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Mayor Walsh’s Recent Housing Announcement: What You Need to Know

Mayor Walsh’s Recent Housing Announcement: What You Need to Know

Affordable housing development takes time. But, in Massachusetts, time is a luxury. Every day, there are approximately 43 evictions across the state. Residents of the Commonwealth continue to face a harsh housing landscape where rents are the fourth-highest in the nation and there is a deficit of over 162,000 homes needed to accommodate residents on the brink or experiencing poverty (The Boston Globe).

However, in February, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced a major allocation of government funds that will help stimulate the production and preservation of affordable housing units in the city. Here’s a breakdown of the news:

  • The city will dedicate $26 million to finance 10 affordable housing developments in seven neighborhoods, including Brighton, East Boston, Dorchester, Mattapan, Mission Hill, the North End and Roxbury.
  • Collectively, the properties will create 459 new rental units and home ownership opportunities, with both designations deed-restricted as affordable permanently or for the next 50 years. The effort will also preserve the affordability of 56 pre-existing units and set aside funds to assist first-time homebuyers with down payments.
  • A majority of the homes will benefit low- and moderate-income households, with most of the residential opportunities financially-feasible for families making 60 percent or less of the area median income (approximately $65,000 or less for a four-person family).
  • In addition to supporting artists and the formerly homeless, certain projects are tailored specifically to help elderly individuals facing displacement. For example, financing will be utilized to renovate a property that previously served as a Knight’s of Columbus hall into 23 senior housing units.
  • Financing for the projects will come from the following sources: the Community Preservation Fund, generated tax revenue that is designated for affordable housing, historic preservation, park or open space projects; the Neighborhood Housing Trust, which is associated with the city’s linkage program that derives funding from developers of larger commercial properties; and the Department of Neighborhood Development.
  • Since the launch of Mayor Walsh’s “Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030” initiative, the city has permitted 5,500 affordable housing units.

As Boston’s cost of living continues to skyrocket, the Mayor’s dedication to identifying new means through which to deliver accessible housing opportunities is praiseworthy. But work to address the housing crisis can’t stop here and must expand beyond the city’s limits. Governor Charlie Baker, for instance, has proposed legislation that would lower the voting threshold needed to pass zoning changes that would bolster housing production. This bill, along with many others that are currently undergoing consideration, are small pieces of a much larger puzzle.

At IBA, we’re committed to advocating on behalf of policy changes and initiatives like these that seek to establish more diverse neighborhoods that cater to all residents, while working to expand affordable housing and residential services in the South End and beyond. Most recently, we grew our affordable housing portfolio by 146 units with the acquisition of the West Newton/Rutland Streets Apartments and maintain our dedication to ensuring that our residents feel empowered, culturally and artistically enriched in their everyday lives.

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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