$69.2 million in funding announced for affordable housing
Building on his commitment to create and preserve affordable housing in Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced $69.2 million in new and recommended funding from the Department of Neighborhood Development, the Neighborhood Housing Trust, and the Community Preservation Fund to create and preserve 1,097 units of housing in Brighton, Chinatown, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roslindale, Roxbury and West Roxbury. The funding will also contribute to affordable housing programming like the Acquisition Opportunity Program and the ONE+Boston program. These funds represent the largest affordable housing funding awards by the City of Boston since the release of Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030 in 2014.
"Today we are announcing a monumental investment. We fund affordable housing every year, but this is the most we've ever done in the City of Boston," said Mayor Walsh. "We are harnessing our City's incredible economic strength to invest in all the things working people need. This will help build a strong middle class, and will make a difference for years and generations to come."
The new funding will create 936 new units and preserve 161 units of housing, with a majority of them serving households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), which amounts to $71,100 or less for a family of four. The new units are a combination of homeownership and rental opportunities and include special projects with units set aside for formerly homeless households, youth aging out of the foster care system, seniors, and artists.
"Madison Park is thrilled about our award to create 20 new homeownership units for low- and moderate-income residents of Roxbury," said Leslie Reid, CEO of the Madison Park Development Corporation. "Our project at 75-81 Dudley Street will continue our partnership with the City to move Nubian Square forward, and will give families a chance to build wealth within their own community."
To ensure that all units receiving City funding will remain affordable, developers are required to agree to long-term affordability for all income-restricted units. All rental projects are permanently deed-restricted, and all homeownership projects are deed-restricted for 50 years. The City carefully underwrites projects to leverage additional sources of funding. For the homeownership opportunities, first-time homebuyers earning 100% or less of AMI can receive financial assistance to purchase a home. The Boston Home Center also offers home buying and credit counseling classes as well as one-on-one counseling to assist in the homebuying process.
"These funds for affordable homeownership will benefit the record number of first-time homebuyers who are graduating from our classes each month," said Symone Crawford, Director of Homeownership Education for the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA). "We thank Mayor Walsh and the Community Preservation Committee for recognizing the real need that exists to create more opportunities to help people buy a home in Boston. MAHA is pleased to partner with the city in helping to close our racial homeownership gap by assisting first-time and first-generation homebuyers."
Funds to create and preserve the 1,097 affordable housing units will be awarded from three sources: the first, of approximately $37 million, comes from municipal and federal funds administered by the Department of Neighborhood Development. The second source, of approximately $16 million, utilizes funds from the Neighborhood Housing Trust (NHT), which are collected through the City's Linkage policy, extracting affordable housing funds from developers of large commercial projects.
The third source contributing almost $16 million utilizes funds from the Community Preservation Fund, which are collected through the CPA's one percent property tax surcharge adopted by Boston voters in 2016 to invest in affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space. The Community Preservation Committee held a public meeting on Monday, January 27, 2020, to vote on the Mayor's recommended slate of projects for funding. At that meeting, the CPC voted to dedicate the majority of this funding round to affordable housing projects, including affordable housing programming. The projects will be submitted to the Boston City Council for approval with an anticipated hearing and vote from the Council in the coming weeks.
"Recognizing the housing crisis facing Boston, the Community Preservation Committee chose to allocate 65 percent of available CPA funds to affordable housing," said Madeligne Tena, a member of the Community Preservation Committee. "In thinking about how to best serve those most in need, our priorities included rental housing for the lowest-income residents and affordable homeownership for households earning under 100% of Area Median Income."
"Pine Street Inn is so very grateful for our partnership with Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston," said Lyndia Downie, President and Executive Director of Pine Street Inn. "Funds for projects like 3368 Washington Street in Jamaica Plain will enable individuals who would never be able to afford a place of their own, to move out of long-term homelessness into a safe, supportive community. On behalf of all the men and women whose lives will be transformed by this project, we thank you," she added.
The following is a complete list of the proposals that are receiving funding from the Department of Neighborhood Development and Neighborhood Housing Trust, as well as recommended projects for inclusion in the next round for the Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding:
- $4,000,000 for the Acquisition Opportunity Program to prevent displacement by purchasing existing private market rental units and making them permanently affordable, both protecting current tenants and safeguarding the City's affordable housing stock
- $4,000,000 for the ONE+Boston program to help income-eligible first-time home buyers receive down payment assistance and a permanent reduction in the interest rate of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for Bostonians buying within city limits
- $5,000,000 to contribute to the funding for 143 affordable senior housing units, including 64 replacement units and 79 new units. This project will include 15 units set aside for formerly homeless households at the Boston Housing Authority's J.J. Carroll Apartments at 130 Chestnut Hill Avenue being redeveloped by 2Life Communities
$7,000,000 to the Parcel P-12C development on 290 Tremont Street, to fund 85 affordable rental units out of a total of 168 units in the development. In total, 105 units will be rentals and 63 will be homeownership units, including 11 units set aside for formerly homeless individuals. This transformational project is anticipated to include a new library branch, a cafe and hotel, pedestrian plaza, and expanded parking. The units will be part of a proposed mixed-use affordable housing project on a Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) owned parking lot being developed by Asian CDC and Millennium Partners.
$2,600,000 to 9 Leyland Street, a projectrevitalizing a vacant lot by building 43 affordable senior-housing units, including five units set aside for formerly homeless individuals. The building will incorporate passive house design standards for sustainability and is being developed byDorchester Bay EDC.
$2,500,000 for The Aileron at 131 and 141-151 Condor Street. The rental phase of a development combining rental and homeownership units with a special focus on certified artist housing and workspace. It will create 24 affordable rental units, including four units set aside for formerly homeless individuals and is being developed by Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, Inc. (NOAH).
