Latest Updates from the Mayor's Office of Housing (February 2022)
This month’s newsletter is a snapshot of all the ways the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH) is serving Bostonians with their housing needs through our core work: creating and preserving income-restricted housing; housing our unhoused neighbors; assisting Bostonians in buying, repairing, and preventing foreclosure of their homes; helping renters with rental assistance to remain stably housed or helping them find new affordable housing; and developing and enacting new policies and programs to further help residents achieve their goals of stable housing and homeownership.
Progress on Affordable Housing
The first month of 2022 saw the Mayor’s Office of Housing make significant progress on a number of projects, programs, and initiatives related to creating and preserving affordable housing. Here are some highlights.
Construction Begins on Transforming 3368 Washington Street in Jamaica Plain into Supportive Housing
Construction has started on the largest supportive housing development in Boston at 3368 Washington in Jamaica Plain (pictured above). The new building is possible because Pine Street Inn (PSI) is allowing for the conversion of their former warehouse into a mixed-use development, and has created a partnership with The Community Builders to share ownership.
Once completed, the new building will provide 202 units of affordable housing, of which 140 apartments will be reserved for people who are currently experiencing homelessness, and 62 apartments will be income-restricted for families. The property will be managed by The Community Builders (TCB), with programs and services for residents provided by TCB’s Community Life team, trained to connect families to healthcare, education, and employment. Additional supportive services for the 140 units for those moving out of homelessness will be provided by PSI, which will also be an anchor tenant on the first floor.
To further support the new residents, the Boston Housing Authority will provide 156 Project-Based Vouchers (PBV) to the development, including vouchers for all 140 units designated for individuals moving out of homelessness.
The plans for 3368 Washington Street were announced in March 2019, and are widely supported by the residents of the surrounding community. The building is due to be completed in late 2023.
Mayor Wu Commits $40 Million to Create and Preserve Affordable Housing
Pictured: a group photo from the funding round event on January 25.
Mayor Michelle Wu recently announced $40 million in funding from the Mayor’s Office of Housing, the Neighborhood Housing Trust (NHT), and the Community Preservation Fund to create and preserve more than 700 income-restricted units of housing in Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Chinatown, Hyde Park, and Roxbury. This ambitious portfolio of projects includes rental housing for families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities, while also creating new homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income Bostonians. The projects will advance Mayor Wu’s climate agenda by producing zero-emissions, transit-oriented development.
These projects efficiently utilize City resources and/or land to increase the supply of housing affordable to low- and moderate-income households, which was a priority in the RFP that was released early last fall.
Successful RFPs also prioritize projects that address income inequality and increase representation and financial benefit to Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) professionals and community members. Preference was given to projects where a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) owned 20% or more of the project or received 20% or more of non-construction-related fees. In addition, the RFPs also prioritized projects in neighborhoods that do not currently meet the city-wide average of income-restricted housing. Finally, the RFPs required enhanced equity & inclusion planning in terms of both hiring and resident services to support economic stability and growth.
The list of funding awards can be found in the press release.
25 Amory Street in Jamaica Plain is Move-In Ready!
A previous awardee of City of Boston funds, 25 Amory Street in Jamaica Plain (pictured above), has received its Certificate of Occupancy and is ready for new residents!
Developer Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), and NEI General Contracting Incorporated have substantially completed this 44 unit rental building, at a transit-oriented location in Jackson Square. 25 Amory was built on a lot previously owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that was left empty for 50 years after an extension of I-95 was never built.
25 Amory has 15 one-bedroom units, 23 two-bedroom units, and 6 three-bedroom units. All 44 units will be deeded as affordable in perpetuity.
Five units are set aside for formerly homeless families. Nine units will be affordable to individuals or families who earn $35,700 or less for a family of four. Three units will be affordable to families who earn $59,500 or less for a family of four. The remaining 27 units will be available for families who earn $71,400 or less for a family of four.
