After a year long battle, tenants at Esperanza Trust and Fort Hill Gardens, two properties totaling 80 units in Roxbury, are finally seeing some positive changes. Without any Section 8 funding coming to either building for a year, much needed repairs were not addressed while tenants were left wondering what would happen when Section 8 contracts end in 2020.
The current owner, Pitts, at first tried illegally to get out of the Section 8 contract early, but was blocked by HUD when MAHT organized tenants in 2017. HUD forced Pitts to hire Cruz Management. Cruz was able to stabilize the property and secure release of HUD subsidies in March 2018.
This fall, Pitts offered the buildings for sale, triggering a state-sponsored “preservation” sale to Vitus Corporation, based in Seattle, Washington. Under the state’s “expiring use” housing law, Vitus has agreed to extend Section 8 for at least 30 years, and to bring the deteriorating buildings up to code using state loans and subsidies.
On December 3, more than 20 tenants (photo above) met with Vitus’ Scott Langan and architect Andreas Romero to discuss renovation plans. Vitus is selecting a new management company and confirmed that the sale should be final by February, with renovations to begin in the summer. This will preserve 80 at-risk apartments in the gentrifying Fort Hill neighborhood of Roxbury, for current and future lower income families!
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