- Associated Press - Sunday, April 27, 2014

LYNN, Mass. (AP) - They named it Green House but local housing aid workers hope newly renovated 93-95 Green St. will be a stopover place for homeless people on their way to living in long-term housing.

Torn down to its frame and rebuilt by Revere developer Rob Nakashian and his crew, the former three-story apartment building - beginning this month - is a temporary home for individuals and families now living in hotels and motels.

The building’s 21 bedrooms feature high ceilings and new beds sold at a discount to the Lynn Shelter Association by North Shore Furniture. Residents will share a common kitchen with a small refrigerator and cupboard assigned to each individual or family.

Green House Director Danielle Rossewey said the new residents - mostly young women and their children - were set to move in last week.

Homeless individuals living in hotel and motel rooms paid for with state tax dollars surged from 600 in 2006, according to Rossewey and Shelter Director Marjorie St. Paul, to 1,869.

State housing officials previously worked with agencies like the shelter association to move homeless people out of motels and into long-term housing. Rossewey said the move proved to be too rapid of a change for homeless individuals who need assistance, including education, job training and child care, before they could afford long-term housing.

St. Paul said state officials revised the transition plan to steer people from hotels and motels to congregate housing programs like Green House.

“We’re literally emptying a motel in here,” Rossewey said.

St. Paul met Nakashian through Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development planner Norman Cole and scrambled to work with the developer to renovate 93-95 Green St. in time to meet state congregate housing standards.

“He had literally six weeks to make this happen,” St. Paul said.

Nakashian preserved some of the building’s architectural features, including hardwood floors, while making sure the building meets multi-resident fire codes. He will continue owning the building, with the association paying him to use it as a residence.

“It’s for the community,” he said.

St. Paul said individuals and families will live in Green House six to nine months and work with association employees to arrange child care, obtain health benefits and the assistance they need to find and keep jobs. The skills-building process starts, Rossewey said, with residents obtaining a GED certificate before obtaining additional education.

St. Paul said Green House’s first residents include a woman caring for four grandchildren and currently living in a motel room.

“We will help get the kids into preschool so she has some downtime,” St. Paul said.

She said the association hopes to work on other housing projects with Nakashian and his family.

State officials want to initially provide 700 congregate housing beds for homeless stuck in hotels and motels and double that number through next year.

“Being able to ensure families go from a place where they are not getting any help to getting services is important,” St. Paul said.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide