Boston Mayor Menino, U.S. Rep. Capuano, and HUD Declare 'It's Great to Grow Green' at Covenant House in Brighton

Oct 25, 2010, 20:42 ET from B'nai B'rith Housing New England

BRIGHTON, Mass., Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Congressman Michael Capuano, regional representatives of U.S. Housing and Urban Development, and other local and state officials today hailed a 15 percent energy reduction and $40,000 annual saving that result from work under a $2.7 million HUD "green" grant implemented by B'nai B'rith Housing New England at Covenant House Properties in Brighton.

Under the Green Recovery Act of federal economic stimulus funds, "One of the first awards went to Covenant House," said Raymond Jordan, New England Faith Based and Community Initiative Liaison for the New England Region of HUD. The three-building, 242-unit complex on Washington Street in Brighton now has new windows, an efficient cogeneration plant, and other environmentally advanced features.

Following a ceremonial planting of a dogwood tree in a garden in front of the B'nai B'rith Housing New England's offices, Massachusetts Sen. Steven Tolman and Rep. Kevin Honan, Boston City Council President Michael Ross and City Councilor Mark Ciommo also spoke at this morning's event.

More than 100 people attended the event, including some residents. All of the 312 residents will receive "green" gift bags containing environmentally advanced products, such as cleaning solution and light bulbs.

They were welcomed by Susan L. Gittelman, Executive Director of B'nai B'rith Housing New England, who noted BBHNE's goal of creating "housing of the highest quality for those in need," and Marvin Siflinger, president of the BBHNE board of directors, who said, "I tell you, we're doing great."

Siflinger recalled his time as regional head of HUD in New England, when the organization first approved the creation of Covenant House, and HUD's Jordan called Siflinger "the dean of affordable housing in this country."

Jordan said that by applying for and winning the grant BBHNE was "taking advantage of the greening of America" under the Sustainable Communities Act.

"It's great to be celebrating a multimillion-dollar investment to 'green' this property … to make sure our carbon footprint is eradicated," said Boston Mayor Menino, adding that work like that on display today can create jobs. "This greening is going to make a real difference in people's lives and help Boston meet our climate-change goals."

Rep. Capuano called the work "important stuff," said it's hard to do but necessary, and noted it would be "good for the people who live in the building 20 years from now."

"I don't know how many different ways we can say it's great to grow green," said State Sen. Tolman, who represents Allston-Brighton. "This is almost $3 million of putting people back to work."

State Rep. Honan, who heads the legislative housing committee, also praised the Covenant House improvements, and introduced City Council President Ross, who said, "The work that's being done here will pay for itself. It's the smart thing to do."

Councilor Ciommo, who represents the district, credited the city's Department of Neighborhood Development for programs like its weatherization initiative. "The quality of life improvement for residents in a building like this is a model for other neighborhoods," he said.

Siflinger credited B'nai B'rith Housing New England's leadership and Property Manager Covenant House Susan Rack of Barkan Management for spearheading the renovation effort.


B'nai B'rith Housing New England (BBHNE) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create much needed affordable housing in the communities of Greater Boston.  It developed and operates the three Covenant House properties located in Brighton, which include in 242 units of affordable housing occupied by low-income elderly and disabled individuals. BBHNE also developed 33Comm (also known as the Covenant Residences on Commonwealth) in Chestnut Hill, a mixed-income residential community, and is in the early stages of planning an affordable residential complex in Sudbury. For more information, please visit

SOURCE B'nai B'rith Housing New England