November 2022: Latest Updates from the Mayor's Office of Housing
EAST BOSTON NEIGHBORHOOD TRUST ACQUIRES 36 MULTI-FAMILY BUILDINGS
Last month Mayor Michelle Wu announced that the newly created East Boston Neighborhood Trust will acquire 36 multi-family buildings (114 units). The deal will establish the state’s first Mixed Income Neighborhood Trust (MINT) and ensure the affordability of these family-sized units in perpetuity. The $47 million acquisition was made possible by a $12 million investment by the City, including $9 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), $2 million from the Cares Act, and $1 million in Inclusionary Development funds.
The purchase is part of the Acquisition Opportunity Program (AOP). The goal of the AOP is to allow affordable housing developers and nonprofits to fight displacement by acquiring units in the private market and securing affordable rents for current and future residents for the long term.
GROWBOSTON ANNOUNCES GRASSROOTS URBAN AGRICULTURE FUNDING AWARDS AND NEW ADVISORY BOARD
Mayor Wu joined farmers, gardeners, and residents of the Boston Housing Authority’s Franklin Field Elderly Development to celebrate the announcement of the GrowBoston: Office of Urban Agriculture’s Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is made up of environmental advocates, farmers, gardeners, and urban agriculture stakeholders and will provide critical insight based on their varied expertise and connections in the community, give GrowBoston feedback on programs, and assist with outreach to stakeholders.
The Mayor also announced $600,000 in Grassroots Program funding to support non-profit organizations in developing and renovating urban farms, community gardens, and other open spaces in Boston. The nine sites awarded in Roxbury, Dorchester, Charlestown, Brighton, Jamaica Plain, and Back Bay will have a year to make capital improvements funded by the latest Grassroots funding round. These improvements will include new and expanded community gardens, improvements to urban farms and food forests, a new outdoor classroom, a new rooftop farm, and a community Greenway.
THE CITY OF BOSTON AND THE FENWAY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION CELEBRATE THE BURBANK TERRACE APARTMENTS GROUNDBREAKING
The Mayor’s Office of Housing joined the Fenway Community Development Corporation (CDC) and neighborhood residents to celebrate the groundbreaking of Burbank Terrace Apartments, which will bring 27 new units of income-restricted housing to the East Fens.
In 2021, with the help of the City, State, and other key partners, Fenway CDC was able to purchase the 72 Burbank St. parcel from a private developer with plans and zoning approvals already in place, thus removing more than a year from the standard development timeline.
MAYOR WU SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER TO STREAMLINE APPROVAL OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Mayor Wu recently signed an executive order designed to speed up the production of affordable housing. The executive order aims to remove barriers and make the process for developing affordable housing easier across the city. The current process to approve affordable housing takes an average of 337 days. This executive order aims to reduce that time in half.
The order directs the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) to recommend changes to Article 80 of the Boston Zoning Code to establish an alternative path for the review of affordable housing developments. The new process will include community engagement and thorough agency review, but also establish clear and accelerated timelines.