On Wednesday, April 4, Domonique Williams became Boston’s Office of Housing Stability’s new deputy director. Williams is a Roxbury resident and former housing attorney, and Mayor Marty Walsh — who announced Williams’ appointment through a press release — hopes that under her leadership, the city can expand its efforts to tackle a burgeoning housing crisis.
“We… need to focus on helping people keep the homes they have,” Mayor Walsh said in the press release. “I’m proud that the Office of Housing Stability offers residents important services to help them stay in their homes, and I’m confident that Domonique has the skills and energy to not only continue the good work of this office, but also to further expand and improve the services we offer.”
Boston has been facing a growing housing crisis over the past several years; rent prices have been steadily rising, while working wages have been left virtually stagnant. A large majority of new housing being built is aimed towards the top of the market- while the top evictors in Boston are owners of subsidized and affordable housing. This has left many residents unable to stay in the city, whether they would like to or not.
It was in the wake of these conditions that Mayor Walsh formed the Office of Housing Stability, which is part of the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development.
Domonique Williams is no stranger to the housing crisis; while studying law at Howard University, she received several awards for her work in the Fair Housing Clinic, and as an attorney, Williams aided clients whose housing leases had been breached. She also served as an investigation and enforcement intern for Boston’s Office of Fair Housing and Equity.
“Issues of housing stability impact residents in every corner of the city,” Williams said in the press release. “I am committed to helping craft inclusive policies that advocate for Boston’s diverse residential needs, educating residents about their rights, and supporting those in crisis.”
Williams aims to continue the Office of Housing Stability’s already popular programs, such as its evening affordable housing and tenant’s rights clinics, as well as its affordable housing mediations and dispute resolutions. Williams also seeks to continue and expand the city’s Landlord Guarantee Pilot Program, which gives resources and aid to landlords renting to homeless individuals and families.
“I’m extremely excited and eager to get to work,” Williams said. “So many people are seeking [these] resources… we know there’s a need. We hear them, and we’re going to support them.”