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Impact Story: Building community power through real estate

Impact StoriesBII in the Media
Map of East Boston showing red dots where the acquired houses are.

East Boston has the highest concentration of Latinos in the city: 50.4% as of 2020. Thousands of working-class families have found affordable housing here, but with the real estate boom, rents have risen steadily and new luxury apartment and condo complexes are proliferating.

That’s why the new East Boston Neighborhood Trust is such a game-changer: It will keep 114 units permanently affordable and controlled by residents and community advocates. It is the first mixed-income neighborhood trust (MINT) in Massachusetts.

“This was our first real estate transaction through BII’s Fund II, and we see enormous potential to do more,” says BII CEO Betty Francisco. “Community ownership and control not only protect affordable housing, but also keep the revenue and wealth these projects create within their neighborhoods.”

In a new article for Impact Entrepreneur, Francisco shares the story of how the EBNT came together: from the affordable housing advocates who first saw the opportunity to take back and protect a large number of affordable apartments for community members, to the extraordinary collaboration that raised more than $50 million for the deal, to the thoughtful design that will ensure these properties are kept truly affordable, and truly owned and controlled by the community.

Note: A very short version of this story appears in the BII 2022 Impact Report.