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Create Space in Your Home by Getting Organized

Organize your space

by Julian Lane

Its the first day of autumn in New England. Start Now!

Does your home seem too small? That could be the case even if you live in a mansion, as that’s what happens when you’re not organized. Stuff just seems to spill out of the cupboards and closets and onto the floors and tables, making you wonder what happened to all those spare square feet you had when you moved in. You know exactly what the solution to this problem is, and yet getting everything in order seems so monumental that you don’t know where to begin. Here are a few suggestions that will make the whole thing quick and easy.

Purge Old Junk
Staying organized is impossible if you have too much stuff, so you need to get rid of some of it — for the sake of your own sanity. According to a writer with House Beautiful, cluttered environments overwhelm you and lead to stress, so there’s more at stake than just aesthetics. It’s not an easy task, though, so take it step by step and room by room, committing enough time to the process by saying “no” to distractions. The upside: You may be able to make some money by selling your undesirables at a yard sale.

Think Vertically
If you think there’s no more room, look up before you give up. Good Housekeeping has a few suggestions for using all that space from floor to ceiling, such as installing towel bars with hanging hooks on the wall in your kitchen, preferably near your stove or counter so you can reach for spoons, spatulas, and lids as you need them. Elsewhere, imagine a few anchors attached to the backs of doors with colorful tote bags where your kids can put their toys.

Expand Your Closets
Sure, you’re already using them, but probably not to the maximum. Your decluttering efforts have already freed up space previously taken up by clothes you haven’t worn in years, but there’s still work to be done. First, search for any extra cubbies and cases that you’re not using and use them to store shoes, books, and other items that don’t belong on your bedroom floor. Lastly, add another rod and more hangers to hang up whatever else you can.

Put Things in Storage
That sled does not belong in the closet in the middle of summer, and ditto for the surfboard when the snow is falling. If you have a basement or attic, use them. They are the perfect places for a number of bulky items, including holiday decorations and those pots and pans you only use when making a massive Thanksgiving dinner. Anything smaller can be put into labeled boxes so you can find them when you need them, but be sure not to include old photos or anything else that could be destroyed by excessive heat or humidity.

Divide Your Drawers
There’s more room in there than it seems, and some dividers will help you make the best use of it without spending any money as there’s a DIY solution. All you need is some cardboard, a box-cutter and a tape measure so everything fits into place. You need not be an expert handyman as the whole process simply involves cutting notches in the cardboard and fitting everything together to create divided cubby holes for better storage.

Shop Wisely
Once you’ve organized everything, don’t let it fall into chaos once more by spending money on stuff you don’t need that just take up space. In fact, Reader’s Digest has a
list of items that you should never buy for exactly this reason. Novelties and trendy clothes top the list, which should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, but there’s also fad cookware and dollar store items to say “no” to.

The takeaway is to use your brain when shopping or deal with the consequences. A place for everything, and everything in its place. That’s what you’ll get when you’re done with these efforts — and a bigger living space, or at least one that looks like it.

Image via Pexels

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Cigarette smokers want pot smoking banned in apartments and condos.

Even a licensed medical marijuana patient won’t get a break when apartment management and condo associations implement new rules against cannabis users.

The smell of pot smoke swirling around the building has pissed people off who don’t like it.

While most new luxury apartments ban all smokers, cigarette users have had freedom to smoke.

Now, condo associations are asking them to join a policy that allows tobacco and bans pot smoking from the premises.

Watch the sales of pot sniffing dog services, electronic smoke detectors installations and other evidence gathering techniques increase in volume as Massachusetts moves closer and closer to allowing retail stores to flourish.

While more than half of the 351 Massachusetts cities and town councils have voted to limit legalized cannabis retail shops from opening, City of Boston voted 8-1 in favor of legal retail street sales.

On the one hand, people want to be comfortable in their own home and smokers can make people uncomfortable. On the other hand people believe it is a violation of their constitutional rights to ban smoking of one kind while allowing another kind.

Growing marijuana plants at home are also a bone of contention at some residences.

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Section 8 and affordable apts offer list with phones.

Using HousingWorks.net search criteria  “Section 8 or no Sec 8, Wait List, 1BR, Zip Codes within 30 miles of the South End, Voucher discount housing and other Affordable Housing status categories,” a report showing  687 property management contacts as of April 10, 2018 can be viewed here on Smallwall.net sourced from the Boston based HousingWorks database online.

Click: www.dropbox.com/s/wz53e2jdk97jpv6/sec8-2018.pdf

The report is a search helper. It is NOT the solution to everyone’s quest for affordable housing.

