We Support the Use of Green Practices to Create Sustainable Communities
For many years, Boston LISC has supported green community development practices for their environmental benefits through small “green screening” grants, which provide very early support in defining goals, parameters and cost effectiveness of greening, and through larger grants passed from LISC’s national foundation supporters directly to Boston-area CDC projects. These grants funded green building projects such as rain catchment tanks and solar panels that provided electricity. Having realized in recent years that green practices are integral to building sustainable communities and provide additional benefits for affordable housing, such as lower energy bills, Boston LISC has now adopted a more active approach to greening Boston communities.
Currently, our strategy for greening Boston neighborhoods can be divided into three categories:
» Transit-Oriented Development (TOD): Residential and/or commercial areas should be designed in a way that maximizes access to public transportation, with the bulk of the development within walking distance of public transit stops. Not only are such developments more environmentally sustainable by encouraging the use of mass transit, but they also offer additional benefits such as opening up employment opportunities in other areas accessible by public transit and creating walkable, attractive communities to live and work in. Boston LISC has and will continue to support CDCs undertaking TOD in their communities through financing, technical assistance, and other forms of support.
» Green Affordable Housing: In line with our earlier support of “green screening”, Boston LISC will continue to assist CDCs with their efforts to green new housing developments. We will also help CDCs to implement green retrofits in affordable housing preservation projects, and in their existing rental portfolios in order to increase the energy efficiency and improve overall operations of these properties. Given the commitment of new federal monies for affordable housing retrofits and weatherization, and the increase in utility-funded conservation as a result of Massachusetts Green Communities Act, CDCs should make this a priority and utilize these new resources to improve their properties.
» Green Professional Development: Given that greening affordable housing is still a relatively new trend in the community development field, Boston LISC is committed to providing community developers with the knowledge and skills needed to successful undertake such projects.
Our work in this area is apparent in our lending and grant-making. Boston LISC has helped to convene the Fairmount Collaborative, a partnership of CDCs situated along the Fairmount Corridor, to bring TOD to their neighborhoods. We have supported the partnering organizations with important grants (from our national funding) for predevelopment planning, capacity building and foreclosure response and worked with other Fairmount Collaborative funders to redefine the Collaborative’s goals in the rapidly changing economic climate. Boston LISC has also provided direct predevelopment and acquisition support to the Fairmount CDCs for development of affordable housing in the Fairmount corridor.
Green Affordable HousingExamples of how Boston LISC has supported greening affordable housing developments include the following:
Green Professional Development
Boston LISC recently supported a LEED Accredited Professional training course for CDC project managers and other real estate staff. Thirty-Five CDC staff participated in this eight week course to increase their green development and LEED capacity and to prepare them to become LEED “accredited.” Twelve Participants are now LEED Accredited Professionals.
Additionally, Boston LISC, in conjunction with National LISC’s Preservation Initiative, hosted a Greening Affordable Housing workshop which was attended by over 100 CDC staff and other community development professionals. It included speakers on the new federal resources available and how to properly plan and execute a green retrofit. Boston LISC also released a new publication at this event on planning green rehabs, which can be accessed here.
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