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Northeastern to Keep Housing for Homeless in Former YMCA Building on Huntington Avenue

Northeastern bought the Boston YMCA facility on Huntington Avenue in July of 2012 and plans to turn it into a 720-bed dormitory.

In the new 17-story Northeastern dormitory set for construction on Huntington Avenue, 67 units that were part of a long-time transitional program for the homeless will be preserved, the university and the city of Boston announced last week.

In July, Northeastern University purchased 320 Huntington Avenue from the Greater Boston YMCA for $21 million. Last week, the college signed a 20-year lease with the city of Boston and others allowing 67 units of transitional housing to continue to operate in the “Hastings Wing” of the building. 

The Hastings Wing houses the Cardinal Medeiros Program, which has been assisting people transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing for 20 years. The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA), the program’s sponsor, in partnership with the Kit Clark Senior Services Cardinal Medeiros Program, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, and the City of Boston, signed a lease agreement with Northeastern University to continue operations of the program in the building.

Mayor Thomas Menino said the agreement furthers the City’s plan to end homelessness by preserving housing opportunities in Boston while also recognizing the need for Northeastern University’s continued growth. 

 “I applaud Northeastern University for working with us to preserve 67 units of transitional housing in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood,” Mayor Menino said. “I am pleased that the 20-year lease will allow Cardinal Medeiros Program to continue to provide services to the some of our most vulnerable citizens in the Hastings Wing of Building."

Neighbors have been opposed to the university's plans to buy the space since the tentative expansion plan was first announced in 2010. In February 2011, one thousand YMCA members signed a petition to save the building. The group Save the Boston Y attempted to list the building as a historical site, but the Boston Landmark Commission rejected the request.

The project was initially slated to be completed in 2013, but construction is now projected to last until 2014. The new dorm building will cost $100 million, according to the Boston Herald

Proceeds from the YMCA's sale to Northeastern will go towards a new YMCA gym and aquatics center. 

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