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HCA, in transition, unveils 2 projects

$22.6M  nets 48 units, food-pantry space, set-asides for homeless

Downing Square photo, HCA 2021 newsletterDowning Square

Photo 117 Broadway, 2017 HCA newsletter117 Broadway

The Housing Corporation of Arlington, a nonprofit in transition, held a ribbon-cutting for two projects, years in the making, that are expected to result in 48 units of housing described as affordable and 2,500 square feet of community food-pantry space.

Five of the housing units are set aside for the homeless who will receive subsidies and services from the Somerville Homeless Coalition, the HSA says. Funding for the projects totaled $22.6 million when it was approved in 2019.

The name of the project -- the Downing Square Broadway Initiative -- combines two town locations, one in East Arlington and one near the Heights. 

Schedule of events

In-person tours of 117 Broadway, near the Thompson School, and Downing Square, where five streets intersect, at Parke Street Extension, are set for Thursday, Dec. 2.

In-person and virtual person speaking events follow. The event schedule: 

2 p.m.: Meet at 117 Broadway for a building tour.

2:45 p.m.: Meet at Downing Square for a building tour.

3 p.m.: Ribbon-cutting ceremony at Downing Square.

3:45 p.m.: Brief spoken recognition of the project funders, leaders and supporters at Covenant Church, across from Downing Square at 9 Westminster Ave.

If you can't make it in person, join virtually for the speaking portion of the event at 3:45 p.m. by clicking on this Zoom link >> 

(Meeting ID: 781 646 9027; password: downing)

Executive-director search

Both projects transformed parts of two neighborhoods under the watch of Pamela Hallett, who was executive director of the HCA from 2012 until last June, when her services were no longer needed. She heads her consulting firm near Chicago.

An HCA newsletter announcing the Dec. 2 ribbon-cutting says that Hallett has "transitioned out of the role" of executive director. YourArlington asked Hallett and HCA officials to comment about why Hallett left, but all chose not to agree that individual comments be published.

The HCA newsletter was generous in praising Hallett. 

"Under Pam’s leadership," the newsletter says, "HCA achieved significant success in its mission to provide, and advocate for, affordable housing in Arlington, including developing 92 units of affordable rental housing.

"Pam was also instrumental in growing HCA’s Homelessness Prevention Program, which has helped hundreds of families and individuals avoid the devastating crisis of homelessness. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Pam expanded the Homelessness Prevention Program to launch the temporary Emergency Response Initiative, which offers financial support to stabilize families and individuals directly impacted by the pandemic.

"Over many years, Pam has supported, and advocated for, policy initiatives, planning and zoning improvements, and a wide range of community activities that strongly contribute to the social and economic diversity in Arlington. HCA and the Arlington community are deeply grateful for Pam’s efforts to make Arlington a more livable, diverse and affordable community. The board members of HCA express our deepest thanks to Pam and wish her well."

Interim hired

HCA has hired Jeff Katz to serve as interim executive director, as directors conduct an executive search. Katz is a senior consultant with more than 40 years of experience serving nonprofit organizations and has served as interim executive director of 12 organizations, including three community-development corporations and a homeless shelter, the newsletter says.

Leading the search for a new executive director is Ann L. Silverman Consulting, a local firm that leads executive and senior management searches for community-development corporations, affordable-housing developers and funders in New England and beyond.

Tom Nee, HCA board president, responded in general to spoecific queries from YourArlington Oct. 19:

"Potential candidate’s key qualifications are in the process of being finalized with our search consultant Ann L Silverman Consulting. We are wrapping up numerous stakeholders’ interviews to help develop the criteria for consideration. We expect this to be completed in the coming weeks. While we continue the search process, we are excited to bring the Downing Square Broadway Initiative project online and we are targeting occupancy during the next few months.

"HCA will continue to serve its mission to provide and advocate for decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families and individuals in Arlington and surrounding communities, while promoting social and economic diversity. This will include our goal to continue to develop additional affordable housing opportunities in Arlington."

March 1, 2019: Housing at Downing Square, Broadway funded

This news summary was published Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.

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