Boston’s Mayor Martin J. Walsh recognizes the increasing need to provide affordable housing options in the city in order to preserve the diversity and character of Boston. The mayor’s office has partnered with the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to create the Vacant Site Acquisition Fund. The $8.5 million program is designed to provide financing options for nonprofit housing developers to acquire vacant and underutilized land and buildings for sites of affordable housing. Because private developers typically have the resources to pay cash and move more quickly than nonprofit organizations, the nonprofit developers struggle to compete for development sites; this program aims to provide nonprofit developers funding to acquire vacant and underutilized land in a competitive market. The nonprofit developers will be able to create mixed income, multi-family housing, preserving affordable housing options in the city.
The Vacant Site Acquisition Fund has three main components:
1. The City of Boston will provide site deposit assistance in the form of interest-free bridge loans up to $200,000.
2. The $8.5 million fund will provide quick approval for low-interest, long-term acquisition financing.
3. Because affordable housing typically takes longer to produce than market-rate housing, the City of Boston is providing interest-free loans up to $300,000 to defray the cost to nonprofit developers of holding the property for three- to five-year periods.
The Vacant Site Acquisition Fund is part of the mayor’s plan to combat the displacement of Boston residents, and it complements his citywide plan, Imagine Boston 2030, designed to encourage growth in a broad range of housing options in the city.