Mayor Menino Releases Housing Strategy
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For Immediate Release
October 19, 2000
Released By:
Neighborhood Development
For More Information Contact:
Lucy Warsh
lwarsh.dnd@cityofboston.gov

Three-year Plan Builds on Housing 2000 Initiative

Mayor Thomas M. Menino and members of his Housing Strategy Advisory Group today released Leading The Way: A Housing Strategy For Boston. The report is a three-year plan that addresses the city’s housing crisis and builds on the progress the City of Boston has already made in preserving and creating affordable housing. The report examines the city’s current housing market, assesses the economic factors driving the rise in local housing prices, and outlines steps the city will take to combat the local housing crisis.

"Today I want to announce that Boston will take the boards off of 1,100 units of vacant public housing—with $8 million in city resources," Mayor Menino said. "We will provide 1,000 parcels of land and sell it so developers can build more housing units. And we plan to build 7,500 new units of housing while preserving 10,000 affordable units."

Last spring Mayor Menino convened a group of housing experts to form the Housing Strategy Advisory Group and help develop a comprehensive plan for the city to preserve existing housing stock, increase production, and provide access for low-income and homeless people and families.

"Boston has long been recognized as a leader in housing innovation," said Charlotte Golar Richie, director of the city's Department of Neighborhood Development. "Mayor Menino’s housing advisory group has worked tirelessly to address our housing challenges. This housing strategy report outlines their recommendations, and I look forward to seeing them implemented."

Key elements in Boston’s housing strategy are producing new housing units, both affordable and market rate; using city funds to bring vacant public housing units back on line; and preserving existing stock. The report focuses on five key initiatives to maximize housing opportunities. The five "P’s" include preservation, production, public housing, partners, and performance.

Leading the Way proposes a number of initiatives and policy prescriptions to guide Boston's housing policy. Program tools, policy initiatives, regulatory interventions, and resources are linked in a unified campaign to increase and preserve housing stock. Under the mayor's new housing strategy, two of the city’s most vulnerable groups – the homeless and elderly – will be protected and given special priority.

Mayor Menino also announced that:

He is making available $15.5 million of city-owned land in addition to the previously announced $30 million in city resources. The city expects these resources to leverage more than $2 billion in private and public financing over the next three years.

For the first time in the city’s history, Boston will put city resources into renovating federal public housing developments. The Boston Housing Authority will renovate approximately 1,100 vacant public housing units over the next three years. The city will provide $8 million in gap financing, which will complement state and federal funds to renovate these units.

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce will work with the city to promote housing development and create innovative financing mechanisms.

In his 1999 State of the City Address, Mayor Menino made housing a top priority, committing to doubling the number of new housing units by the year 2000. He surpassed his goal, increasing housing production by 135 percent over the previous year with more than 2,000 new units. Mayor Menino kept 1,400 units of at-risk rental housing affordable. He increased the number of dormitories in the city to take pressure off the rental market. He also streamlined the city’s approval process and identified new housing resources that will enable the city to keep moving forward in this important area.

For copies of Leading The Way: A Housing Strategy For Boston, please call 635-HOME, or write to Erin Amar, Department of Neighborhood Development, 26 Court Street, Boston, MA 02108.

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