25 Amory Street is the fourth development project of the Jackson Square Redevelopment Initiative (JSRI), a joint venture between The Community Builders (TCB), Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), Urban Edge, and the City of Boston. The JSRI aims to revitalize more than 8 acres of vacant land by creating more than 300 new units of affordable housing in the Jackson Square neighborhood. These units also move the City closer to its affordability goals for Jamaica Plain and Roxbury as defined in the PLAN:JP/Rox, a plan for the area between Forest Hills, Egleston Square and Jackson Square. Since the plan launched in 2017, 57% of the 859 new units created in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury have been income restricted — more than double the citywide rate of 20%. 389 or 79% of the 495 new income-restricted units created have been reserved for Bostonians earning less than 60% of Area Median Income (AMI), or $72,480 for a family of three.
Feasibility Studies for Inclusionary Development and Linkage
Mayor Wu is committed to ensuring that new development in Boston brings as many benefits as possible to all Bostonians, especially those in low- and moderate-income households. Bostonians benefit from the revenue streams created through the City’s Inclusionary Development Policy for private housing development and the “Linkage Fee” levied on commercial development in Boston. Those funds are used to create and preserve income-restricted and affordable housing, and provide for job training and job readiness programming. Recent legislation requires the completion of a new study in order for the City to make changes to these policies. MOH has issued two Requests for Proposals (RFPs), to secure consulting services on the following:
- Assessment of the City of Boston Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) and the Feasibility of Changes to the Policy: This study will look closely at what the City can require of market-rate housing developers in terms of providing income-restricted housing, whether within the market-rate development, or though off-site units or contributions to the IDP Fund. The study will look at a range of options, including increasing the percentage of units that are income-restricted, increasing contribution fees, and refining the income limits so as to better meet Boston’s housing needs.
- Nexus Study on the Relationship Between Non-Residential Development and the Cost and Supply of Housing and Employment Opportunities for all Boston Residents: This study will look closely at the relationship between new commercial development and the need for new, income-restricted housing and job training. The study will look at increasing the “Linkage” fees, lowering the square footage that triggers Linkage fees, and examine how different uses (labs, offices, etc.) may be able to support different fee structures.
Bids are open until February 22, 2022, and consultants will be selected before April 1, 2022, with the study to be completed by September 2022. Recommendations for both of these programs will be issued in the fall.
One+ Boston Mortgage Program is Helping Bostonians Buy Homes and Build Wealth
In June 2020, the City of Boston rolled out the ONE+Boston mortgage program. One+Boston gives income qualified, first-time Boston homebuyers a greater ability to purchase a home in Boston by combining a discount on a low-interest rate mortgage product with enhanced down payment and closing assistance. The ONE+Boston program is Boston’s first affordable mortgage product to be created specifically for low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers who currently live in Boston, and are purchasing a home within the city limits.
So far, the Boston Home Center has helped more than 160 Bostonians successfully purchase new homes. Of these new homebuyers, more than 70% of those helped by the ONE+Mortgage Program are from households of color, and 53% of the new homebuyers earned at or below 80% of AMI or $80,850 for a two-person household.
The City of Boston funds finance a permanent reduction in the interest rate of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and offers downpayment and closing cost assistance. The interest-rate reduction means new homebuyers can afford a larger mortgage at a lower monthly payment that is still affordable to them, and ultimately, translates into more buying power for the new homebuyer. Homes purchased through this program may be market rate, or income-restricted.
Almost 60% of the properties purchased by the One+Boston program were market-rate, proving that with the backing of this innovative mortgage program, first-time home buyers can buy their first home in Boston’s very competitive housing market. In the past, most first-time homebuyers assisted by the Boston Home Center were buying income-restricted properties. With the capacity to buy in the open real estate market, One+Boston recipients have the opportunity to more easily build equity and subsequent generational wealth.
The ONE+Boston program is one of several City resources available to homebuyers and homeowners in Boston. Through the Boston Home Center, residents can receive assistance in purchasing, improving, and keeping their home through a suite of resources including training, financial help and counseling to first-time homebuyers, guidance, and funding for homeowners for home improvements, and counseling to help families avoid foreclosure. The Home Center also markets homes developed for income-eligible, first-time homebuyers.
