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In defense of Charlesview

We would like to respond to a letter from a resident of Charlesview Apartments published in this space last week. The letter was written in response to an article that appeared in the July 16 edition of City Weekly: ``Harvard ups the ante on Charlesview." We found the letter to be a total misrepresentation of the very open process now underway at Charlesview.

The letter's author indicated that Charlesview residents are ``possibly being forced to move from their homes." This statement is misleading and should call into question everything that follows in the letter. The interfaith, nonprofit owners of Charlesview Apartments have taken pains to involve our residents in every step of the redevelopment/relocation discussion. In the event of a redevelopment, all current residents will be offered housing in the new Charlesview, whether it is redeveloped onsite or moved to a nearby location.

The writer cites a ``convoluted" public process, in which residents are ``misled and misinformed." In truth, the process is open, well-established, and has been working for almost three years. All Charlesview residents are invited to participate in scheduled meetings of the Development Committee, which is attended by representatives of Charlesview's board of directors, and as appropriate, architects and other consultants as well as numerous oral translators for the diverse languages spoken at Charlesview. In addition, committee notes are distributed in at least five languages to all attendees. The Charlesview ownership has acted on every recommendation that has come out of the Development Committee to date, and participation in the Development Committee is open to any resident of Charlesview.

We resent the allegation made in the letter claiming that ``Many residents are scared to talk or go to the meetings." In fact, Charlesview Apartments is proud of its long history of compassion and tenant empowerment -- it is the living legacy of our interfaith founders.

The writer concludes the letter by asking, ``. . .where are all the clergy and churches who have an ownership interest in Charlesview?" The answer is that the churches and synagogue that founded and own Charlesview are right here in the community. We are present and accessible, and we are deeply invested in fighting for safe, affordable housing for Charlesview residents, which we have done for over 40 years. To suggest otherwise is simply not true.

Rabbi Abraham Halbfinger Chairman Charlesview Inc. board of directors

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