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Affirmative Marketing

We work to encourage those least likely to apply for housing to learn about their options.

We promote equal access to government-assisted housing for all persons by establishing standards for:

  1. public outreach
  2. advertising, and
  3. tenant and buyer selection criteria.

Our commission oversees the development and implementation of affirmative marketing plans. Our goal is to promote housing opportunity and monitor compliance with fair housing law. Boston’s program originated in 1986 to establish standards for public outreach, advertising, applicant screening, and tenant and buyer selection. The goal was to encourage those least likely to apply for housing based on location. We wanted to increase their awareness of available housing, as well as their access to housing.

The program was expanded in 1991 to go beyond standard marketing procedures. We are now proactive in expanding housing access to all Boston residents. 

Information on the program

The affirmative marketing program

On April 17th, 1978, the Boston chapter of the NAACP sued HUD and the city for failing to rectify a long history of racial discrimination in housing, that resulted in heavily segregated housing patterns in Boston as per 42 U.S.C. §3608(e)(5). As a result, HUD, the City, and the NAACP filed a Consent Decree to address the issues in the case. The Decree extended BFHC’s responsibility by requiring:

  • the creation of the Metrolist program;
  • the enhancement the Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing program;
  • in good faith, pursue a home rule petition to obtain enforcement authority for the BFHC.

The Boston Fair Housing Commission (BFHC) was created in 1982 by the Boston City Council, and sections 10-3.1 to 10-3.6 of the City Code lay out the structure and responsibilities of the BFHC. 

To learn more about Boston’s Fair Housing regulations, click here.

More Than 'Not Discriminating'

The intention of our Affirmative Marketing program is to:

  • encourage those least likely to apply for housing because of location
  • increase their awareness of available housing, and
  • facilitate access to housing opportunities.

Affirmative Fair Housing means more than “not discriminating.” It means taking steps to inform those least likely to apply for housing because of its location. We want to attract an applicant pool that mirrors the racial composition of the City as a whole. Affirmative Fair Housing means removing barriers to housing choice. We work to encourage and provide language access to housing programs. Our goal is to make households aware of opportunities outside of their neighborhoods. 

Categories of Government-Assisted Housing

There are several categories of government-assisted housing subject to the standards of the City’s Program. The requirements differ slightly, based on size and type of development.  “Government-assisted housing” means housing whose cost is subsidized — in whole or in part — with federal, state, or local funds and government resources. This can include the donation or sale of government-owned land. Costs that can be subsidized include the:

  • purchase
  • development
  • operation, or
  • renovation of property.

Affordable housing restricted as a result of the Mayor’s Executive Order relating to Inclusionary Development is also subject to the program. Do you need an Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing program manual or Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan form? Contact Neighborhood Development.