42nd Annual Census of Boston’s Homeless Residents to be held on Feb 23, 2022
Mayor Wu, Boston’s street homelessness team, service provider partners, first responders, and members of the Supportive Housing Division at MOH will gather late in the evening on February 23rd to conduct Boston’s 42nd Annual Homelessness survey. This point-in-time count will utilize data from Boston’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) to account for the number of Boston’s staying in shelter overnight on the 23rd. In addition, City of Boston staff, partners, and volunteers will fan out across the city to count those residents that are unsheltered. Any person that is found overnight on the streets will be offered assistance, including medical help from emergency staff that will be standing by, shelter, and other assistance to stabilize their circumstances.
The point-in-time count is a requirement mandated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and will be taking place across the United States during the winter of 2022. HUD uses the Census to measure the effectiveness of homelessness programs and to identify gaps and additional needs. It's also weighted as part of the measures that HUD employs to allocate funding for these services across the nation.
In most years, this event happens in late January. During the pandemic, however, the count has been shifted to limit contact between unrelated individuals, both surveyors and the surveyed, to ensure this census is as safe as possible.
Office of Housing Stability: Workshops and Events
Every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., the Office of Housing Stability hosts a virtual clinic for small landlords and tenants. Complete the online form to RSVP for this virtual clinic.
Every Wednesday at 12 p.m., Office of Housing Stability staff host virtual walk-in hours to answer your housing questions. Complete the online form to RSVP for these walk-in hours.
Join the Office of Housing Stability for a Housing Search Workshop on February 15 at 12 p.m. and a Tenant Rights Workshop on February 16 at 6 p.m.
You can also find OHS Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 43 Hawkins Street. They have staff available to assist you with any housing support you may need.
MOH is Hiring for Multiple Positions
MOH is looking for dedicated individuals who want to join us in our work to make Boston a better, more equitable city. We’re looking for leaders in the housing field, as well as professionals who are passionate about public service.
Take a look below to see what’s available — and forward these job descriptions to people in your circle who should be applying.
Deputy Director for Homeownership Programs, Boston Home Center
The Deputy Director for Homeownership Programs is responsible for overseeing the management and operations of the Boston Home Center's Homeownership Programs. Learn more and apply.
Deputy Director, Office of Housing Stability
The Deputy Director is responsible for operating the Office of Housing Stability. Learn more and apply.
Associate Deputy Director, Supportive Housing
The Associate Director is responsible for overall leadership, supervision and project management associated with policy and strategic plans to support the mission of equitably ending homelessness in Boston. This is a senior leadership role that will supervise and manage staff, consultants, and contractors that lead system change, implementation, and efforts related to policy and strategic plans. Learn more and apply.
Assistant Director, Supportive Housing
The Assistant Director is responsible for overall leadership, supervision and project management associated with funding, data and performance to support the mission of equitably ending homelessness in Boston. This is a senior leadership role that will supervise and manage staff, consultants, and contractors, including but not limited to the team responsible for collecting and reporting on all homeless data through the Homeless Management Information Systems in Boston and the unit that manages the Division’s housing and services contracts. Learn more and apply.
Assistant Director, Neighborhood Housing Development
The Assistant Director is responsible for a variety of housing development programs and projects. Learn more and apply.
Senior Housing Development Officer, Supportive Housing
This new Senior Housing Development Officer to End Family Homelessness role will work in close partnership with the Office of Housing Stability, as well as staff the Special Commission on Ending Family Homelessness. Learn more and apply.
Housing Development Officer, Neighborhood Housing Development
The Housing Development Officer is responsible for all appropriate project and program management activities for assigned housing development projects and initiatives. Learn more and apply.
Construction Specialist II, Neighborhood Housing Development
The Construction Specialist II is responsible for all construction management and oversight activities and assistance for development projects and programs, including but not limited to 1-3 family rehabs, adaptive re-use developments, renovations of existing rental developments and new construction, wood frame, masonry and steel mid-rise and high rise construction. Learn more and apply.
Special Assistant to the Director
The Special Assistant provides administrative services to the chief of housing and other members of the director’s office by performing work of a highly confidential and complex nature. Learn more and apply.