In 1969, through the vision of Msgr. Michael F. Groden and the leadership of Cardinal Richard Cushing, the Planning Office for Urban Affairs, Inc. was established. Today, nearly 50 years and 3,000 units of housing later, the Planning Office remains firmly rooted in its mission to create vibrant communities and work for social justice on behalf of all those who are housing deprived.
Pope Paul VI, in celebrating World Peace Day in 1972, said "If you want peace, work for justice." We believe that a decent, safe and affordable home for all people is at the very heart of a just society. Without a home, finding a job, educating your children, feeding and caring for your family and being an active member of your community is impossible, and without these things there is no opportunity for justice and peace. Having a decent, affordable home affects literally every aspect of our lives, and not having one devastates even the strongest among us.
The Catholic Church has long been involved in housing the homeless, and those of modest means, in a manner that respects human dignity and encourages the personal development of each individual in our collective community. It is within that context, and with that charge, that we get our direction and pursue our work.
Over the past several years the Planning Office for Urban Affairs (POUA) has completed or made significant progress on key developments in Brookline; Salem; Haverhill; Billerica; Hanover; Brockton; and the South End, Mattapan and Dorchester neighborhoods of Boston. Our newest work includes developing a $68m large urban mixed-use, mixed-income project in Haverhill that includes residential, office, retail and educational components; working to purchase a property in downtown Boston for conversion to housing to help keep affordable housing options in the Chinatown/Midtown neighborhoods; developing a new residential community along the Fairmount line in Mattapan; and creating the first safe house in the City of Boston for victims of human trafficking. In undertaking this work we have formed exciting partnerships with the Greater Haverhill Foundation; St. Francis House; and Caribbean Integration Community Development.
In addition to our housing development work, POUA continues its strong advocacy efforts to increase affordable housing resources, avoid foreclosures and address homelessness. It is our hope that these efforts, along with those of countless other advocates in our housing community, will renew the commitment to providing affordable housing for all those in need that is so lacking in our current culture.
Finally, and most importantly, we are deeply grateful to our parish, financial and community partners who have worked so hard with us to accomplish our shared objectives (please see our Partners and Supporters page). We simply could not carry out our mission without your support. Thank you, on behalf of our Office and all those we have the honor to serve.
Lisa B. Alberghini, President