New partnership will focus on regional goals to create a regional housing strategy for Greater Boston’s growing population
SOMERVILLE – Tuesday, December 5, 2017 – Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, and representatives of the 14 cities and towns of the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition of Greater Boston today announced the creation of a new regional housing partnership. The partnership will address the housing needs of the Metro Boston area, with a focus on housing production, diversity, cost, location, design and increasing stability for the region’s residents. The partnership, which will be co-chaired by Curtatone and Walsh who jointly initiated the partnership, will create a regional work plan, which will establish a regional housing production goal, along with specific strategies to achieve that goal throughout the 14-community region.
“Our entire region is facing and must solve the same pressing challenge: Metro Boston’s affordability crisis and its limited housing stock. But the solutions cannot be one-size-fits-all, which is why this task force is so critical,” said Mayor Curtatone. “It will give us the opportunity to work together toward our common housing goals while tailoring solutions to our communities’ unique needs and tapping the brightest minds in our housing-related sectors to assist us in our work.”
“Affordable housing is one of our top priorities in Boston — and we know that for Metro Boston to be affordable for all residents, we need to work together with cities and towns throughout the region,” said Mayor Walsh. “This plan is another step forward towards ensuring all those who wish to live here can, and I look forward to working with our partner cities and towns across the region to continue creating homes for all.”
With this new regional effort, the Metro Mayors have outlined a pledge to:
● Increase the pace of housing construction in every community throughout Metro Boston, sharing the burden of production in order to increase housing affordability for all household types and incomes;
● Create more housing, both renter- and owner-occupied, in a variety of sizes, including units with two or three bedrooms suitable for families with children;
● Locate housing near transit and in walkable areas;
● Utilize design standards that increase physical accessibility for all ages and abilities;
● Reduce evictions, eliminate unfair rental practices, mitigate displacement, create permanent housing for the homeless, and ensure safe, stable housing;
● Abolish discrimination against both tenants and buyers, and advance fair, equitable access to housing opportunity.
To do this, the group will identify a regional housing production goal and a timeline to achieve it. The plan will take into account demographic data and projections, economic forecasts, development trends, and analysis of current production levels. The target will break down the demand for housing type by price, size and location, and will account for the need for both rental and ownership unit creation.
The group will also recommend changes to zoning, local policies, funding calculations for state aid toward public schools, and other tools each city and town can use to help address the housing affordability crisis together. Working as a regional team, the group will also be able to respond faster to residents in crisis, finding resources and taking action to provide direct assistance.
The Metro Mayors Coalition is a collaborative, problem-solving group of municipal leaders facilitated by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), which serves 101 cities and towns across Greater Boston. The Metro Mayors Coalition includes mayors and managers from Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Newton, Quincy, Revere, Somerville and Winthrop. Mayor Walsh and Mayor Curtatone will co-chair the partnership.
“The Baker-Polito Administration is proud to support MAPC and the Metro Mayors coalition, to help deliver regional solutions to regional housing needs,” said Undersecretary for Housing and Community Development Chrystal Kornegay. “Massachusetts needs to deliver more housing, more quickly, and in more places. By focusing on establishing a measurable regional housing goal, and building concrete strategies to deliver on that goal, this initiative will help advance a housing market that works for everyone — from innovation economy employees to the service sector workforce, and from young families to older adults.”
“Limited housing supply makes it very difficult for residents to find places to live, and means employers have a harder time recruiting and retaining workers. Housing has a significant impact on our region’s economic health and future,” said Marc Draisen, Executive Director of MAPC. “And we need housing that works for a variety of household types and incomes, from renters to first-time homebuyers to families with children, empty-nesters, seniors, and those with disabilities.”
This partnership further upholds Somerville and Boston’s commitment to ensuring affordable housing exists for all residents.
As a mid-sized city, Somerville is striving to employ innovative approaches to prevent displacement and expand housing production and housing preservation for all needs from affordable and workforce housing to market rate and senior housing. The city is currently on track to exceed the first five years of scheduled housing targets in its SomerVision: 2010-2030 Comprehensive Plan. Among other initiatives, Somerville has increased its inclusionary housing requirement, instituted mechanisms to expand developer contributions to affordable housing, introduced the workforce housing category into its affordable housing equation, and has established the innovative 100 HOMES project to purchase, and preserve as permanently affordable, units otherwise threatened by speculation.
To date, the Walsh administration has committed more than $100 million in funding to the creation and preservation of affordable housing. Today’s announcement builds on the City’s preservation and anti-displacement goals, outlined in Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030, Mayor Walsh’s housing plan, and the housing goals laid out in Imagine Boston 2030, Boston’s first citywide plan in 50 years. As part of both plans, Boston has prioritized increasing the overall housing supply, with a focus on creating and preserving affordable housing.
For more information on the partnership, visit www.mapc.org/metro-mayors-coalition.