I first lost a home at age 4. I first developed affordable housing at 30. Bittersweet Lane demystifies affordable housing from the unique perspective of both developer and resident. My memoir takes the reader on a journey to learn about affordable housing, culminating in a clear and comprehensive explanation of what it is, how it works, and how we got here as a nation. It is a class-crossing insider’s look at an obscure but crucial industry's inner workings and surprisingly deep and cursed history. Think Evicted and Color of Law meet Educated and Hillbilly Elegy. Bittersweet Lane demands an honest reckoning at the intersections of housing, race, and class. Its tragic, comic, and violent histories move from Ireland to America, from the Bittersweet Lane Apartments to Swarthmore and M.I.T., and into the professional class bearing the scars of intergenerational poverty in order to plant signposts for a path toward housing for all.
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Bittersweet Lane draws on my decades of professional experience with the housing industry’s leading organizations. My work has created more than one-thousand affordable homes. Several of my projects received top industry awards, including the 2014 Novogradac Development of Distinction Award for Charlesview Residences, and the Urban Land Institute Jack Kemp Award for Charlesview Residences in 2015 and for A.O. Flats in 2021. The Huffington Post, Commonwealth Magazine, Curbed, Crosscut, and the Boston Metro join the many community organizations and local governments who have called on my unique expertise, combining developer and resident perspectives. Also, the Irish podcast Story Archaeology recently featured true stories from the Bittersweet Lane manuscript alongside my hobby writing, adapting Irish mythologies to Boston.