Our History

Community-minded activists from local churches join together to affect positive social change in Jamaica Plain’s neighborhoods.  Working through the Action Planning Project, the Ecumenical Social Action Committee was born in 1965 and incorporated in 1969.

1965

ESAC Founded


Working with local churches through the Model Neighborhoods Program, ESAC initiates the Youth Drop-in, Homeownership, Hispanic Outreach, Elderly Concerns and the Creative Urban Encounter projects.

1969

Early Programs


Working with Blessed Sacrament Church, ESAC’s Hispanic Committee establishes Oficina Hispana as a new organization to offer social services to the community.

1970

Oficina Hispana


Restoring vacant housing and assisting homebuyers in Egleston Square, ESAC’s Homeownership Committee establishes the Foundation for Urban Edge, which later incorporates as a separate housing development agency.

1974

Foundation for Urban Edge


ESAC initiates a CDC steering committee that develops into the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation. JPNDC elects its own Board and spins off from ESAC in 1977.

1975

Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation


The Senior Team is established to address the needs of seniors through support services, advocacy, counseling, and a Hispanic lunch program.

1976

Senior Team


ESAC begins REACH, a three-tiered program designed to help local youth prepare for and pass the GED exam, assist with job searches and achieve long-term employment.

1979

REACH


Jamaica Plain’s Senior Home Repair program is started by ESAC through funding from HUD and the Boston Foundation. In 1984, the City of Boston expands ESAC’s Jamaica Plain program to include all of Boston’s neighborhoods.

1980

Senior Home Repair Begins


The Community Housing Task Force is launched as a forum for creating innovative solutions to housing issues. The Task Force is credited with developing the Boston Citywide Land Trust, the Housing Assistance and Renter’s Revolving Loan Funds, and the Foreclosure Prevention Pilot Project.

1981

Community Task Force Launched


ESAC partners with 1st American Bank to develop the first reverse equity mortgage in the Commonwealth. It was first designed for an 87 year old Dorchester homeowner and later became a model of financing used to help seniors remain safely and affordably in their homes.

1984

1st Reverse Mortgage in Commonwealth


With funding from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation and Boston’s Elderly Commission, ESAC establishes the first advocacy program specifically for homeowners in Boston Housing Court.

1985

Advocacy Program for Homeowners


ESAC pioneers foreclosure prevention counseling to the growing number of homeowners impacted by Boston’s second mortgage scam crisis. The program continues to develop with support from the National Consumer Law Center, Freddie Mac, HUD and many private funders.

1989

Mortgage Scam Relief Program


Working with BayBank, ESAC initiates a special refinancing program for homeowners with problem credit. Building on the solid performance of the ESAC/BayBank portfolio, the initiative is expanded to include other area lenders, including Citizens Bank, Hyde Park Savings Bank and Wells Fargo.

1990

Home Refinancing Program


Designated as a Local Rehabilitation Agency by MassHousing, ESAC begins a deleading program aimed at low- and moderate income homeowners. ESAC is recognized for excellence for three consecutive years from 1997 to 1999.

1990

Deleading Program Started


The Greater Egleston Community High School is started as an alternative school for youth at risk.  ESAC serves as the lead community agency for ten years. GECHS is named a pilot school of the Boston Public Schools in 1997 and becomes independent from ESAC in 2004.

1992

Greater Egleston Community HS


ESAC hosts its first A Taste of Jamaica Plain. The annual event, supported by local restaurants and caterers has becomes ESAC’s signature community fundraiser.

1996

First Taste of JP


The Sustainable Homeownership Center is established, consolidating Foreclosure Prevention, Senior Homeowner Services, Housing Court Advocacy, and Lead Abatement Assistance.  In 2000, ESAC expands its homeowner services with WiseBuys, offering individual home purchase counseling for first-time homebuyers.

1997

Sustainable Homeownership Center Established


ESAC spearheads a collaborative with Roxbury Youthworks and Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses launching GED Plus, an alternative education program for at-risk youth in three Boston neighborhoods.  ESAC expands GED Plus in 2005 forming a new partnership with Youth Opportunity Boston.

1997

GED Plus Launched


ESAC works with the Massachusetts Community and Banking Council and the City of Boston to develop Don’t Borrow Trouble, a campaign to help homeowners avoid predatory loans and lending scams. Don’t Borrow Trouble is soon adopted by Freddie Mac and becomes a model for similar programs in cities across the United States.

1999

Don't Borrow Trouble


Norma F. Moseley, ESAC’s former Housing Director is honored at a retirement celebration held at the JFK Library. The Norma F. Moseley Endowment Fund is established to provide ongoing support for ESAC’s Sustainable Homeownership Center.

2001

Norma F. Mosely Fund Established


ESAC along with neighborhood leaders dedicate Egleston Square’s Peace Garden with the unveiling of a six-panel mural called Peace Throughout History. Two years later, the Garden is named the best community garden in Boston in Mayor Menino’s Garden Contest.

2002

Egleston Sq. Peace Garden Created


Joining forces with Urban Edge, Dorchester Bay EDC, the Lead Action Collaborative, and the City of Boston, the Boston 2010 Collaborative is established, it’s goal to eliminate childhood lead paint poisoning in Boston by 2010.

2005

Boston 2010 Collaborative


Today, ESAC continues to serve as a catalyst for positive social action, responding to the needs of the community’s most vulnerable residents and working in partnership with like-minded organizations. Because safe and sustainable homeownership and individualized, dynamic education can build strong communities, ESAC’s efforts are concentrated in these areas.