BOSTON – Wednesday, February 20, 2019 – Building on his commitment to create and preserve affordable housing in Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced more than $26 million in new and recommended funding from the Department of Neighborhood Development, the Neighborhood Housing Trust, and the Community Preservation Fund, to create and preserve 515 units of housing in Brighton, East Boston, Dorchester, Mattapan, Mission Hill, North End, and Roxbury. The new funding will also contribute to affordable housing programming like the Acquisition Opportunity Program and the Boston Home Center.
“As Boston continues to grow, we want to make sure everyone has a place to call home, no matter their income,” said Mayor Walsh. “It’s important now more than ever that we use every tool in our toolbox to build more housing for working families in our City. This announcement is a great example of how we’re building strong partnerships in the housing community to create more affordable housing options across all of our neighborhoods.”
The new funding will create 459 new units and preserve 56 units of housing. As a result of requesting proposals with a focus on creating affordable units, 290 units that will be created or preserved will be restricted to households with low, moderate, and middle income. The majority of these units will be accessible to households with incomes up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), which amounts to $65,000 or less for a family of four. The new units are a combination of homeownership and rental opportunities with some set aside for formerly homeless households, seniors, and artists.
“Many thanks to Mayor Walsh and to the City of Boston for their ongoing commitment to affordable housing and the needs our seniors,” said Albert Caldarelli, president of the East Boston Community Development Corporation. “As a result of these new funds, the East Boston CDC will be able to create new affordable senior housing at the Grace Apartments in East Boston and in the North End. We look forward to working with the city as these developments get underway.”
To ensure that all units receiving City funding will remain affordable, they will all be deed restricted permanently or for 50 years. In all cases, the projects have been carefully underwritten to leverage alternative sources to minimize City funding. For the homeownership opportunities, first-time homebuyers earning between 70-100 percent of AMI will receive down payment assistance, the opportunity to take a home buying class, and financial and real estate counseling.
“DND is excited that we were able to fund projects with such deep affordability, ranging from 50 percent of the Area Median Income to homeless individuals and the elderly,” said Chief of Housing Sheila Dillon. “I can’t wait to see these projects completed, and I want to thank the Neighborhood Housing Trust, the Community Preservation Committee, and our partners in the housing community for helping us create more affordable housing in Boston.”
Funds to create and preserve these units will be awarded from three sources: the first, of approximately $4.4 million, consists of funds administered by the Department of Neighborhood Development. The second source, of approximately $3.6 million, utilizes funds from the Neighborhood Housing Trust (NHT), which are collected through the City’s Linkage policy, extracting affordable housing funds from developers of large commercial projects.
The third source utilizes funds from the Community Preservation Fund, of approximately $18 million, which are collected through the CPA’s one percent property tax surcharge adopted by Boston voters in 2016 to invest in affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space. The Community Preservation Committee held a public meeting on Monday, February 11, 2019, to vote on the Mayor’s recommended slate of projects for funding. At that meeting, the CPC voted to recommend $9.3 million towards development and preservation of 515 units of housing and an additional $8.8 million towards affordable housing programming. The projects will be submitted to the Boston City Council for approval with an anticipated vote from the Council in March.
Today’s announcement contributes to goals outlined in Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030 of creating 69,000 new units of housing at a variety of income levels across the City, including nearly 16,000 new units of income-restricted housing that will bring Boston’s total number of income-restricted units to 70,000 by 2030. Since the launch of the plan, 29,091 new units have been permitted.
The following is a complete list of the proposals that are receiving or being recommended for funding:
Acquisition Opportunity Program (AOP)
The AOP’s goal is to combat displacement through the purchase of existing rental units to income-restrict them as permanently affordable housing.
Boston Home Center
The new funding will assist income-qualified first-time homebuyers.
UHomes/90 Antwerp Street, Developer: Urbanica
The developer will create 20 mixed-income condominium units on formerly City-owned land, including 12 deed-restricted units available to first-time homebuyers. 6 of the units will be for homebuyers who earn up to 100% of Area Median Income and 6 of the units will be for homebuyers who earn up to 80% of Area Median Income. The federal government currently deems 80% AMI to be approximately $75,000 for a family of three.
Dudley Terrace, Developer: Dorchester Bay EDC
The developer will preserve 56 transit-oriented affordable units in the Upham’s Corner and the Savin Hill neighborhoods of Dorchester. This scattered-site development will be rehabilitated to address immediate health and safety issues and critical systems upgrades. Through this redevelopment, the developer hopes to add additional homeless set-aside and supportive housing units.
