The announcement of a major federal housing grant was met Monday with celebration by Roxbury residents and elected officials.  Some of those politicians saw it as one of the last highlights of their relationship with the Obama administration, as they prepare for an uncertain future.

Stephanie Thomas first moved into the Whittier Street public housing development in Roxbury in 1954. She raised two children in this collection of brick buildings, and calls it home.

“It’s good in the inside," she said. "We got a good foundation. You know, but we realize now that it has to be a change so we’re ready for it."

"The pipes are rotten," added Alice Gilchrist. She moved here in in 1967. They’ve both seen a lot of change in that time. For one thing, the radiators used to work great.

“Now for the heat, we just have sort of like  steam heat, like. We have a control that only goes up as far as to 8. And that’s the best that we get for our heat," Thomas said.

"It’s cold in our apartments, it’s really cold." Gilchrist added. "That heat is not working.”

That’s one of many reasons the city’s been trying to get funds to redevelop the homes through the federal department of Housing and Urban Development’s so-called Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. And Nani Coleretti of HUD came to Roxbury to say the words they’ve been waiting to hear.

“I’m proud to announce today that after four years since you got a planning grant, the community of Whittier is being awarded a $30 million grant,” she said to cheers from a crowd gathered under a tent at the site. 

The plan is to demolish the existing 200 apartments and replace them with 210 public housing units and 262 units either for moderate income families or at market rate. Coleretti said this is one of the last of these grants to be given under the Obama administration.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he’s been invited to an event at the White House this week.

 “The first thing I’m going to say to the President when I see him Wednesday, and I will have a chance to talk to him one on one, I’m going to say, from all the folks at Whittier, I’m going to say they want to say thank you and give him a big hug for $30 million,” Walsh said.

Walsh said he’ll tell Obama that his presidency made a difference, and that Boston will build on his legacy.

“No matter what they try to take apart what he created, we’re going to continue to build here in Boston, and take it across the United States of America,” he said.

Congressman Michael Capuano said he had concerns about the priorities of the incoming Trump presidency, and he said he didn’t want this grant announcement to be the last celebration of its kind that he attends.

“I’ve spent the last two months pushing every single administrator in Washington to get every piece of paper they can off of their desk before Jan. 20,” Capuano said. 

Capuano called on those in attendance to fight for what he called an equal and fair society. “It’s on us, the American people to stand up, scream, and turn it around," he said. "That’s what elections are all about.”

For resident Stephanie Thomas, there was a clear message in the grant announcement.

“What today’s announcement means we’re going to have a new beginning. You know?" she said. "And we’re getting ready for the next generation, because we’re getting up in age. So it’s going to be wonderful for them, too.”

The residents here will be relocated as the construction of the new homes takes place. But Alice Gilchrist was certain of one thing. “When they finish building, I want to come back here.”  Because this neighborhood, she said, is her home.