A theory we have is that equal amounts of affordable rentals stock exists in unknowable  places— unknowable to the internet and government data sources, unknowable to housing advocates  and Craigslist. Time will tell if we are right.

Click:  www.dropbox.com/s/wz53e2jdk97jpv6/sec8-2018.pdf

Here’s what happened when I called the first four on the list.

1st on the list — RTH shows  Waitlist is open. An answering service takes a message. ( update) They reliably us called back today. Found out they hold properties for rent based incomes in the Fenway, Huntington  Ave and Brigham Circle area.  No vacancy today, WaitList is encouraged.

2nd— The One Greenway listed office answered and directed  me to a web site where an affordable apartment lottery  is going to happen soon at 450 Cambridge  Street. The call was worth it,

3rd on the list — Kendall Company answered, said a vacancy is immediately avail. Said appointments  are being taken now for a  2 BR for $3,400 rent.  When  I asked about Affordable they said “absolutely have this—go to the Cambridge Housing Authority and apply to waitlist.” So this is a Mahoney Properties operation who are major processors of income restricted and market rate units. So that’s why their waitlist go to the HAs. They are contracted by Housing Authorities to hold sales and lotteries.

If a waitlist is held by a private owner, not the HA, your wait will likely be shorter.

Tip: Depending on your situation, it could take from 1 month to 5 years to get an offer by waitlist.

Learn if you qualify to apply as a person with Special Needs Categories such as: Veterans, Seniors, homeless, battered women, disabled/handicapped or other. There are over 25 classifications of applicant categories.

The 4th listed  contact number was disconnected.

 

more later ….,.,

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HUD gives $1.2Million to renew support for 32 HIV-AID housing programs via Gloucesters’s Action, Inc

Programs to support people in need of affordable housing who have HIV-AID received $32 million from HUD in December 2017 across the United States.

$1.2 million of the round went to Massachusetts firm Action, Inc. https://actioninc.org/ to support the 32 HIV-AIDS housing programs in their portfolio.

Action Inc receives millions in awards to assist disadvantaged individuals.

Learn more from HUD at https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2017/HUDNo_17-118

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Maximum affordable rental apartment prices set by the BRA.

[ dowloadable apartment lottery leads ]

The Boston Redevelopment Authority set maximum rental prices for affordable apartments in Boston City limits based on a percentage of the area median income of $66,000 a year for one person.

Affordable rental rates will begin at $1,024/mo for studio apartments, $1,194/mo for 1 bedroom, $1,365/mo for 2 bedrooms, and $1,535/mo for 3 bedroom units at BRA designated properties owned by many different developers, property investors and community development corporations.

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Legal help when landlords say no to Section 8 or disability checks.

download the lastest apartment lottery lead sheets here.

Landlords who say no to Section 8 housing vouchers or disability checks when you pay the rent  are breaking the rules. Fortunately you can do something about it.

Call 617-884-7568 to report your trouble or visit the Suffolk Law Housing Discrimination Testing Program web site at http://www.suffolk.edu/law/hdtp 

Suffolk Law’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program (HDTP) is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to work in partnership with the Boston Fair Housing Commission to eliminate housing discrimination in the Boston metro area through testing, enforcement and education.

 

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The annual salary of the working poor.

Working poor individuals and families are the focus  of many government programs. The Wikipedia defines the working poor as [ working people whose incomes fall below a given poverty line. Depending on how one defines “working” and “poverty,” someone may or may not be counted as part of the working poor. While poverty is often associated with joblessness, a significant proportion of the poor are actually employed. ]

In Boston Massachusetts, the working poor family has 5 household members and an income of $28,800. For comparison, the American Community Survey reports that an average Boston family has a median household size of 2.47 and income of $52,433. In the US the median household size is 2.6 and the US median household income is $51,425.

Income-restricted, rent reduced, subsidized rental apartment rates are intended for the working poor and the entry level middle class family. Each development has different income criteria. For example, the Oxford Ping On development in Chinatown accepted families with annual household income of $20,000.

But most properties advertised as “Affordable Apartment Rentals” or Workforce Rentals expect the income for a household of one to be at least $34,000 to support rents of $1,050 mo.

 

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Recent news about affordable housing you can use

Lottery Highlights

Community Development Corporations, city officials and affordable housing advocates actively seek new applicants  for apartment lotteries and waitlists. When there are hundreds of Affordable Rental Units announced, there could be 100 applications returned for each one, or thousands to a development with just 30 or less affordable units.