Aileron Ownership, Developer: Neighborhood of Affordable Housing
The developer is proposing to build seven housing units on City land, including four affordable units, along with a 33-unit mixed-income rental project, with a preference for artist housing.
Grace Apartments, Developer: East Boston Community Development Corporation
The developer will create 42 units of low-income elderly housing, including five units of housing for the homeless in Maverick Square.
Morton Station Village, Developer: Caribbean Integration Community Development & Planning Office for Urban Affairs
The developer will create 40 units of mixed-income housing including nine deed-restricted home ownership units that will be available to households earning 80-100% AMI, or from about $77,000 to $97,000 for three persons. The Morton Station Village will also feature a serenity park to honor the memory of the late Steven P. Odom, and is being built on formerly City-owned land.
Terrace Street Artist Apartments, Developer: General Development
The developer is proposing to build 13 home ownership units in City-owned land with live/work space for qualified artists earning between 70-80% AMI, or between $60,000 and almost $70,000 for a two-person household.
Knights Senior Housing, Developer: East Boston Community Development Corporation
East Boston CDC will create 23 affordable apartments for seniors, including three units of housing for homeless seniors, and a neighborhood meeting space, in the Knights of Columbus headquarters.
Bartlett Station Lot D, Developer: Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH)
The developer proposes to create 52 units of housing, including 42 units restricted to Bostonians over the age of 55 who earn at or below 80% of AMI, or $69,000 for a two person household. This development also includes five units of housing for formerly homeless Bostonians. Lot D is part of the Bartlett Station redevelopment of the former MBTA bus yard in Dudley Square, and is being built on City-controlled land.
Whittier Choice – Phase 2A, Developer: Madison Park Development Corporation and POAH
This is the second of three phases of the Whittier Choice Neighborhood project, which is a redevelopment of the existing Whittier Street Apartments as part of the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. This phase proposes to build 52 units rental housing, of which 48 will be affordable or workforce housing.
Rio Grande, Developer: Rio Grande, LLC
The developer is proposing a 25-story residential and commercial tower that will include 193 market-rate units and 48 affordable income-restricted units to those earning below 50% of Area Median Income, or less than $50,000 for a household of three persons.
Last month, Mayor Walsh submitted a comprehensive legislative package to the Massachusetts Legislature, expanding the work that Boston has done to address the region’s affordable housing crisis. The housing security bills proposed seek to help existing tenants, particularly older adults, remain in their homes, and create additional funding for affordable housing.
This work builds off Boston’s commitment to ensuring all communities have affordable and equitable housing options. Currently, one in five housing units in Boston is income restricted to people with none to moderate incomes. Boston has secured funding to build affordable housing by utilizing a range of tools, including leveraging market-rate development, collecting linkage and Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) payments from real estate developers, and by supporting passage of the Community Preservation Act (CPA).
The Mayor’s bills aimed at creating additional funding for affordable housing include:
An Act to Further Leverage Commercial Development to Build Housing, Create Jobs and Preserve Inclusionary Development
This Home Rule petition would adjust Boston’s Linkage Program. Linkage was created as a way for commercial development to contribute to the City’s needs for affordable housing and workforce development, mandating that a fee per square foot be directed to the Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund and The Neighborhood Jobs Trust, with the City being allowed to make a CPI adjustment every three years. However, given the cyclical nature of building booms, greater flexibility has proven necessary to share the benefits of our current economic growth with more residents. In order to provide Boston with the ability to make adjustments to the Linkage formula as needed, the bill would eliminate the restriction on making adjustments only once every three years, allowing the City to respond to market conditions in real time. This bill would also codify the City’s Inclusionary Development Program (IDP) into the Zoning Code, so that as the City upzones and more
projects become as-of-right, the City does not lose its ability to collect IDP.
An Act to Sustain Community Preservation Revenue
This bill would protect the vital Community Preservation Act that more than 170 cities and towns depend on for the creation of affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation. It would adjust the surcharge on fees for recording deeds to increase the State CPA match. When municipalities voted to enact CPA, they did so with
the promise of a substantial state match. This year, the match was just 19%, meaning that the CPA bill people voted for is no longer the same bill. This would help to bring CPA more in line with what voters agreed to.