MBHP honors property owners for excellence in providing safe, affordable housing

Honorees included Maria Barros; David Rufo, owner of Clifton Management; and Robert Nakashian


BOSTON–On March 12, MBHP held an event to celebrate the property owner—and there was a lot to celebrate.

Robert Nakashian, Maria Barros and David Rufo, recipients of MBHP's Property Owner Appreciation AwardThe occasion was the twelfth annual Property Owner Appreciation Evening. Hosted by Bank of America, the reception was held to recognize the contributions property owners and managers make in providing safe, affordable housing for families who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness. The housing agency took the evening as an opportunity to honor the exceptional commitment of three landlords: Maria Barros; David Rufo, owner of Clifton Management; and Robert Nakashian.

MBHP provides rental assistance to 8,866 households, 5,051 of which are elderly or living with disabilities. In addition to work with tenants and prospective tenants, the housing agency also provides training and support to 4,300 local property owners and managers to provide education on rules and regulations, connect them with resources in the community, and
offer guidance on best practices.

“Property owners and managers play an integral role in ensuring that the homes our families and individuals rent are safe and affordable,” said Chris Norris, executive director of MBHP. “We thank them for their efforts and especially recognize our three award winners for going above and beyond our expectations to help meet their tenants’ needs.”

Barry Bluestone speaks at MBHP's twelfth annual Property Owner Appreciation Evening

Joining MBHP in thanking these owners for their efforts was Barry Bluestone, founding director of Northeastern University’s Dukakis Center for
Urban and Regional Policy. In his keynote address, Bluestone spoke at length about the changing demographics of the Boston area and the effect it has and will continue to have on the housing market. Namely, the increased, unmet demand for rental units created by both an aging Baby Boomer generation that want to stay in their home communities, but not in their three-story single-family homes, and younger Millennials who are putting off home ownership in the suburbs in favor of renting apartments near city centers.

“We need more rental units,” said Bluestone. “We need to free up rental homes for low- and moderate-income families.” Referring to the traditional triple-deckers, he said, “Quite frankly, the kind of housing we have for working families is the only housing they are going to be able to afford.”

Bluestone also called for zoning reform and regulatory relief to make it possible to build more housing for the growing population.

Calling on property owners to be a part of the solution, he said, “We have a lot to do in Boston, a lot to do in Massachusetts, with your help, to fulfill what I would like to call the moral obligation to house all our people in decent, affordable housing. And, at the same time, in doing it, fulfill the economic necessity of providing affordable housing that can help maintain young people in our community without kicking out the working families in our community, thus maintain our economic prosperity.”

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