Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s Vision for Affordable Housing

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s Vision for Affordable Housing

In 2021, Michelle Wu made history as the first woman and woman of color to be elected Mayor of Boston. Her win symbolizes a wave of change and, with it, brings hope for reform in our city. Throughout Wu’s campaign, the affordable housing crisis remained at the forefront of the conversation, with new ideas emerging and promises made to improve equity in Boston by making affordable housing more accessible.

Prior to Wu’s historic win, she released detailed plans for housing justice with an “affordable housing agenda,” based on the grounds that housing is a necessity for all individuals, families and communities – not a privilege.

Here’s the breakdown of her proposed agenda:

  • Prioritize Federal Funds for Housing: Wu plans to allocate relief funds received from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) towards addressing the city’s housing crisis. Time is of the essence here, with evictions and housing instability exacerbated by the pandemic continuing to hurt many residents. These funds must also be spent by 2025, heightening the need for quick action. Wu’s plans propose committing $200 million of ARP funds to programs that prevent displacement, increase accessibility, build new public housing properties, and more.
  • Stabilize Residents and Prevent Displacements: This summer, The Boston Globe reported that a quarter of Bostonian households that rent spend at least 50 percent of their income on housing, making them at high risk of being displaced. A 2020 report also found that Boston’s eviction filings for market-rate rental housing disproportionately impact communities of color. Wu proposes taking urgent action to keep renters in their homes through lifting the ban on rent control, expanding emergency housing options and services, allocating at least $10 million annually to City rental subsidies, and through other means.
  • Reform Zoning for More Affordable Housing: Wu understands that structural changes need to happen in order to create more equitable regulations informed by community input, fair housing goals, and long-term resiliency. Wu’s zoning reform calls for banning credit checks for inclusionary development and homeless set-aside unit renters, making it easier and less expensive for homeowners to make minor modifications to their properties, prioritizing higher density near major transit corridors, and examining additional zoning reform proposals.

Wu’s affordable housing agenda continues to outline more changes, including maximizing the impact of private funding; expanding homeownership opportunities; doubling down on affordability; elevating fair, accessible housing as a civil rights issue; aligning housing affordability with climate resilience; and addressing homelessness through a public health lens.

Here at IBA, we support Mayor Wu’s commitment to fighting for a more affordable, more equitable Boston that supports all residents and look forward to seeing what 2022 looks like under her leadership. As we consider the year ahead, we will continue to evaluate the city’s progress and advocate for the affordable housing issues that matter most to the community members we serve.

We are proud to be working to develop housing opportunities for low-income households in Boston. For more information on how you can support IBA, please visit our page: