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$30 million in grant funding available for affordable housing

The new funding will support the creation and preservation of affordable housing in Boston’s neighborhood.

Mayor Kim Janey announced today that the City of Boston has released two Request for Proposals (RFP), offering $30 million for affordable housing projects seeking financial support from the City of Boston. This funding is available for rental, cooperative, and homeownership developments. There will be a virtual Applicants Conference on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, at 10:00 am. Interested applicants may register here. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent by Friday, August 27, 2021, and a final proposal by September 24, 2021. 

"Addressing rising housing costs is critical to preserving the diversity and character of Boston’s neighborhoods," said Mayor Janey. "My administration has made it a priority to increase affordability and stop displacement. We are committing more than $30 million to preserve and create housing that accelerates equity in every neighborhood and provides residents and families with affordable options."

The City, the Community Preservation Committee and the Neighborhood Housing Trust will prioritize projects that produce significant percentages of housing for residents with extremely low-income, that serve homeless individuals, seniors, or residents with disabilities. The housing should promote the City of Boston’s goals to affirmatively further fair housing and efficiently use City resources and/or land to increase the supply of housing available to low- and moderate-income households.  This year’s funding also prioritizes projects in neighborhoods that fall below the City-wide average of 19 percent of neighborhood housing stock that is income-restricted. 

“This RFP represents an important opportunity to make Boston more affordable for the people who live and work in our City.  The City’s commitment to producing and preserving both rental and homeownership opportunities for low-income residents is central to creating a more equitable city,” said Teronda Ellis, Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation.

This year’s RFPs enhance the City’s long-standing focus on advancing equity in every stage of the housing creation or preservation process.  

The RFP requires developers to report on how they will ensure minority-owned businesses (MBE) are represented throughout the development and property management process.  The RFP priorities will include a preference for projects where 20 percent or more of the project is owned by an MBE or 20 percent or more of a project’s soft costs are awarded to minority-owned firms.  Applicants must also provide how resident services offered in multi-family development will help support economic mobility for residents who live in affordable housing units.

“It is fantastic to see the City of Boston and the Department of Neighborhood Development challenging the status quo and putting racial and gender equity at the forefront of their affordable housing program,” said Travis Watson, Director of Racial Equity and Community Engagement at the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation.  “It's holistic approaches to development like this that have a real potential to chip away at both the racial and gender wealth gaps.”

The City encourages developers to build in accessibility for all through the application of universal design principles throughout their projects. Furthering the City’s commitment to a Carbon Neutral Boston by 2050, the RFPs also require that proposers of new construction demonstrate a plan to achieve zero emissions in their new buildings. 

“The Department of Neighborhood Development has taken an important step in securing a cleaner future for the City of Boston,” said Rickie Harvey, co-founder and steering team member of the Boston Clean Energy Coalition (BCEC). “The enhanced requirements will help ensure that the next generation of affordable housing in Boston reduces the City’s carbon footprint, is affordable to live in, and contributes to healthier and more equitable communities.”

Funds will be awarded from three sources: the first, more than $10 million, consists of funds administered by the Department of Neighborhood Development. The Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund (NHT) is making available up to $10 million to support the creation and preservation of affordable housing developments that meet the needs of the homeless, low- and moderate-income individuals and households in Boston. The third source is approximately $10 million from Community Preservation Act funds. 

ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT (DND)

The Department of Neighborhood Development is responsible for housing people experiencing homelessness, developing affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can find, maintain, and stay in their homes. As part of the ongoing coronavirus response, the Office of Housing Stability is administering Boston’s Rental Relief Fund, which has given out $17 million to more than 3,000 households, and is also conducting tenant’s rights workshops to educate residents about the eviction moratorium and their rights. The Boston Home Center continues to provide down payment assistance to first-time home buyers and home repairs for seniors and low-income residents. The Supportive Housing Division works with various partners around the city to rapidly house individuals who are experiencing homelessness. For more information, please visit the DND website.

ABOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSING TRUST FUND (NHT)

The NHT Fund supports homeownership, rental, cooperative, transitional, and permanent housing developments. The NHT is funded through a project linkage fee system for commercial development projects in excess of 100,000 square feet, and supports homeownership, rental, cooperative, transitional, or permanent housing. The fund provides financing for projects serving households earning at or below 50 percent AMI and gives preference to populations living with disabilities. Funding is awarded as gap financing, and each applicant may receive no more than $750,000 per project. Priority is given to projects serving the greatest number of low-income households. The program also has a preference for projects that are near transit, and include family-sized units with two or more bedrooms. Boston's Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund is funded through a commercial project linkage payment fee system. 

ABOUT THE COMMUNITY PRESERVATION ACT (CPA)

After Boston voters adopted the CPA in November 2016, the City created a Community Preservation Fund. This fund is capitalized primarily by a one percent property tax-based surcharge on residential and business property tax bills that began in July 2017. The City uses this revenue to fund initiatives consistent with statewide CPA guidelines: affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space and public recreation. The funding of any project requires a recommendation from the Community Preservation Committee and appropriation by the City. For more information, please visit the Community Preservation webpage.

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    Published by: Housing
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