At the Honan Apartment Ground-Breaking

By James Creamer, Dec. 4, 2003
Board Member, Chair of the Housing Committee
Community Development Corporation

covenant-house-groundbreakToday we start to build housing on the remains of a fish plant. Boy, that was a really tough sell in this neighborhood. Ha! But besides the brick and mortar and all the money that it takes, what we are building from are ideas based on our relationships–relations to our friends and neighbors. Buildings are built on ground but forgive me if I say they are grounded in this case on the people that have gone before, the ideas and the ideals of the ordinary people who sit on committees, like the Housing committee I chair, Jim Philip, Charlie Vasiliades, Denis Garriepy, Nan Evans, Sandy Rose and others and our untiring staff who put up with our foibles, all of whom who’ve been to so many committee meetings they may themselves get committed. But seriously, there’s nothing new under the sun. We build our ideas from the germs of ideas planted in us by the people before, ideas of fairness and justice and democracy, from people like Anita Bromberg, Agnes Porter and Andy Davis, and many others who are gone. People whose ideas made sense to us. Brian Honan was visited by those ideas during his short but vibrant life and held strongly to a commitment to make housing affordable to the neighbors he grew up with and to our new neighbors. Many of these neighbors are gone, driven out by high prices and high rents. Allston has the reputation of being a transitional neighborhood, sort of a subway stop where people pass each other on the platform but only connect to their trains and not to each other —but that notion is diminished today. Today we plant another proverbial seed of an idea, that affordable housing can indeed be built so that we can keep this a neighborhood made up of the neighbors we grew up with, so our parents our children and our grandchildren can know the idea of what a neighborhood is and keep that idea and pass it on to others.
anitaGreat and beneficent institutions are gathered here to give support both intellectually and financially for our project and we couldn’t do it without them but if we didn’t have an idea, a concept then we’d never see their money. So let’s take a minute to gather strength from the commitment and ideals passed down to us and to commit ourselves to spread those ideas to others. Brian J. Honan Apartments will be a physical manifestation of that commitment. I think Brian would like that and we’ll remember his ideas and commitment and we’ll remember him as we pass by.

My chief role today is to introduce Brian’s brother Rep. Kevin Honan who I’ve known since his mother told him to go stuff envelopes for his predecessor Tom Gallagher. Those were some big shoes to fill and Kevin has done admirably as an advocate for affordable housing.