Income-Restricted Housing Report Shows City Outpaces Others in Affordable Housing Goals

The affordable housing stock in Boston outpaces that of any other major city in the U.S., a new report released by the city’s housing department found.

The report released in early November by the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) captures all income-restricted housing in Boston and found that more than 54,000 units out of 283,000 are designated as affordable.

Affordable units, according to the report, are units that have restrictions on their deed so that they remain available to those making less than 50 percent of Area Median Income.

One in five units in the city, or 20 percent, is income-restricted, according to DND standards, with the majority of the units located in South End, Lower Roxbury and Roxbury.

The report also found that 38 percent of these units were permitted over the past four years.

Neighborhoods with less than 10 percent of their housing stock dedicated to income-restricted units include Back Bay, Beacon Hill and West Roxbury.

Officials who filed the report said the majority of income-restricted units are privately owned and a small portion of those units will lose their income restrictions by 2030.

DND said it is working to extend the restrictions on vulnerable units and has asked the Boston Housing Authority to redevelop and preserve approximately 4,500 affordable units.

The housing department has also upped its affordable unit goal from 54,000 units by 2030 to nearly 70,000 units in order to prevent displacement and to account for a growth in population.

Officials said this inventory report is the first of its kind for the city and allows them to understand where income-restricted units are and who is living in them.

Efforts to create more income-restricted housing include a 1,000 homes campaign outlined in the revised Imagine Boston 2030 plan, which is an initiative aimed at purchasing homes to make them affordable in perpetuity through an expanded acquisition opportunity program.

The city also announced that it will award $16 million in affordable housing funds in the near future to maintain income-restricted units.

Jordan Frias

Jordan Frias is an editorial assistant at Boston Herald and a contributor of Spare Change News. He is vice president of the New England Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and a graduate of Northeastern University's School of Journalism.

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