Non-profit organization helps families stay in Allston-Brighton
By Adrienne Lamplough
organized: That’s the best way for a prospective
renter to appear to a landlord.
Ashley Englander gives such advice regularly to would-be tenants
seeking affordable housing in Allston-Brighton.
“Looking for a house is like looking for a job,” Englander,
a homeowner and rental housing specialist, tells participants in
seminars run by the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation
A lot of work goes into finding a place to live that is both affordable
and clean, she said. Landlords and realtors will take a prospective
renter more seriously if they arrive prepared.
The CDC recommends that renters make a housing resume. Those that
do appear organized will be remembered. When looking for apartments,
Englander advises that people look in the newspaper and keep the
entire page and highlight the best apartments. Besides newspapers,
the best ways to finding an apartment are bulletin boards, the
Internet and word of mouth, she said.
Englander, along with Ava Chan, a community organizer at the Allston
Brighton CDC, led an informational discussion on April 27, 2004
with two Allston residents who are looking for a place to live.
Seminars like this are common for the organization. They are just
part of a half dozen ways the organization works with the community
to provide assistance and advice in helping individuals and families
find housing that falls within their means.
The Allston Brighton CDC helps people like Sergey Bozko, who attended
the meeting. Bozko has lived in the same apartment for the past
three years. When his lease is up in August he needs to find a
new place for his family to call home.
“I’m looking for an affordable two-bedroom with parking,” Bozko
said. Bozko’s request is a simple one in most neighborhoods,
but affordable housing in good condition is hard to come by in
Many residents find it hard to find anything they can afford when
the average two-bedroom apartments cost close to $1,400 a month
or nearly $17,000 a year, said Juan Gonzalez, director of community
organizing for the Allston Brighton CDC.
The continuous rent increases force people to move out, Gonzalez
The Allston Brighton CDC is trying to counteract this growing
problem. With families leaving because of high rent and inadequate
housing, the Allston Brighton CDC has been working with the community
to provide affordable housing along with informational seminars
teaching residents how to purchase homes and find places to rent.
The non-profit organization has also been developing programs,
such as the Pilot Mortgage Program that helps families get a mortgage
to purchase their first home.
“The generally accepted definition of affordability is for
a household to pay no more than 30 percent of its annual income
on housing. Families who pay more than 30 percent of their income
for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty
affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and
medical care,” according to the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development
understands the need to provide better and more affordable housing
to residents. Gonzalez used to rent in Allston but when
he and his wife wanted to purchase a home they found the prices
too high and had to move. Gonzalez now lives in Hyde Park.
2 Affordable Housing-