Boston Tenant Coalition
“Middle Income” Housing Crisis??????
Letter signed by 11 housing, homeless, and tenant groups and a petition to Mayor Menino and Mayor Elect Marty Walsh for a better allocation of Boston’s housing funds to those in need
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETSS (December 16, 2013) – . The Boston Tenant Coalition (BTC), along with 10 other housing, homeless, tenant, and housing groups from across Boston sent a letter to Mayor Menino and Mayor Elect Marty Walsh to urge the City of Boston to devote new affordable housing resources (below-market housing units and cash payments, proceeds from the sale of city-owned land and free or discounted city-owned land) from Boston’s Inclusionary Development Program and other sources to Boston’s low and moderate income residents They also have initiated an on-line and paper petition to show the support for this change, asking the Mayor, Mayor Elect and city Councilors to direct inclusionary development funds and city land to meet Boston’s REAL housing needs vs what groups see as a fictional “Middle Income” housing crisis.
According to data in the City’s Consolidated Plan, American Community Survey and information in the recently released in Mayor’s 2020 Housing Plan and Boston Report Card, there is a mismatch between housing need in Boston and the targeting of City resources. As stated in the City’s 2020 report, there are close to 46,000 households paying over 50% of their incomes for housing. Within that number, 23,000 are extremely low income, at risk of becoming homeless. Homelessness is already at an all-time high in Boston and likely to get worse. Because of federal sequestration and budget cuts, the Boston Housing Authority may be forced to terminate as many as 500 families from Section 8 rental assistance. Thousands of families, in and out of Boston, are reaching the end of time-limited HOMEBASE rental assistance and many will be forced to return to homeless shelters.
The city is proposing to allocate 11 million dollars in uncommitted funds generated by the Inclusionary Development Program (IDP), selling public land at deep discount and initiating or expanding other programs on behalf of ” Middle Income” households,. The 2020 Boston Housing Plan advocates for using IDP cash-out funds to create a “Middle Class Housing Access Fund” to allow Middle Income buyers to buy into high-cost neighborhoods. The problem is that when you look at the data, no Boston median-income Black, Latino, Asian, or renter household would be able to access the proposed “Middle Income” housing programs.
Data released by the recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University further documents the crisis for low income Boston and Massachusetts residents. Julia Stasch, Vice President, U.S. Programs, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation states,” The release of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies rental housing report is a further indicator that serious discussion about market trends and implications for U.S. housing policy can no longer be deferred.”(Harvard Report)
The BTC and members hope that with the letters and petition, and further read of the data, the City will change course in the final days of the Menino administration and with the incoming Mayor Walsh administration. The Boston Tenant Coalition is a coalition of grassroots tenant neighborhood groups, community development corporations, and homeless and advocacy organizations that promotes affordable housing in Boston, organized to defend and expand the rights of tenants, and to push city, state and federal government, as well as private industry to address the needs of low-income tenants