Allston / Brighton

Non-profit organization helps families stay in Allston-Brighton
By Adrienne Lamplough

Confident and 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 Allston-Brighton.

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 said.

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

Gonzalez 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.

-Page 2 Affordable Housing-

More Stories

Allston/Brighton Home
1) High Rent
2) Renting in Allston

3)Non Profit

  -Affordable Housing
-Pilot Mortgage Progam
-Counseling and Support

Links

Allston/Brighton CDC Website
Mass Legal Help Website

 

 

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