Mayor Menino today released his proposal for getting 30,000 new housing units built in Boston over the next seven years at a combined public and private cost of $16 billion.
Although the bulk of the units would come through easing construction of market-rate apartments, the mayor is also proposing a 2014 referendum on enacting the state's Community Preservation Act, which would let the city add a 1% surcharge on local real-estate taxes to be dedicated to an affordable-housing fund.
Menino is also proposing a $1.5-billion revolving fund to help middle-class residents stay in this increasingly expensive city.
In addition to selling off vacant city property for housing, the mayor is also proposing an increase in the linkage fees developers of large projects now pay into a BRA fund designed to build affordable housing in the city.
In the report (attached below), the mayor writes:
Boston has a smaller middle class than the state or the nation, and our middle class is increasingly squeezed as house prices rise at double the rate that incomes are growing. The middle class is being priced out of homeownership in more and more neighborhoods, and is increasingly in competition with lower-wage workers for housing in the more affordable neighborhoods.
Boston's nation-leading inventory of 52,000 units of affordable housing is increasingly at risk, due to declining federal operating support for public housing, capital obsolescence and expiring affordability restrictions. ...
In a new American economy where education is the most valuable resource, Boston is better positioned for growth than most cities in the country. Yet high housing costs could pose a serious obstacle to Boston's ability to capitalize on these educational advantages. If an unaffordable housing market drives our new graduates away to more affordable parts of the country, Boston's employers will not have the skilled workforce that they need to grow Boston's economy.