Walsh announces housing task force

April 11, 2014
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Mayor Martin Walsh announced a new City Housing Task Force during the ground-breaking for a new affordable senior housing residence in Mission Hill on March 29.

“We’re here to celebrate the creation of the Mayor’s Housing Task Force,” Walsh said at the event, explaining it will focus on boosting affordable housing.

The formation of the Task Force follows a petition from several local organizations calling for an improved City housing policy. JP resident, affordable housing organizer and Boston Tenant Coalition (BTC) coordinator Kathy Brown has accepted a position on that task force, she told the Gazette.

“I feel really hopeful,” she said. “I’m really happy to see the words ‘low-income’ mentioned, recognizing that there are a lot of different housing needs, including middle class, low-income and homeless.”

Building upon the work of the Mayor’s Transition Team for Housing, the task force will create a response and operation plan to meet Boston’s housing challenges, including increasing the supply of housing, increasing the supply of housing for elderly and low-income households and incentivizing developers to “build quality affordable housing,” Walsh said.

The task force will be composed of for-profit and nonprofit developers, academic experts, planning consultants, elected officials and tenant, neighborhood, and union representatives.

Tenant, homeless and community groups, including BTC, JP-based City Life/Vida Urbana and the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), recently delivered a petition with 900 signatures to Mayor Martin Walsh to increase affordable housing resources and earmark more funds to keep working-class and lower income residents in their homes and in the City.

“I think that our coalition represents a lot of wonderful organizations and constituents. I look at the appointment as trying to bring a voice to those groups,” Brown said.

The task force is expected to release a four-year plan by early summer.

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