Boston Mayor Puts $7M Toward Fighting Displacement

Pilot will offer loans to developers in exchange for preserving affordability of multifamily housing.

Triple decker housing in South Boston (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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Boston is setting aside $7 million in an effort to prevent displacement of residents of multifamily properties, reports Boston Business Journal. The pilot Acquisition Opportunity Program targets developers in the market to purchase currently occupied multifamily properties, offering them subordinate loans from the city in exchange for maintaining 40 percent of units as deed-restricted, affordable housing for low- or moderate- income families. Participating developers must also agree to preserve the tenancies of the building’s current occupants who are in good standing.

“Boston is committed to making our city a home for everyone, no matter their age, background or financial status. This $7 million investment is another leap towards creating affordable housing for all our residents,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “We are committed to growing our affordable housing stock, and programs like the Acquisition Opportunity Program ensures Boston residents will not be priced out of their homes and neighborhoods.”

The program aims to create 100 units of deed-restricted housing. Boston already requires that 13 percent of units in new rental and condo buildings be reserved for residents making less than 70 percent of area median income; under certain circumstances developers are also permitted to build affordable housing off-site, or to contribute to an affordable housing fund instead.

This spring, Walsh announced a new slate of affordable housing pilot programs, under the purview of the recently created Housing Innovation Lab, to find other ways to create middle-income housing in a city that ranks low for affordability. Efforts include a density bonus for developers who construct more affordable units, a “compact living” program to explore smaller living situations like micro-housing, an increase in the use of land trusts, and a “home buying portal” to help introduce first-time homebuyers to neighborhoods, houses, and loan programs, in a bid to spread growth throughout the city. Those programs are designed to create units affordable to households earning 60 to 150 percent of area median income — $50,000 to $125,000 in Boston.

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Jen Kinney is a freelance writer and documentary photographer. Her work has also appeared in Philadelphia Magazine, High Country News online, and the Anchorage Press. She is currently a student of radio production at the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies. See her work at

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Tags: affordable housinggentrificationbostonmarty walsh

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