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Pine Street Inn Gets Key Approval For Boston's Largest Housing Development For People Who've Been Homeless

A rendering of the permanent housing project on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain. (Courtesy Boston Planning & Development Agency)
A rendering of the permanent housing project on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain. (Courtesy Boston Planning & Development Agency)

Pine Street Inn, the homeless shelter and housing provider, has gotten the green light from Boston's planning agency to build the city's largest-ever permanent housing development for people who've been homeless for long periods.

The Boston Planning & Development Agency on Thursday evening approved the development, which is planned for 3368 Washington St. in Jamaica Plain. The building will replace the current warehouse and office space at the site with 140 units for single adults who've been chronically homeless and support services for those residents. Another 62 units will be income-restricted for families.

"I think what it shows is that when we collaborate together and we work with the nonprofits — Pine Street Inn here in this particular case — and all of the community together, we can accomplish great things," said Mayor Marty Walsh.

The apartment building is being developed and will be managed by nonprofit The Community Builders. The city's Zoning Board of Appeals still has to review the project and grant some zoning variances for it to proceed.

Pine Street Inn President and Executive Director Lyndia Downie said the building is a big step in the city's plan to scale up permanent supportive housing.

"If you're homeless and trying to find vacant unit [in the city], you're most likely not going to be on top of the list. You're going to be competing with everyone else," she said, adding that the city's vacancy rate is around 3%. "There's just not enough supply, and this is a way to add to the supply and to build something that's specifically geared to people who not only need something they can afford, but they need some help with a whole variety of things on the support end."

Pine Street Inn hopes to break ground next year and complete construction on the project in 2020.

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Lynn Jolicoeur Twitter Producer/Reporter
Lynn Jolicoeur is the field producer for WBUR's All Things Considered. She also reports for the station's various local news broadcasts.

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