BOSTON -Continuing to build on Boston’s commitment to create 6,500 new units of affordable housing by 2030, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that applications for a total of $14 million of funding for affordable housing are available. The funds will be awarded via two competitive Requests for Proposals (RFPs).
The RFPs, which are available from the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), outline criteria for potential developments and the process by which developments will be selected to receive funding.
“We must keep Boston equitable and affordable for all of our residents,” Mayor Walsh said. “This funding will help us continue to build a pipeline of affordable housing, giving us the ability to reach the ambitious goals laid out in our housing plan.”
The two separate RFPs are valued at $7 million each, and outline a set of priorities for developments that align with the strategic goals of Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030, the Walsh Administration’s housing plan. These priorities include:
• Developments that utilize City-owned land;
• Housing developments targeting a mix of incomes; from units for homeless households to units restricted to incomes representative of Boston’s workforce;
• Projects that can be built efficiently, with reduced costs; and can move quickly into construction;
• The creation of housing to serve the disabled community, vulnerable or special needs populations, elders, veterans, artists, and aging-out youth;
• The acquisition of unrestricted housing developments in order to stabilize the tenancies and provide long term affordability for a mix of incomes; large projects with more than 50 units of housing of which at least 51% will be deed-restricted affordable units; and
• Projects creating new affordable units in high-cost neighborhoods where most Inclusionary Development Funds are generated.
The funds are drawn from several sources, including $7 million from the Neighborhood Housing Trust, which is the administrator of funds that are created through the City’s Linkage policy. Linkage is the City directive through which developers of commercial properties make contributions to the City for affordable housing, based on a formula calculated per square foot of commercial space constructed.
The remainder of the funds come from other sources including the City’s Inclusionary Development Fund (IDP). IDP funds come to the City when developers of residential properties of more than ten units choose to fulfill their affordable housing obligation to the city by submitting a “cash-in-lieu” payment, rather than building affordable units on-site. Mayor Walsh signed an Executive Order updating the IDP to increase developer contributions in December 2015.
In addition to the funds from the IDP, the City is also making funding available from Federal monies including HOME and CDBG, along with City operating funds.
City funds are used as “gap” funds, where developers of affordable projects are able to demonstrate the need for City funding. When using City funds, developers are required to follow specific guidelines, including following streamlined design standards, energy efficient standards, and adhering to specific income limits for prospective renters or homeowners.
Since becoming mayor, Mayor Walsh has made more than $70 million in funding available to create affordable housing in the City of Boston. Nearly 20 percent of Boston’s housing stock is deed-restricted affordable housing, which is among the highest shares in the nation.