Mayor Menino Leads the Way with New Housing Strategy
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For Immediate Release
May 13, 2004
Released By:
Neighborhood Development
For More Information Contact:
DeWayne Lehman
dlehman.dnd@ci.boston.ma.us

Plan Builds Affordable Housing Partnerships,
Calls for 10,000 New Units in Boston

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today unveiled a new housing plan for the city that will build on the successes of Boston's first strategy, Leading the Way, as well as break new ground in advancing the production and preservation of affordable housing, addressing homelessness, and building long- term partnerships to help meet the housing needs of all Boston residents.

The new housing plan, Leading the Way II, is a four-year, $375 million campaign that calls for the production of 10,000 new units of housing (2,100 of which will be affordable), the renovation of 2,000 homes, the preservation of 3,000 affordable units, and the launch of a $10 million campaign against homelessness. In addition, the plan brings in major housing partners to help address and sustain the city's housing needs and efforts.

"I'm happy to say that we have taken the next step and raised the bar on housing," Mayor Menino said. "This plan addresses the broad spectrum of the city's housing needs, and it brings in key partners - like Bank of America, Citizens, and KeySpan - who understand that housing isn't just a problem for those who are priced out of the market, but is a fundamental need for all and a key to a healthy economy. I want to thank these business partners for stepping up and helping to make a difference."

Four years ago, Mayor Menino charged his housing agencies - the Department of Neighborhood Development, Boston Redevelopment Authority, Boston Housing Authority, and Inspectional Services Department - to work with his housing advisory panel to develop a new housing strategy for the City of Boston, known as Leading the Way. Now, four years later, with $2 billion in housing development underway or complete, the city has more than 7,900 new units of housing, including over 2,200 affordable units. The city has also preserved over 5,500 units of at-risk rental housing, reclaimed nearly all vacant public housing units, and created over 1,000 units for the homeless.

Based on the success of the Leading the Way housing strategy, last fall Mayor Menino convened a new housing advisory panel to look at the changing economic and fiscal times we now face and new ways to address our changing housing needs. Leading the Way II addresses the city's housing needs in several crucial areas: preserving neighborhood stability through home-improvement assistance to homeowners, producing new housing for Boston's workforce, retaining affordable housing that is on the brink of going market rate, expanding the city's commitment to house the homeless, developing new city resources for housing, and expanding the role of housing partners.

The role of the city's partners has changed from a project-by- project relationship to a longer-term approach with multi-year commitments on major housing issues. Among the leading partners is Bank of America, which has followed in the tradition of Fleet Bank, by bringing unprecedented resources and innovative solutions to the city's critical housing needs. In support of the Mayor's Leading the Way II strategy, Bank of America is making available $200 million in loan financing over four years for community development in Boston, with a significant portion directed to affordable housing production and preservation. Additionally, Bank of America will provide $3 million in grants over four years to support programs that assist neighborhood development efforts, including affordable housing.

"Bank of America and the City of Boston share a strong commitment to providing affordable housing within those neighborhoods that make Boston such a culturally rich and economically vibrant city," said Chad Gifford, Chairman, Bank of America. "Our company is proud to play a leadership role in support of Boston's new housing strategy, which builds upon the Mayor's strong record and continued commitment to helping more working families realize the satisfaction of homeownership."

Under Leading the Way II, Citizens has agree to provide $84 million in housing financing, including $50 million from its new Citizens Housing Bank loan fund, for housing development, homeowner rehab and new construction loans, and predatory lending victim assistance. In addition, it will provide $300,000 in various grants supporting homeowner and homeless initiatives.

"Citizens is pleased to partner with the City of Boston to continue making tangible differences in the area of affordable housing," said Robert M. Mahoney, vice chairman of Citizens Financial Group. "Through leveraging our Citizens Housing Bank program for nonprofit developers, we look forward to financing the creation of more than 150 new units of affordable housing in the city. Citizens is also proud to support phase two of the Leading the Way program through enhancing grant commitments to homeless programs, home improvement workshops, and training workshops for new builders."

The newest partner in Mayor Menino's housing efforts is KeySpan, which has agreed to provide assistance to low-income and elderly homeowners in replacing outdated or inefficient heating systems. KeySpan will also work with the Boston Housing Authority to make $1.2 million in energy conservation improvements.

"The investment we are making in energy efficiency technology will help residents of this housing save money on energy costs and benefit our environment as well," said Nick Stavropoulos, President, KeySpan New England. "KeySpan is proud to be a partner in this exciting endeavor."

Today's housing announcement was held at the corner of Waumbeck and Harold streets in Roxbury, near the Garrison-Trotter development. The 14-unit, affordable homeownership development was completed three years ago and has been recognized for its high-quality design and character. Developed and built by Windale/Crosswinds Development & Construction Company, the 6 two-family houses and 2 single-family houses were the first significant construction in the neighborhood in two decades and are emblematic of Mayor Menino's commitment to building high-quality, desirable housing that anyone would be proud to call home.

Also joining Mayor Menino at today's press conference was Charlotte Golar Richie, Director, Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) and chief of housing; Mark Maloney, Director, Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and Chief Economic Development Officer, Boston; James Greene, Acting Director, Emergency Shelter Commission; William Good, Acting Commissioner, Inspectional Services Department (ISD); Sandra Henriquez, Administrator, Boston Housing Authority (BHA); Joseph Kriesberg, Executive Director, MACDC; Clayton Turnbull, Chairman, Neighborhood Housing Trust; members of the Housing Advisory Panel; and housing advocates.

A complete copy of the Leading the Way II report is available on the city's web site at: www.cityofboston.gov/dnd.

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