Home is the Foundation

Roles: Director of Real Estate Development, Teacher

Tell us a little about where you grew up?

I’m a Southie girl – I grew up at West Broadway Homes, a public housing development in South Boston, MA. My mom, brother and I lived in a third floor apartment for about 10 years. It was small but our home was filled with love, hard work and hope. I especially felt that sense of hope when after four years of being on the waitlist, my mom’s name was called to move to one of the newly developed town homes at West Broadway. I was ecstatic that for my quinceañera I got more space and my own bedroom.

How did that experience shape you as a person/how did that impact the path that you followed in life?

West Broadway is a main road in South Boston, and also a dividing line between the haves and the have-nots. One side was affluent, often young and white population in new luxury residential and office buildings. The other side was largely low-income families of color, many of them (like my mom), immigrants. Witnessing the drastic and inequitable change in my neighborhood inspired me to pursue a career building quality homes where low-income people of color can thrive.

Why is affordable housing important now?

Having a safe, stable, affordable, and high-quality place to call home within a thriving community is a human right. Housing is one of the largest expenses for many families and among the most impactful factors as to whether a family will be stuck in cycles of poverty. Now more than ever we must ensure that as many low-income families as possible have access to the quality affordable housing that is key for all of our well-being.

"While the systemic issues stemming from poverty and inequality were present in our neighborhood, I also felt a sense of community and hope— especially when, after four years of being on the wait list, my mom’s name was called to move to one of the newly developed town homes.”
Jaissa Feliz

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