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Councilor Bok calls for her first hearing regarding cooperative housing

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City Council

During this week’s City Council meeting, Councilor Bok delivered her maiden speech on the Council floor, presenting a hearing order regarding the current state of cooperative housing in Boston and strategies for its further expansion.

Cooperative housing arrangements, particularly limited-equity cooperatives, provide a proven mechanism for keeping people from all walks of life in the City, especially middle-income families and seniors, at a time at which so many families are being priced out of Boston.

Councilor Bok noted that the cooperative housing developments in her district, including West End Place, Beacon Hill Friends House, Kenmore Tower, numerous limited-equity cooperatives of East Fenway, and Charlesbank in Mission Hill have flourished for many years.

She discussed the success of Boston’s current large-scale cooperatives at engaging civic life, and called on City Officials to explore ways in which the creation of more housing cooperatives can be supported.

Councilor Bok ended her speech by highlighting Enoch “Woody” Woodhouse, a resident of the Charlesbank cooperative, who turned 93 years old this year and served as a Tuskegee airman.  Councilor Bok reiterated Woody's life story and its racial implications to the Council and its visitors.

Speaking to his story and others like Woody, Councilor Bok said, “We need to chart the course for the future of cooperative housing in Boston now. That future is also about preserving our past, because cooperatives steward our living history. They are home to some of our greatest citizens.”

“I ran for City Council because I felt that we’re facing urgent challenges that require a corresponding urgency of action on issues from housing to public transportation to climate change to income inequality.”

Watch Councilor Bok’s entire maiden speech.