Elders came together with anti displacement organizers to defend an affordable housing proposal
Working class seniors and affordable housing activists have united to push a proposed housing project for low income seniors on Washington Street. City Life/Vida Urbana, together with members of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council, are calling on Turtle Swamp Brewing and their landlord, Monty Gold, to drop a lawsuit against their plan to construct 38 affordable apartments at 3371 Washington Street.
In recent months, over 1,3000 supporters signed a petition asking the brewery and Gold to stop litigating against affordable housing. On July 15, approximately 20 individuals began flyering for a series of afternoons in front of Turtle Swamp Brewing in Jamaica Plain. They continued to flyer for another two afternoons. The lawsuit also threatens El Embajador Restaurant, a Dominican-owned business.
“We’re concerned that these lawsuits, at bottom, aren’t about issues of construction or parking, because there clear ways to mitigate potential impacts in these realms,” said Alex Ponte-Capellan, a Housing Justice Organizer at City Life/Vida Urbana, in a press release. “Obstructing housing for low-income seniors is just perpetuating the economic struggles of our elders,” he said.
“If the plaintiffs really are concerned about potential risks to their business, they should know this: the real risk to their business is their own actions,” said Egleston Square resident Helen Matthews who, in recent years, organized with neighbors to bring the property into community ownership, in the same press release. “They’re just digging a hole for themselves, because standing in the way of housing for low-income elders is not a good look in our community; many neighbors won’t do business with them anymore, myself included,” added Matthews.
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.