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Helping Boston Get 53,000 New Housing Units

Helping Boston Get 53,000 New Housing Units

[caption id="attachment_4366" align="alignright" width="267"]IBA CEO, Dr. Vanessa Calderón-Rosado IBA CEO, Dr. Vanessa Calderón-Rosado[/caption] Last year, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh set an ambitious goal for housing in the City of Boston. His initiative, Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030 set a goal of adding 53,000 new units in 16 years. The plan laid out specific benchmarks for a variety of housing types, including units for seniors, college students and members of the workforce, in the hopes of adding housing stock to cool the red-hot real estate market and make it easier for Bostonians to find a place to call home. I was proud to be a part of the task force that led the development of this plan. As the leader of IBA, an organization that preserves and develops affordable housing in the city, I understand how we all benefit from living in communities that are diverse. This is why I was so thrilled to know that particular attention was being paid to affordable housing by setting a goal of creating 6,500 new affordable units for low-income, non-elderly households by 2030. According to the City’s latest progress report, more than 1,200 low-income units are in production. If the City keeps on this pace, it will exceed its goal. Mayor Walsh is also reportedly asking private developers to add more affordable housing units as part of their projects. By the end of the year, Walsh will lay out a proposal for increased linkage fees, which commercial real estate developers pay to finance job training and additional housing units. We support Mayor Walsh’s approach and applaud him for taking leadership of this effort. Boston is wise in taking specific actions to increase opportunities to develop more affordable units. The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) is working with private developers to improve Boston’s existing affordable housing stock and to build new units to meet the ever-growing demand. At IBA, our waiting list is 12,000 individuals long. There are 12,000 mothers, fathers, children and grandparents waiting for a quality, affordable place to call home, underscoring the need for more housing. We’re doing our best to expand our offerings, including our current bid on a BHA property that is located across the street from our Villa Victoria community in Boston’s South End. If chosen, we will invest in this property, making it sustainable and safe for generations to come; and expand our programs and services to the BHA residents. We are also looking for ways to maximize the area we have and to improve adjacent spaces, including O’Day Playground, so that our spaces better serve our residents and improve public safety. All sectors - nonprofits, government, and private - can help achieve this goal. After all, everyone will benefit from protecting the rich diversity that has characterized and strengthened Boston for many years. IBA is proud to do its part to preserve and create affordable housing across the City of Boston. So, Let’s Build It!...