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Friday, September 15, 2017

MAYOR WALSH ANNOUNCES $13 MILLION FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS

MAYOR WALSH ANNOUNCES $13 MILLION FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS
BOSTON - Thursday, September 14, 2017 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the City of Boston is releasing $13 million for new affordable housing projects to support the goals set forth in the Administration's housing plan, Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030. The Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) has now issued two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for new affordable housing development and/or the preservation of existing affordable housing units.  
 
"Addressing rising housing costs is critical for preserving the diversity and character that makes Boston a place where all residents can thrive," said Mayor Walsh. "We've seen remarkable growth in our population over the last several years, so we established a comprehensive plan, and committed over $110 million to housing. I'm proud to say we're well on our way to meeting our goals, and we will continue to work hard to lift up every neighborhood across the city by stabilizing the housing market and providing all residents and their families with accessible and affordable options."
 
The first RFP issued, for approximately $8 million, comes from a variety of sources including the Federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Community Development Block Grant, Housing Boston 2030, and the Inclusionary Development Fund. The RFP specifically earmarks up to $3 million for funding to support housing that will serve households 55 years or older.  
 
The second RFP utilizes funds from the Neighborhood Housing Trust (NHT). NHT disburses funds collected through the City's Linkage policy, which extracts affordable housing funds from developers of large commercial projects.   

All rental units that receive City funding will have restrictions on them to preserve their affordability in perpetuity, while all homeownership units created will be subject to an affordable housing agreement that requires them to remain affordable for at least 30 years, with a 20-year extension at the City's option. In addition, developments with more than ten units must set aside a minimum of ten percent of those units for homeless or formerly homeless households. Developments with five or more homeless units must submit a detailed service plan to support this population. The set-aside applies to both new production and preservation proposals. Along with the homeless set-aside, DND strongly encourages developments to have an additional percentage of units for households with incomes at or below 50 percent AMI.  

DND has participated in the Commonwealth's working group to reduce development costs, and as a result of this work, the City has adopted streamlined and simplified design standards and  guidelines to assist developers with cost containment.  

When a proposal is submitted to DND, the developer must demonstrate that a planning effort with the neighborhood and community has begun and that there is substantive support from neighborhood organizations and stakeholders.  

Based on the goals outlined in Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030, the City of Boston has established funding priorities. Proposals are expected to fall under at least one of the priority criteria:

  • Affordable housing developments that utilize City-owned land;
  • Affordable housing developments targeting a mix of incomes: from units for homeless households, to units targeted and restricted to incomes representative of Boston's workforce; 
  • Affordable housing developments that have reduced the cost to build and use public funding most efficiently;
  • Affordable housing developments that serve the disabled community, vulnerable or special needs populations, elders, veterans, artists, and/or aging out youth;
  • Acquisition of unrestricted housing developments in order to stabilize residents' tenancies, and provide long term affordability for a mix of incomes; or
  • Developments that are at risk of losing their affordability within five years.

Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030 set out goals to increase the pace of low-income housing production by 50 percent -- from 234 units annually from 2011-2014 to 347 units annually, and to create a total of 6,500 new low-income units by 2030.  

To date, a total of 1,286 new low-income, non-elderly units have been completed, housing an estimated 2,250 lower-income residents. The City currently has a pipeline of 1,128 new non-elderly low income units, many of which will be bolstered by the current round of funding.  

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