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Councilor Santana Delivers His Maiden Speech

Councilor Santana’s maiden speech was filled with history and stories as he offered his first hearing order to explore strategies for developing mixed-income social housing to increase housing access and affordability for all Bostonians.

Councilor Santana’s hearing order states that, “Social Housing is publicly financed, mixed-income housing that recoups public investment for the public good, and has been proven to be a sustainable method to produce and maintain high-quality and affordable housing for a wide range of income levels.”

The majority of Boston households are renters, and the majority of Boston renters are housing cost-burdened. Data demonstrates housing is currently unaffordable for most Bostonians.

Public housing owned and/or operated by the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) is one tool to address housing needs for low-income households. Currently, there is insufficient BHA housing to meet demand, as waiting times for BHA housing “can be over ten years from the date of application,” and “a community's waiting list may range from 1,200 to 13,000 applicants."

During his speech, Councilor Santana shared different stories of Bostonians and their experiences with housing in the City. He also spoke about his own experiences growing up in public housing. As a child who was born in the Dominican Republic, and came to Boston with his family when he was just three years old, he would not have believed that one day he’d be a Boston City Councilor.

“But because of our community investments — here I am,” said Councilor Santana. “I am the product of what happens when we come together and invest in our public good. And in that spirit, I humbly ask my Council colleagues to come together to explore the success other cities have had addressing housing access and affordability with mixed-income social housing programs, and to identify ways we can implement similar programs here to benefit our Boston residents.”

The hearing order was assigned to the Committee on Housing and Community Development.

Listen to Councilor Santana’s maiden speech.

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