- $2,000,000 to the former Barton Rogers School, an adaptive reuse of a historic schoolhouse in the center of Hyde Park that will create 74 much-needed income-restricted senior housing units. The project will be Boston's first designated LGBTQ-supported housing development for seniors being developed by the Pennrose Development.
- $236,000 for 23-25 Rosebury Road, supporting two new affordable homeownership units being developed by Norfolk Design & Construction.
- $4,772,000 for 1599 Columbus Avenue, an affordable project with 65 total rental units including seven units set aside for formerly homeless individuals in Jackson Square, targeting economically vulnerable households and revitalizing several vacant and distressed lots being developed by Urban Edge Housing Corporation.
- $9,000,000 for 3368 Washington Street, supporting 202 units of what will be Boston's largest integrated permanent supportive housing project for homeless individuals and families. The project will include 140 units for chronically homeless individuals. It will also include an additional 62 income-restricted units for affordable units for low- and moderate-income families. The project is being developed by the Pine Street Inn and the Community Builders
$2,550,000 for Newcastle/Saranac Apartments at 599 & 607-627 Columbus Avenue. This funding will assist in finalizing the preservation, recapitalization, and stabilization of 97 apartments, including 10 units set aside for formerly homeless individuals. Newcastle Saranac's long-term affordability restrictions were set to expire as the former owners paid off the mortgage they'd received using the MassHousing 13A program. This project being managed by Fenway Community Development Corporation & Schochet Companies
$1,860,000 to 150 River Street for new construction of 30 units of affordable senior housing with six units set aside for formerly homeless individuals. Being developed by the Planning Office for Urban Affairs & Caribbean Integration Community Development on a vacant city-owned site.
$2,750,000 for Four Oaks to develop 22 units of affordable supportive housing for youth aging out of foster care. The building will also include a new headquarters for The Home for Little Wanderers and clinical space for The Dimock Center, being developed by The Home for Little Wanderers and Alinea Capital Partners.
- $4,880,000 for 2147 Washington Street in Nubian Square to create 74 units of mixed-use rental and ownership, including 8 units set aside for formerly homeless individuals. This development will include artist housing and studio space, public open space, and a new Haley House Cafe location on Washington Street.
- $1,975,000 to fund 20 new affordable units for first-time homebuyers at 75-81 Dudley Street. The development will include 20 new income-restricted homeownership units in Nubian Square with ground-floor commercial space for a small businesses developed by the Madison Park Community Development Corporation
- $1,750,000 or 40-50 Warren Street, a mixed-use project with 25 units of affordable housing, including three units set aside for formerly homeless individuals and affordable retail and coworking space for Roxbury-based small businesses being developed by the New Urban Collaborative.
- $4,350,000 to the Fountain Hill development at 25 Fountain Street and 50 Regent Street, creating a blend of 26 affordable homeownership units of varying sizes located on a long-vacant lot in the heart of Roxbury in the Tommy's Rock neighborhood. Being developed by Oxbow Urban.
- $3,505,000 for Dudley Crossing at 375-397 Dudley Street & 204-210 Hampden Street. This development will be a combination of rehab and new construction to preserve historic buildings in Nubian Square while deepening affordability for its residents with 47 income-restricted rental units and five units set aside for formerly homeless individuals being developed by Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation
- $800,000 for E+Highland at 273-287 Highland Street which is a transformative, energy positive project leveraging parcels of city-owned land including 23 mixed-income rental units. Of these, 10 units will be affordable to low-income households, including three units set aside for formerly homeless individuals, and five units will be set aside for moderate-income households between Highland Park and Jackson Square neighborhood being developed by Rees-Larkin Development
$3,700,000 to B'nai B'rith Housing for the Residences off Baker development, which will contribute to the creation of 45 new affordable rental units, including eight units set aside for formerly homeless individuals and families.
In his State of the City address last month, Mayor Walsh pledged to dedicate $500 million over the next five years to create thousands of homes across Boston affordable to households with low and middle incomes. The $69.2 investment announced today represents City funding over and above this new commitment. All investments will support the City's goals of creating rental and homeownership opportunities, preserving public housing units, and establishing the first city-funded voucher program.
Through increases in the City's operating and capital budgets, the investment announced in the Mayor's State of the City address will double the City's current funding in affordable housing to $100 million. Additional revenue will be generated by selling the Lafayette Garage, as well as working with the Massachusetts Legislature to approve a transfer fee of up to 2 percent on private real estate sales over $2 million in the City of Boston. These combined investments will increase the available funds for affordable housing to five times current funding levels over the next five years.
Since Mayor Walsh took office, the City of Boston has built over 65 percent of the new homes in Greater Boston, with 20 percent of new homes being affordable housing, according to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Boston has surpassed 33,000 units permitted under the administration's housing plan, including over 6,300 affordable housing units and over 500 units for senior housing. More than 1,000 BHA units have been renovated and the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) has assisted over 600 homebuyers in purchasing their homes.
Mayor Walsh yesterday announced that he is launching a working group to study broker fees in Boston, and how they impact renters across the City of Boston. Mayor Walsh will name members of the working group by the end of February, which will include a wide range of stakeholders. Boston's strategy of increasing overall supply of housing units is beginning to show a stabilizing effect on the housing market. Year over year rental listing data from 2017 and 2018 in Boston shows rents increasing by 2.7 percent in older housing stock, and 3.3 percent in all housing, including newly-built stock.
Boston has been trending away from large year-over-year increases in rent costs for several quarters as development catches up with demand, creating more rental opportunities across the City. This trend continued in 2019: a year-over-year comparison of the first two quarters in 2018 and 2019 show rent prices incrementally increasing by 1.7 percent in older housing stock, with a 1.5 percent increase in all housing stock.