Landlord may renew housing subsidy

February 8, 2008
By

DAVID TABER

Jamaica Plain landlord Francis Colannino is in negotiations with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to extend the Section 8 contract at an apartment complex he owns in Roslindale.

Colaninno also owns Forestvale apartments on Forest Hills Street in Jamaica Plain. In 2002, after community protest, Colaninno agreed to maintain Section 8 affordable housing subsidies for 90 units at the 108-unit complex. As the Gazette reported at the time, he had been planning to pay off a 40-year subsidized mortgage two years early, ending his obligations to the Section 8 program.

HUD spokesperson Christine Foye said HUD is currently working with Colannino to extend the Section 8 contract at Florence Apartments in Roslindale, which is set to expire in April 2008. “He, for all intents and purposes, has verbally agreed” preserve the 128 units of affordable housing there, Foye said.

“I’m not sure what’s holding it up,” she said.

A letter forwarded to the Gazette by Forestvale Tenant Association member and City Life/Vida Urbana organizer Kay Fallon indicated that Colaninno has applied to renew the Section 8 contract at Florence Apartments, but may “opt out” of the deal.

Colaninno sent a letter to tenants last April informing them that the contract would not be renewed.

Colaninno did not return calls from the Gazette by press time.

When landlords decline renew their contracts with HUD, residents are usually issued vouchers to maintain their residences or seek new accommodations, Foye said.

But contracts for a significant portion of Boston’s Section 8 affordable housing stock are expiring this decade. According to the City of Boston’s Leading the Way II Pre-Completion Report, released in April, 2007, contracts on 2,746 of the city’s 24,250 privately-owned Section 8 units expired last year.

As of March 2007, the city managed to maintain 2,205 of these units, the report said. The Florence units were presumably among 521 the city was then “working on preservation strategies” to maintain.

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