Blessed Sacrament
The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation has a mission. It is to develop affordable housing and economic opportunity initiatives in the area. With that in mind, the organization, in partnership with the New Atlantic Development Corporation, acquired the 3.2 acre Blessed Sacrament Campus in Jamaica Plain. The plan was to develop affordable housing and some retail space.

The first of the initial two projects on the site was to build a new four-story building on the corner of Centre and Creighton Streets that would be an affordable housing cooperative comprised of 36 apartments and ground floor retail space. The other project involved the renovation of an abandoned convent on the site into 29 single occupancy units. The units would be for formerly homeless people and would be managed by Pine Street Inn, an organization that serves the needs of the homeless population.

According to Richard Thal, executive director of the JPNDC, the projects had the support of the city and the state. But once the economy crashed, many of its funding commitments disappeared, and with weeks away from starting to build, the projects were put on hold.

Blessed Sacrament building

This went on for a year.

And then came the stimulus program. JPNDC along with New Atlantic Development applied for stimulus grants to fund what had been lost. Through stimulus' TCAP program and the Tax Credit Exchange, a total of $9.75 million was awarded for the building projects.

"Getting the stimulus money was the difference between failure and success," says Thal. "The market for investing in affordable housing projects shrunk drastically and suddenly it was difficult to get investors."

The project is currently in the process of being built and Thal anticipates that it will be completed by October 2010.

"These are 65 homes that are being created," he said.