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How the City Creates Affordable Housing

We ask for worthy development proposals from nonprofit and for-profit developers through Requests for Proposals. These proposals must create or preserve affordable housing in the City of Boston.

We may sell land or buildings at discounted prices. We may also offer federal and local funds to provide loans with favorable terms. We make sure to help proposals that offer the greatest public benefit.

Developments can create affordable rental units or homes. Proposals may include:

  • new single, two-family, and multi-unit homes, and
  • renovations to existing and vacant buildings.

Funding requests for proposals

Through Requests for Proposals, we make federal and local funds available to support affordable housing.  Developers use public and private resources to complete their projects.

Rental developments usually service a mix of incomes. For proposal with 10 units or more, we require that at least 10 percent of the units be set aside for homeless households.

We support developers throughout their projects, and can help find eligible tenants for rental buildings.

Our standards

All proposals must meet our underwriting policies and our standards for:

  • accessibility
  • sustainability
  • good design, and
  • community support.

Ownership proposals also need to meet our standards for livability, owner occupancy, and affordability. We work with developers from concept to construction. This helps ensure that a proposal becomes a success.

Current Requests for Proposals

Land and funding opportunities

We use land owned by the City as a source for new housing, and work with communities to find the right sites for affordable housing.

We also work with property owners and neighbors living next to these sites. We put the feedback we receive in a Request for Proposal, and ask for responses from nonprofit and for-profit developers.

Requests for proposals

To help create a smooth development, many Requests for Proposals include in one package:

  • the land at a discounted price, and
  • some of the funding needed for development.
​​​​​Community involvement

Throughout the development process, we work with the community, keeping neighbors updated on progress and delays. We also expect developers to use our support to find other sources of public and private funding.

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