FBMS to Convert Brockton Hotel into Permanent Supportive Housing for Homeless Individuals

With support from the Baker-Polito administration, Roadway is a first-in-the-state conversion project

[BROCKTON, Mass., Tuesday, October 12, 2021] On Tuesday, members of the Baker-Polito Administration joined Brockton city officials and the team at Father Bill’s & MainSpring (FBMS), a regional leader of services to prevent and end homelessness, to tour a project underway to convert the former Rodeway Inn, located at 1005 Belmont St., into new, permanent supportive housing for 69 formerly homeless individuals. Renamed the Roadway, the conversion – a first for Massachusetts – is being hailed as a game-changer in how the state and local providers can address homelessness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Stable housing provides a foundation for people to thrive, and we are proud to invest in this dynamic project, which is a first for the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Father Bill’s and MainSpring are creating a model to leverage existing resources to meet the needs of a vulnerable community.  We are proud to support this project, and congratulate all of the partners involved who worked to bring this project to fruition.”

“The lack of affordable housing in the Commonwealth hurts all of our communities, and as COVID-19 revealed, it is a public health crisis. Today’s project is the result of creative strategies to address the impact the global pandemic has had on our state, especially the most vulnerable among us,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “We are thrilled to support this innovative and ground-breaking project that furthers our efforts to combat homelessness and address our lack of affordable, supportive housing to help people succeed across Massachusetts.”

The conversion project follows FBMS’ use of the site as a satellite emergency shelter since June 2020, which has allowed for social distancing among guests of its main shelter, the MainSpring House in downtown Brockton.

In September 2021, MassDevelopment issued a $5.3 million tax-exempt bond on behalf of Roadway Apartments LLC, an affiliate of Father Bill’s & MainSpring, Inc., as part of the funding package to renovate and convert the site into housing units for formerly homeless individuals. Eastern Bank purchased the bond.

“Every person deserves access to safe, stable, and affordable housing, and Father Bill’s & MainSpring, Inc. is a regional leader in that mission,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “MassDevelopment is proud to be a partner as the organization works to repurpose a formerly vacant motel into housing, creating a vital pathway out of homelessness for individuals in need.”

In addition to MassDevelopment’s tax-exempt bonds, the Department of Housing and Community Development will support the long-term ownership and operation of the project with subsidy funds, federal tax credits, and project-based vouchers. DHCD’s assistance will also help Father Bill’s & MainSpring provide supportive services to Roadway tenants.

FBMS also worked with the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC), a quasi-public community development financial institution, that provides early-stage financing to Massachusetts’ non-profit affordable housing developers and works closely with DHCD on supportive housing development.

“CEDAC is proud to support the incredible work of Father Bill’s & MainSpring as they take on this extraordinary project,” said Roger Herzog, Executive Director of CEDAC. “We worked closely with our partners to establish the feasibility of this new model of permanent supportive housing for persons experiencing homelessness and look forward to replicating it across the Commonwealth.”

The $10.1 million conversion project will reduce Brockton’s individual shelter population by 50 percent, with future investments in housing needed to maintain those gains and achieve further progress.

Funding for the Roadway apartments was also provided by the Arbella Insurance Foundation, Beth Israel Lahey Health, and the Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance (MHSA).

“This conversion is a vital step in protecting our neighbors in need during a public health crisis and making sure we don’t return to an overcrowded shelter system,” said John Yazwinski, FBMS’ President & CEO. “We are grateful to the Baker-Polito administration, the administration of Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan, and all of our partners in the public and private sectors for their support in making this exiting project a reality.”

“This is about collaboration. We’re working with Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, Secretary Kennealy — people who understand how compassionate we need to be,” said Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan. “John Yazwinski and his team do it every single day. Every single day they’re trying to make a difference here in Brockton. I’m so proud to be here, not just as a mayor, but I’m proud to be here as a lifelong Brocktonian.”

The project involves the creation of 69 efficiency-style apartments and will result in the addition of kitchenettes to existing hotel rooms, which already have their own private bathrooms. Additional site improvements include a common laundry room and electrical, mechanical and life safety systems. Similar conversions of hotels into efficiency apartments are being done in California, Oregon, and Washington State.

The conversion is occurring in stages to allow for the continued operation of the satellite shelter, with the first group of guests expected to move into their newly renovated apartments next month. All tenants will move in by next spring, at which point the property will no longer be utilized as a shelter. Preference will be given to the individuals who have been staying at the satellite shelter during the pandemic. Tenants will have access to FBMS case managers who will help them remain housed and become more self-sufficient.

FBMS currently manages more than 600 permanent supportive housing units for formerly homeless individuals, families, and Veterans across Southern Massachusetts. In total, 93 percent of FBMS tenants remain housed for at least three years.

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About Father Bill’s & MainSpring

Father Bill’s & MainSpring (FBMS) is the leading provider of services to prevent and end homelessness in Southern Massachusetts. The agency, founded in the early 1980s by a group of interfaith and community leaders, helps more than 5,000 people annually who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. FBMS, a proud partner of the United Way of Greater Plymouth County and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency with administrative offices in Quincy and Brockton and program offices throughout Southern Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.helpfbms.org.