Boston breaks affordable housing record

Photo: Bill Ilott

The city of Boston set a new record for creating affordable housing units in 2015, Mayor Marty Walsh’s office said.

The city of Boston permitted 1,022 new units of affordable housing this past year, surpassing the previous mark of 862 units in 2004, Mayor Walsh’s office said in a press release. As part of his long term housing plan, “Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030,” the mayor aims to add 6,500 new affordable housing units. The plan is 107 percent ahead of the target rate needed to achieve its goal.

There were 1,443 new units of affordable housing approved by the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development and the Boston Redevelopment Authority. This amounted to 35 percent of all new development approvals in 2015 and a 55 percent increase over 2014, Walsh’s Office said. These units make up a sizable portion of Boston’s affordable housing pipeline, despite having not received permits yet.

Walsh said the increase in affordable housing units will help make Boston a city everyone can live in.

“We are committed to creating a Boston that anyone, at any income level, can afford to live in,” Walsh said in a statement released by his office. “I am pleased that because of our administration’s commitment to creating affordable housing, we have been able to capture the strong real estate market, create jobs and give more people and families the opportunity to find affordable housing in Boston.”

These new affordable housing units will cost an estimated $500 million, though the total public investment will only be $154 million, including $23 million of City funds from sources including HOME, Inclusionary Development funds, Linkage and City operating funds, Walsh’s Office said. Other sources of public funding come from state and federal funds, along with tax credit equity.

Boston’s share of affordable housing is higher than any other major city in the country, Walsh’s Office said. The city reserves 19 percent of its housing units to help house its low and moderate-income residents.

Robert Sondak is a vendor and a writer for Spare Change News.

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