As you know these new construction projects can be highly sought after for there is demand for qualified tenants in the market rate space as well as in the income restricted and public, subsidized, low-income space. I need not tell you how competitive it can be The LOTTERY evens the playing field when it works the right wa – that is — when there are no backroom or politically influenced deals made.

But as you know, some applications are dead on arrival due to missing information or simply that the person applying is not qualified to apply. Lottery is bidding, Know that 50% of a winning formula is Showing Up; 25% is luck and you need it, so 75% of your lottery placement score is probably going to be determined by the fit of your family to the available unit size and scope of the project; your credit score is a big deal, your landlord history is a big deal, and  your proven ability to pay the rent no matter how high or low it is, is a very big deal.

Here’s a quick summary of recent affordable priced lotteries and home ownership sales.

2 Bedroom house for sale in Roslindale  on market for $246K where market rate could be $280k

APARTMENTS
Brockton – a waiting list opens at Brockton Trinity Village
Dorchester – Now leasing leasing at Upper 1474 Dorchester Ave 02122.
Brookline affordable housing lottery opens APRIL 19th for 45 Marion Street Apartments.  Renting studios and 1 BRs from $785 to 958.
Norwood, MA Rental Lottery. New construcction apartment rentals. Thirteen 1BR $1,134 per month, twenty-two 2BR for $1362/mo, three 3BR for $1,566.00. Sizes range from 826 to 1400 per square feet. Each unit has a washer, a dryer, and there’s
Haymarket Square One Canal Street — 22 apartments available by lottery
HUB25 at 25-35 Morrisseuy Blvd, Dorchester – Thirty-six New BRA Income Restricted
apartments for rent. The maximun annual household income to qualify for one person is $48,250, two persons $55,000, three person $62,000, four persos $68,950, five persons $74,000, six persons $80,000.

 

Here’s a list of housing authorities you ask about vouchers and Section 8  that are just outside Boston.

Cambridge – http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/housing/

Newton, MA –  http://www.newtonma.gov/gov//planning/hcd/affhouising/default.asp

Click here to get the [ Building Managers Short List  ] where  rents are capped at 30% AMI. The list has locations,  property manager names and their email addresses and phone numbers.

The Massachusetts Centralized Housing Choice Section 8 Waitlist sign-up
screen is [ here. ]

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Brand new Fenway Park Luxury Apartments use this lease contract language.

Van Ness interior

These are excepts of the the apartment rental lease language in rental contracts offered by most Boston luxury apartment buildings for tenants who are going to rent one.  The lease for subsidized or the  affordable rental units set aside may possibly be different.

LEASE EXCEPT
Residence: Up to 24 months of rental history may be verified on present and previous residence. A positive record ofprompt monthly payment, sufficient notice, and no damages is expected. For applicants who are homeowners, permission must be granted to verify payment history with the bank or lending institution.
Credit Report: An unsatisfactory credit report can disqualify an applicant from renting an apartment at this community. An unsatisfactory credit report is one that reflects past or current bad debts, late payments or unpaid bills, liens, judgments or bankruptcies. If an applicant is rejected for poor credit history, the applicant will be given the name, address and telephone number of the credit reporting agency that provided the credit report (but not be told the content of the credit report). An applicant rejected for unsatisfactory credit is encouraged to obtain a copy of the credit report from the credit reporting agency, correct any erroneous information that may be on the report, and resubmit an application to this community.
Employment/Income: Stable employment record and income verification shall be required. In order for an applicant to be approved, he/she must generally earn on a gross monthly basis a minimum of two times the gross monthly leased rent. Acceptable income verification if required may include: a paystub; a letter from the employer; the most recent W-2 form; or, for self-employed or non-employed applicants, a copy of the most recent tax return or certified verification from his/her company accountant or from a bank showing a balance sufficient to pay rent for 24 months.

Criminal Background: Grounds for rejection of an applicant or occupant may include, but are not limited to, any felony conviction or arrest record. We also do not lease to applicants with certain misdemeanor arrests and convictions.

Verification is through state public records.

Co-signers / Guarantors In the event a co-signer/guarantor is required, he/she must complete an Application for Occupancy and meet all income
and qualifying standards. A co-signer/guarantor will be fully responsible for the Lease Agreement if the occupying resident(s) default.
Subletting Subletting is prohibited at this community …..]

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The Affordable Units Rent for These Prices
at the new Van Ness luxury apartments at Fenway ParkVan Ness Affordable Lottery Rates