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April 2021: Latest updates from the Department of Neighborhood Development

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Neighborhood Development

Welcome to the Department of Neighborhood Development’s monthly newsletter. This April update focuses on our ongoing work: assisting renters, creating new affordable housing, supporting open space, and assisting homeowners and homebuyers.

Assisting Renters


Rental Relief Fund Update

Mayor Kim Janey announced that the City of Boston is making a record $50 million in federal funding available to help Boston renters stay stably housed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rental Relief Fund was one of the first funds in the nation created to offer financial support to residents at risk of losing their housing due to impacts from COVID-19.

The new funding will expand the scope of the current program beyond solely paying for rent, allowing the City to assist eligible renters with utility bills, and moving costs, including the first and last month’s rent and security deposit. Approximately $3 million from this funding is being allocated to assist Boston Housing Authority (BHA) public housing tenants, with rental arrears.

Find out more and apply for the funding.


Building Affordable Housing

Linkage Increase Signed Into Law

Last month, the City signed a 42 percent increase in Boston’s Linkage fees into law. The Linkage Program requires large scale commercial developments of more than 100,000 square feet in Boston to pay into funds that support the creation of affordable housing and workforce development. The increase will raise the current fees to $15.39 per square foot, of which $13.00 will be dedicated to affordable housing and $2.39 will be dedicated to workforce training. The funds collected through Linkage are administered by the Neighborhood Housing Trust through the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) and the Neighborhood Jobs Trust through the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development. Since 2014, the Linkage program has generated over $80 million to support affordable housing and job training from new development.

Pictured: 2147 Washington Street, 70 rental and homeownership units in Nubian Square


Supporting Open Space

Morrison Street

Four parcels on Morrison Street in Roslindale were recently transferred to the Boston Conservation Commission. They will become part of the already existing Roslindale Wetlands, abutting Eldon Street and near Watler and Weld Streets.

 

Grassroots Request for Proposals

The Grassroots Program is currently offering funding of up to $100,000 per project in the City of Boston for open space capital projects on private land, or public land that is not in Neighborhood Development's inventory. Funding is available, for projects small and large, to 501(c)(3) organizations only, in neighborhoods where over 51% of the population are low-moderate income. Funding is on a rolling first-come, first-served basis. Please see the Grassroots Open Space Funding FY21 Request for Proposals for more information.


Supporting Homeowners and Homebuyers

The Boston Home Center helps Bostonians purchase and maintain their homes, offering a suite of services designed to help Bostonians become and remain successful homeowners. Foreclosure prevention assistance is also offered. To find out how the Boston Home Center can help you, go to the BHC website or call 617-635-4663.

Featured Program: ONE+Boston Homebuying Program

The ONE+Boston homebuying program consists of two components:

Eligible residents are able to receive a reduced interest rate on a ONE+Boston mortgage, which is given by the Massachusetts Housing Partnership through one of our six lenders. The Department of Neighborhood Development provides the funds for the write down of the mortgage utilizing Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds. For some borrowers this could mean up to a 1% reduction from the already discounted ONE Mortgage rates.

The second component is down payment or closing cost assistance from the Boston Home Center which also uses CPA funds. Eligible residents can receive up to $30,000 for down payment or closing costs for a condo or single family; more for multi-family units. Our loans offer no interest. The loan is repaid when you refinance, or at the transfer of title, sale, or when you no longer keep the home as your primary residence.



Request for Proposals: Racial Equity Work

DND is seeking a partner to help complete a racial equity assessment and action plan.

The selected vendor will work with us to foster racial equity in the workplace and begin building the tools and infrastructure to foster racial equity in the communities we serve.

We expect this work to involve in-depth conversations and engagement with staff to understand the inequities that exist within the department, level-setting workshops for staff, and an examination of how our programs and policies contribute to systemic racism in Boston. The work will culminate in an action plan to create sustainable and measurable change.

Here is the link to the RFP.


Upcoming Meetings and Hearings

Boston Home Center Virtual Homebuying Expo

On Saturday, May 1 at 9am join the Boston Home Center for a half day of virtual classes to help you buy your first home!

At this event, you can learn more about ONE+Boston and other homebuying programs.

Complete our online form to sign up.

PY21 Action Plan Hearing #2

Join us for a virtual meeting on Tuesday, April 27, from 6 - 7:30 p.m. to discuss DND’s plan to use $28 million in HUD funds to address housing and community development needs in Boston.

Interpretation details in Spanish, Cantonese, and Mandarin will be posted on April 27. 

View more information and the meeting link.

Virtual Office of Housing Stability Clinic for Tenants and Small Landlords

Every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., the Office of Housing Stability hosts a virtual clinic.

This clinic begins with a presentation on the eviction process, then there are breakout groups where you can speak with attorneys, a landlord mediator, and OHS staff.

This staff can assist you with applying for the Rental Relief Fund.

Complete our online form to RSVP for this virtual clinic.

Egleston Square Affordable Housing+ Public Libraries Workshop

On Thursday, April 29, at 6 p.m., the Housing iLab and the Department of Neighborhood Development will be hosting this virtual workshop as part of the ongoing Egleston Square library programming study process.

Topics to be discussed include: how affordable housing is created; how opportunities for library and housing projects are identified; what different housing models could be considered; and more!

Attend the workshop via Zoom


Job Postings

Deputy Director, Office of Housing Stability

The City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) is seeking a Deputy Director for Housing Stability to join our talented senior leadership team. We are looking for a passionate housing policy advocate, strong leader, and experienced case manager to lead the Office of Housing Stability. This position is more critical than ever as we work to prevent evictions in the wake of the pandemic.

The Deputy is responsible for operating programs to assist Bostonians in housing crisis - whether this crisis is due to eviction, landlord-tenant disputes, rent escalations, unplanned loss of housing, or any other rental housing emergency. To be effective in this role, the Deputy Director must be both a case manager and a housing policy advocate. This role is an exciting opportunity for a passionate advocate to dramatically impact the lives of Bostonians, during a critical moment in history.

The job description and application portal can be found online.


Metrolist

Find affordable rental and home ownership opportunities in the Metro-Boston area by using the Metrolist. Use it to determine what kind of home you’re eligible for and search for homes based on your needs. Don’t forget to sign up for the mailing list to be alerted to the latest housing opportunities.