Boston Is Helping To Buy Up Buildings And Keep Rents Affordable

The city purchased 36 triple-decker buildings in late 2022. All of them have been placed into the East Boston Neighborhood Trust.

Row of apartments in Boston

(Photo by Brett Wharton)

An East Boston tenant, Ana Ruth Ramirez, had been fighting her eviction for eight years when the city established a new neighborhood trust and bought her building. It also bought 35 other triple-deckers, three-level buildings with multiple apartments. The city spent $47 million on the purchases. Now, the East Boston Neighborhood Trust manages the properties with deed restrictions to keep all of the units affordable in perpetuity.

In this podcast episode, we hear from Andres Del Castillo, an organizer with City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU), a Boston nonprofit that organizes working-class immigrants. Through its organizing and research, the nonprofit found that the corporate property owners who previously owned these buildings were doing building-wide clearouts as they bought each property. 

“Residents of the buildings have experienced years of displacement after the apartments changed hands in 2014 and the new landlord issued every resident a “notice to quit,” a legal document letting residents know that eviction proceedings are forthcoming,” Roshan Abraham, housing correspondent for Next City, reported last year

CLVU worked with Ramirez to organize her neighbors to fight their evictions and stay in their homes. “What tenants can achieve as individuals in their own individual case is much more limited than what they can achieve if they join forces with their neighbors,” Del Castillo says.

To learn more about tenant organizing, Ramirez’s long road to victory, and how the East Boston Neighborhood Trust works, listen to this episode below or subscribe to the Next City podcast on Apple, Spotify or Goodpods.

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