income. In addition to the current 56 units available through our Next Step Housing program, this project will bring the total number of affordable housing units at St. Francis House to 102.

Social Enterprise and Community

A designated Boston Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building was constructed in 1875 and was operated by the Boston Young Men’s Christian Union (BYMCU) for more than 150 years to provide a variety of social, recreational and service programs.

In keeping with the building’s history, the 48 Boylston development will also provide benefits beyond housing. During the next phase of this project, St. Francis House will also be adding to the vitality of the neighborhood with a street-level business venture creating important employment opportunities for homeless individuals served by St. Francis House.

New Opportunity and Expansion

Additionally, the development of 48 Boylston Street has allowed St. Francis House to relocate its corporate offices. By moving these spaces across the street, we have opened up 7,000 square feet of space allowing us to create a recovery service center at 39 Boylston Street.

Taken together, this building project has not only created badly needed affordable housing, but has opened the doors for St. Francis House to explore more employment training, create new jobs for homeless individuals, and expand our social services for the vulnerable populations of Boston.

St. Francis House, POUA dedicate downtown Boston affordable housing, May 31, 2019, The Pilot

New Affordable Housing Development Opened in Downtown Boston, May 29, 2019, Boston.gov

St. Francis House residents tour future home in historic downtown building, December 23, 2018, Boston Globe

How the tax law hurts charitable giving and affordable housing, February 8, 2018, Boston Globe Opinion

Historic Boston building gets blessing for housing, January 17, 2018, Boston Herald

Officials Celebrate Rarity: Affordable Housing in Downtown Boston, January 16, 2018, State House News Service

Governor Baker announces $90 million investment in affordable housing, August 16, 2016, Mass.Gov

Baker Administration Announces Affordable Housing Development Awards, August 16, 2016, Banker & Tradesman

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Affordable Housing Development Awards, August 16, 2016 RealEstateRama

Buscan vivienda para familias de bajos ingresos, August 16, 2016, Telemundo Boston with video (Spanish and English)

Here are 26 Affordable Housing Projects that just got $90m in state money, August 16, 2016, Boston Business Journal
Affordable Housing Projects in Massachusetts Will Help Those In Need, August 15, 2016, NECN with videoclip
Baker administration awards $90 million to affordable housing projects, August 15, 2016, MassLive.com
Links sought between shelter and services with new affordable housing investment, August 15, 2016, Berkshire Eagle
$90M awarded to communities to house homeless families, August 15, 2016, Channel 22 with videoclip
State awards $90 million to 26 Affordable Housing Projects in Massachusetts, Aug 15, 2016, Beacon Hill Patch