On Thursday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh released a housing report, Housing a Changing City Boston 2030, setting a goal of creating an additional 53,000 housing units in Boston by 2030. Mayor Walsh’s plan states that Boston’s population is expected to exceed 700,000 people by 2030, an increase over 15% and the highest population in Boston since the 1950’s. Walsh’s plan, which can be found here, targets all sectors of the housing market place. The lifting of some zoning restrictions and the granting of permission to build higher buildings are aimed at private sector development for middle income residents to create over 20,000 new units. More housing in the market will also be opened up, Walsh hopes, by the addition of 18,500 new dormitory beds to bring students back on to campuses from neighborhoods.
Mayor Walsh announced his new plan at the construction site of One Greenway, a project being undertaken by the Asian Community Development Corporation in Boston’s Chinatown to provide 362 residential units, including 217 market rate rental units, 95 affordable rental units, and 50 affordable condominiums/home owner units. Affordable housing creation is central to the plan. According to the Report, many sections of the City are becoming unaffordable to middle income households earning up to $80,000 per year. The Report notes that the funding under the City’s Inclusionary Development Program has increased substantially due to the high level of construction of residential housing in the City. The City projects that $10-12 million annually will come from those payments and will be used for affordable housing development. These resources, together with federal HOME and CDBG funding, will provide approximately $31 million annually for affordable housing production and programs.
The Mayor is also prepared to revisit the adoption of a real estate tax surcharge under the Community Preservation Act to raise an additional $10 million of funding for community housing. As noted in Thursday’s Boston Herald, CPA was rejected by voters in 2001 by a 60 to 40 margin. Since that time, 155 cities and towns have adopted the CPA surcharge, channeling millions of local tax dollars and matching state funds into affordable housing development.
Housing for seniors is also high on Mayor Walsh’s agenda. Amy Schectman, President of Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly and a member of the Mayor’s Housing Task Force, speaking at the announcement, praised Mayor Walsh’s commitment to create 5,000 additional units of senior housing. By 2030, the Report states, “Boston will gain 22,500 senior households” and “one in five Boston households will be headed by someone over the age of 65.”