Boston Opens Supportive Housing Community: Huntington at Symphony Provides Range of State-Funded Medical and Social Services

Article excerpt

It used to be known as The Riviera.

Located adjacent to the New England Conservatory of Music and just up the street from Symphony Hall, the 90-unit apartment building in Boston's Fenway neighborhood was once home to theatrical personalities and musicians, including renowned Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler.

In the early 1990's, the landmark structure at 270 Huntington Avenue housed a mere 15 legitimate residents who lived in fear of the prostitutes and drug dealers who had appropriated the property.

The other 75 condominium units had been abandoned by speculative investors in 1989 following the crash of the 1980's real estate market.

Earlier this year, the building was reborn as Huntington at Symphony, a model supportive housing community that is the largest public-private partnership of its kind in Massachusetts.

Staffed 24 hours a day, Huntington at Symphony provides residents with a full range of state-funded medical and social services. Twenty-five units are designated for the formerly homeless elderly and 24 are for persons with AIDS, mental disabilities and other special needs. The remaining 20 non-subsidized units are rented to low-income working individuals.

Six units are used for staff and office space, and the ground floor is now occupied by a veterinary clinic, printing shop and pizzeria. The studio units are fully furnished, complete with pots and pans and linens, and have project-based Section 8 subsidies.

"It makes me proud that we are continuing our efforts to meet the housing and service needs of some of Boston's most vulnerable people," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino at the March 14 ribbon- cutting ceremony. "I thank the developers, funding agencies and the Fenway neighborhood for sending a message that says elderly, homeless, sick, and low-income people will not be ignored in Boston."

The ceremony, held at the adjacent Huntington Theatre, was followed by an open house and tour of the premises. …