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New affordable housing goals aim to add 69,000 new units by 2030

Update sets new goals for affordable housing and mitigating displacement.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the City of Boston will increase its overall housing targets from 53,000 units to 69,000 units to meet Boston's population growth and increase the number of housing opportunities available to residents. These new housing goals, which were first set in 2014 through Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030, build on Mayor Walsh's commitment to increasing access to home ownership, preventing displacement and promoting fair and equitable housing access.

After analyzing new data, Boston estimates that the city's population will reach almost 760,000 people by the year 2030. To meet the population growth and increase the number of housing opportunities available to residents, Boston has increased its overall housing goal.

Reflecting Mayor Walsh's commitment to keeping Boston affordable to a range of incomes, the updated plan commits to maintaining Boston's stock of income-restricted affordable housing at its nearly 20 percent rate. Of the 69,000 new units that will be created by 2030, 15,820 of them will be income restricted. By 2030, the total number of income-restricted housing units in Boston will be nearly 70,000. In the 2018 update, Mayor Walsh commits to acquiring 1,000 market-rate rental units from the housing market and making them income restricted units.

"Creating affordable housing and addressing housing costs is critical as we preserve the diversity and character that makes Boston a city for all residents," said Mayor Walsh. "Homes are where every resident in every neighborhood deserves to feel safe and supported. This updated plan increases Boston's affordable housing goals, as we ensure all families who wish to live in Boston are supported. In addition, we'll continue to build bridges with cities and towns throughout our region to ensure all residents have accessible and affordable housing options."

In 2014, the City based its housing goals on projected growth in Boston's population to 709,400 people by 2030. With 27,513 housing units permitted thus far, production has exceeded expectations, but the projected population of Boston has increased as well. The City of Boston has been working with the Massachusetts Area Planning Council (MAPC) and the Metro Mayor's Regional Housing Task Force to forecast housing need. Using the best demographic data now available, Boston's 2030 population is projected to be 759,727 people. To accomodate Boston's growing population, the city has increased its affordable housing goals.

Last week, the City released an affordable housing funding round that includes more than $16 million in city affordable housing funds, and the first large scale awards of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding for affordable housing development projects. As the City continues to make strides to create more affordable housing, as seen through the updated 2018 plan, it is also working with regional partners to ensure affordable housing is a reality throughout the region through the Metro Mayor's Regional Housing Task Force, which is expected to soon issue a Regional Housing Plan.

"We are excited about the Mayor's updated plan to preserve our neighborhoods, slow displacement and build the housing we need for those who live here now and those who will move here in the future," said Joseph Kriesberg, President of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC). "The plan includes specific and sizeable commitments to add more than 15,000 affordable homes to our city, to preserve existing low cost housing, and drive growth to sensible locations. We also applaud Mayor Walsh for working closely with cities and towns across the region to address the housing crisis throughout Eastern Massachusetts because this problem can only be addressed at the regional level."

"MassHousing looks forward to working with Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston to realize these revised goals," said Chrystal Kornegay, executive director of MassHousing. "Increasing affordable housing in Boston and across the state is our highest priority."

The updated Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030 plan reaffirms the City's commitment to housing affordability, increasing access to home ownership, preventing displacement, and promoting fair and equitable housing access. In addition, the City will collaborate with advocates, providers, and other professionals to reduce the number of evictions in both the subsidized and private housing markets, and to implement strategies that raise the rate of first-time home buyers, particularly among households of color.

Building on the original plan's goals to increase housing production and affordable housing across the region, the updated plan can be summarized in three major housing affordability categories: production of new housing, preservation of existing affordable housing, and protection of those households most at risk.

  • Build 69,000 new housing units across a range of incomes by 2030: To accommodate faster than expected regional growth, the City of Boston is committing to increase its goal as part of a regional housing development strategy.

  • Redirect development pressures away from core neighborhoods and towards opportunities for growth: Building upon the Imagine Boston 2030 planning framework, focus on preserving and enhancing existing neighborhoods by steering development to the IB 2030 "expanded neighborhood" areas. This will also reduce development pressure within existing neighborhoods.

  • Create 15,820 income-restricted long term affordable homes: This will bring the total number of income-restricted homes in Boston to nearly 70,000.

  • Retain Boston's existing income-restricted/affordable housing: Reaffirm the 2014 plan goal of preserving 97 percent of all affordable housing units as well as 85 percent of the 4,000 units in privately-owned affordable units at highest risk of being lost ("expiring use" properties).

  • Rebuild Boston's Public Housing: Homes provided by the BHA serve many of Boston's poorest and most vulnerable residents. The City must prioritize efforts to re-develop and renovate up to 4,500 BHA units with both public and private financing.

  • Launch a 1,000 homes campaign: With prices remaining high in much of Boston's rental housing market, the City commits to combat displacement by establishing a goal of supporting the purchase of 1,000 rental housing units from the speculative market and income-restricting them via an expanded Acquisition Opportunity Program. These units are part of the 15,820 affordable unit production plan.

  • Prevent evictions and promote housing stability: The City will work with affordable housing partners citywide to reduce the eviction rate in both subsidized and market rate housing, prioritize the creation of income-restricted affordable housing to protect Bostonians from the pressures of the housing market, and mitigate impacts of gentrification through targeted home buying programs, strategic acquisitions, community land trusts and cooperative housing, tenant assistance, and expanded outreach to seniors.

  • Strengthen communities through home ownership: The updated plan will include commitments to increase the resources the City and others provide to first time home buyers to offer additional pathways for moderate and middle income families to become homeowners in Boston.

The Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030 plan ties directly into the Imagine Boston 2030 planning effort, which culminated in 2017 with the release Boston's first comprehensive citywide plan in a generation and emphasized housing affordability as a key goal.

The full plan is available online here.

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