Montebello Rd. and future 461 Walnut Ave. residents want the same things

The homeless and hospice housing to be developed at 461 Walnut Ave. is opposed by residents who made a decision to move to Montebello Road knowing what the community is. They seek to change that to match their own view of what they want. The same opponents have options and resources far and away beyond the residents who will live at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) housing. Those formerly homeless residents have few choices and fewer resources; they have champions in Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), the BHCHP and those of us who believe that housing is a right.

The opponents maintain they want a safe place to live and raise families. The BHCHP staff and the JPNDC chose 461 Walnut Ave. for exactly those same reasons.

The families of residents and the residents themselves who will live there want the exact same things as the homeowners who live around them: a stable community where they can live. They don’t want crime any more than the homeowners. They want to use Franklin Park, too.

Egleston Square has not been ignored; it just has not changed in ways satisfactory to the Montebello advocates.

The existing multi-family housing in Egleston Square was preserved by Urban Edge using project-based subsidies over the past 20 years. This provided stability for a long-existing working class community and prevented their displacement by the post-elevated-Orange-Line-demolition gentrification that has swept up so much of the housing of Egleston Square.

It is the same stability and economic diversity that JPNDC and the BHCHP desired when they chose 461 Walnut Ave. for housing residents with few resources and fewer options.

Richard Heath
Jamaica Plain

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