Mayor Walsh Releases First Ever Inventory of Boston’s Income-Restricted Housing

Mayor Walsh

BOSTON – Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh released the first ever inventory of Boston’s affordable housing which documents and analyzes the type and location of the 54,247 units of income-restricted housing in the city.

The comprehensive inventory, Income-Restricted Housing in Boston, issued by the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), was released with a database of nearly 1,300 projects that show one in five housing units in Boston is income restricted. The neighborhoods with the highest percentages of income-restricted housing stock are the South End/Lower Roxbury with 48 percent, Roxbury with 45 percent, and Charlestown and Jamaica Plain with 25 percent each.

“Creating more affordable housing and preserving Boston’s more than 54,000 income-restricted units are top priorities for my administration, and are a driving force behind our housing goals,” said Mayor Walsh. “This report helps us understand how many income-restricted units there are, where they are, and to whom they are affordable, all important information as we work to increase affordable housing opportunities in our neighborhoods.”

Analysis of the 54,247 income-restricted housing units shows that 66 percent of them are restricted to households earning less than 50 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), or $43,150 for a two-person household. Of those units, 20,746 units or 38 percent are restricted for households making between 31-50 percent of AMI, which ranges from $25,900 to $43,000 for a two-person household. Many of those households may also be utilizing a mobile voucher, or a tenant-based voucher.

“This report documents the hard work done by housing advocates and members of the community over decades, much of it in partnership with the City of Boston,” said Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, CEO of Inquilinos Boricuas En Acción and co-chair of the Mayor’s Housing Task Force. “We’re proud that 48 percent of all the housing in the South End and Lower Roxbury is income-restricted, and are committed to maintaining and increasing that percentage. The positive effects that living in income-restricted housing has had on generations of Bostonians is real and long-lasting, and must be available in the future.”

Income-Restricted Housing in Boston is the result of DND’s collection and curation of data on all income-restricted units as part of an effort to better monitor how much affordable housing exists in the city, and where it is located. The report is also a response to goals outlined in Mayor Walsh’s Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030 plan. The inventory includes data from Boston Housing Authority (BHA) public housing, privately-owned housing built with DND funding and/or on City-owned land, and privately-owned housing built without any City subsidy, for example, created using Low-Income Housing Tax Credits or as part of the Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP), including units built with funds from cash in lieu payments to the Inclusionary Development Fund.

“Boston shines on the world stage because of its people, all of whom proudly call our great City home for different reasons, adding new layers to its fabric,” said Kimberly Sherman Stamler, President of Related Beal. “We look to replicate that fabric in our own buildings, creating mixed-income neighborhoods that appeal to long-standing residents and families seeking choice in housing. This report demonstrates the Walsh Administration’s collaborative and forward way of thinking, offering transparent roadmaps and clear targets that help identify opportunities for developers and residents alike. We look forward to continuing to work with the City to create housing opportunities in the years ahead.”

Mayor Walsh recently  increased the City’s overall housing targets from 53,000 to 69,000 new units by 2030, including 15,820 income-restricted units, to meet Boston’s population growth. These income-restricted units will include purchasing 1,000 rental housing units from the speculative market and income-restricting them through an expanded Acquisition Opportunity Program. In addition, the City will soon announce awardees of an affordable housing funding round that includes more than $16 million in city affordable housing funds, and the first large scale awards of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding for affordable housing development projects. The RFP for this $16 million in funding was announced in September.

As the City continues to make strides towards creating more affordable housing, it is also working with regional partners to ensure affordable housing is a reality throughout the region through the Metro Mayor’s Regional Housing Task Force, and its execution of a recently-released regional housing production goal of creating 185,000 new units of housing across the region by the year 2030.