The mission of the Commonwealth Tenants Association (CTA) is to build community leadership and improve the quality of life for residents of the Commonwealth Housing Development and the 91-95 Washington Street Apartments for the elderly and disabled, both located in Brighton, MA. These two housing developments have a culturally diverse population of over 1,000 tenants.

Unlike other public housing associations, all tenants over the age of 18 are considered members of the CTA, with the board of directors elected from this general membership. The CTA works to accomplish its mission through advocacy, organizing, education, employment, and youth programs. Recent successful programs include:

  • Creating a computer learning center with 10 computers and Internet access.
  • Connecting 85 Boston College student volunteers to the youth within the Development through our after-school and tutoring programs.
  • Establishing a monthly food distribution program in partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank that serves over 250 residents each month.
  • Offering a collaborative workshop with Facing History and Ourselves to unite youth and elder residents. Over 30 youth and elderly residents worked together on art projects and held discussion circles based on movies shown and distributed materials.
  • Providing weekly coffee-hours where normally isolated residents have an opportunity to socialize, discuss Development issues, and connect with their community.

As a result of the CTA’s hard work, the Development is now a national model for successful public housing , and was featured in MIT Professor Lawrence J. Vale’s Reclaiming Public Housing: A Half Century of Struggle in Three Public Neighborhoods (2004).

The CTA is a strong and active force in guaranteeing services and suitable living conditions for tenants. The CTA is also a third party signatory to the management contract of the Development, making it one of only two housing developments in Boston to be privately managed. In this capacity the CTA works with the BHA and Corcoran Management Company to ensure a safe and well-maintained living environment; to establish residents as full partners in the management of their homes; and to empower residents as the true leaders and responsible stewards of their community.

The CTA has done much to better the lives of residents and improve the community, but there is still much more to be done. The unemployment rate is alarmingly high and more immigrant families are moving in every day, desperately needing services from the CTA. Unfortunately recent Boston Housing Authority and other state and federal budget cuts are threatening the vital programs and services provided by the CTA.

Please click here to find out more about how you can be involved.