I am signing this petition to support the FOUR demands of the Fairlawn Tenant Association:
- Keep rents for Section 8 tenants within the payment standard
- Keep rent increases for market tenants to a manageable affordable cap of 2% per year maximum. Resolve outstanding cases of members fighting rent increases, such as the three in the picture.
- Fix the poor conditions in all of our apartments. That includes addressing pest and mold issues in the apartments, providing adequate security for the buildings so that we can feel safe in our homes, and allow our children to play outside by providing a safe area such as a playground or park where they can play.
- Meet with the Fairlawn Tenant Association to work out a long-term plan for the tenants of this building.
For decades, Fairlawn Apartments in Mattapan was affordable for families, especially low-income families of color and recent immigrants. But since DSF Group bought this 347+ unit apartment complex in 2018, they have displaced many of these families. Now, these residents are fighting to stay in their homes.
Although Mattapan is located within the city, it did not have a stop on the Fairmount Commuter rail line, which had passed through the community for decades. Mattapan residents, along with civic leaders and community activists, believed a train stop in Mattapan would help Mattapan become more accessible and encourage better economic development. For nearly 20 years, these residents worked diligently to bring this train stop to their community. The new Blue Hill Avenue stop on the Fairmont line opened in February 2019.
In July of 2018, months before the new Blue Hill Avenue stop opened, DSF Group, which is managed by Corcoran Management Company, purchased Fairlawn Apartments for $65 million dollars. DSF Group came to Fairlawn Apartments to take advantage of the community's hard work and the new train stop. They quickly rebranded Fairlawn Apartments as “SoMa Apartments at the T” as a means to erase the history and culture of the Mattapan community.
Long-term residents such as Ms. Betty Lewis, Ms. Annie Gordon and Mr. Jean Antoine ((pictured)) along with several other tenants all received new leases with rent increases ranging from $265 to $565 dollars. DSF Group has raised the rents of some families by as high as 20 -50%. When tenants refused to sign these new lease agreements, DSF demanded that these now tenants-at-will pay an additional $500 on top of the new rent increases. A large percentage of these current tenants have been at Fairlawn Apartments for decades and live on fixed incomes. In addition, many Fairlawn residents hold Section 8 vouchers.
In the beginning of 2019, a group of Fairlawn tenants met, and with the help of City Life/Vida Urbana, formed the Fairlawn Tenant Association to fight against high rent increases and bad living conditions.
The displacement crisis has affected many communities in Boston. Countless families have been displaced and many communities have been destroyed through gentrification. Tenants at Fairlawn are fighting to remain in their homes and their community. These tenants, along with city officials, and City Life/Vida Urbana organizers, met with Corcoran Management once in July. A second meeting was scheduled and then cancelled by Corcoran Management. The Fairlawn Tenant Association is requesting that Corcoran Management re-schedule a meeting with representatives from the Fairlawn Tenant Association to discuss new leases and other issues.
Thank you for signing this petition in support of the members and families of the Fairlawn Tenants Association