Housing: Making Boston our Home
Boston is in a housing crisis. In a city with an already high cost of living, rents are increasing, we’re not doing enough to encourage homeownership, and a bloated bureaucracy excludes tenants from making their voices heard. We need to empower our communities to make sure that our neighbors have a fair shot at keeping their homes.
Encouraging Home Ownership
We must be proactive in creating pathways to homeownership. I will fight to narrow the gap between tenant and landlord with rent-to-own programs and homeowner training classes. I support expanding a wide number of housing options including community land trusts, co-op residences, work/live storefronts, and artist housing.
Civilian Oversight Board
I will call for a publicly independent oversight committee with representation from local residents across the economic demographics. Because my concern is the current structure has not resulted in a cohesive plan for development across the city that incorporates the voice of community members impacted by the development. In addition, this Civilian Oversight Board will ensure accountability to the people of Boston.
Managing Rent Hikes and Evictions
It’s outrageous that no-fault evictions are still permissible. As a City Councilor, I support legislation to ban this practice and will work hard to defend the rights of all tenants. I also support a cap on the yearly raise of rent for tenants to 5% and enforcing a minimum two-month notice on increases. I will work with my colleagues to re-introduce the protections covered under the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act and return to the State House to fight for Boston’s right to protect our residents that are renters.
Finally, Boston Housing Court currently operates like a de facto poverty tax. I will work to guarantee free representation to low-income families facing eviction hearings. Partnering with the Fair Housing and Equity Department, we make sure our laws work for the average Boston resident.
Inclusionary Development Policy
I will advocate that we increase the percentage of affordable units in new developments from 13% to 50% for the city’s IDP (Inclusionary Development Policy). I will also study if the city has the ability to base that affordable housing on the range of median incomes of Boston proper rather than the greater Boston region. Understanding that the regional AMI is based on federal guidelines, I realize we may have little flexibility.
In addition developers should not have the ability to offset (when a developer provides money to the city for affordable housing, or agrees to build affordable units in another location, in place of building affordable units onsite). Offsets could be prioritized to be used in neighborhoods that currently have the least amount of low, and moderate-income units. This would help move the city towards a full range of housing options for residents of all incomes and in all neighborhoods.