Boston Unveils Plans to Create More Affordable Housing Opportunities Throughout the City

shutterstock_181783838Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has made it no secret that creating affordable housing across the city is a top priority for his administration. In fact, the administration had previously released its Boston2030 program in October 2014, which pledges to create 53,000 new housing units for people of various incomes by 2030. With recent announcements from the mayor’s office, it appears that Walsh plans to follow through with these proposals. One of the steps the city is taking is putting out two separate requests for competitive housing bidding that are valued at $10 million apiece.

Offered through the department of neighborhood development, the guidelines for the housing projects are quite clear and precise. These include:

  • Following a building process that is efficient and cost-effective
  • Creating housing developments that are designed to target a mix out incomes
  • Developing housing that serves the disabled, special needs and other vulnerable populations
  • Developing housing that serves veterans, the elderly, aging-out youth and artists

Funding for the $20 million project will be drawn from the city’s inclusionary development fund, which had been previously overseen by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. According to Walsh, this $20 million is just the first round of funding that will be going toward helping the city achieve the goals that were outlined in the city’s new housing policy. The long-term goal of the policy is to develop housing that is affordable, attractive and efficient in ord

er to make housing affordable for anyone who wishes to call Boston their home.

In other efforts to address the housing issue in Boston, the city applied for an innovation team grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Boston was one of only 12 U.S. cities and two international cities to apply to the $45 million program, which has the goal of expanding the innovations teams program established by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The city recently announced the application was a success and that it will receive a $1.35 million grant to go toward the development of a housing innovation lab. The money is to be dispersed to the city over the next three years.

With the funds to back the housing innovation lab, members of the team will research additional steps that that the city can take to help achieve the goals established by the Boston2030 plan. A major task for the housing lab will also be to search for potential partners to help make the Boston2030 goals possible. These partners will include everyone from local architects to colleges and universities. The team will also work toward strengthening the relationships that the city has already formed with these key players.

Referred to as the “i-team,” members of the housing innovation lab will operate out of the mayor’s office of new urban mechanics and department of neighborhood development. Ultimately, the goal of Boston2030 is to create the following housing units:

  • 44,000 units of housing designed to meet the needs of the workforce
  • 5,000 units designed to meet the needs of senior citizens
  • 4,000 units designed to help stabilize the market while bringing rent and housing prices under control

By meeting these goals, the Walsh administration hopes to ensure that all areas of Boston enjoy both “growth and prosperity”.

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