Affordable Housing

How the Community Preservation Committee Could Influence Affordable Housing in Boston

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This fall, more than 60 percent of Boston residents voted in favor of the Community Preservation Act (CPA), a one percent property tax that will raise nearly $20 million in revenue annually. Since then, we’ve been following how future funds will be allocated.

With many Greater Boston residents burdened by living costs, the CPA presents a tremendous opportunity to foster culturally and socioeconomically inclusive communities by financing affordable housing projects. Yet, that all depends on how the CPA’s funds will be dispersed. This will be determined by the Community Preservation Committee (CPC), which is currently undergoing selection.

Here are a few updates on the appointment process, and how the Committee could shape the future of affordable housing in Boston.

  • On March 23, Boston City Council’s Committee on Government Operations held the first of a series of hearings designated to appoint four at-large members to the nine-seat Committee.
  • The remaining five representatives will be selected by Mayor Martin Walsh. The CPA requires one voting member from the Conservation Commission, Planning Board, Historical Commission, Housing Authority and Board of Park Commissioners. Although term limits have not yet been decided upon, it has been proposed that each representative will serve three-year terms.
  • Once finalized, the Committee will be responsible for researching and identifying community needs and opportunities, in coordination with local municipal boards; reviewing, selecting and recommending community project proposals for consideration by local legislators; and keeping budgetary records. However, one of the main conditions is that a minimum of 10 percent of the generated revenue must support affordable housing and historical preservation efforts, as well as the development of open spaces.

The selection of four at-large members therefore promises to define the Committee’s funding priorities, as each member’s background may influence whether affordable housing, historic preservation, or open space projects will be given preference. As we track the Committee’s selection process, we will continue to advocate for the inclusion of representatives that understand the urgency behind funding projects that support affordable living for all Bostonians.

We are proud to be working to develop housing opportunities for low-income households and minority residents in Boston. For more information on how you can support IBA, please visit our page: http://www.ibaboston.org/donate/

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