HOUSING & DEVELOPMENT
Pathways to Ownership and Stabilization
Our housing policies need to combine pathways to ownership and prevent high concentrations of poverty in one area. Therefore, as a city councilor I will advocate for more ways in which we can create homeowners either through cooperative ownership, land trusts, rent to own programs to allow tenants to gain equity, and classes for homeowners seeking to make a profit and make a difference through selling to local community development organizations or through taking advantage of the new donative tax credit that allows homeowners to gain a large marketable tax credit if their choose to sell below market. All of these are ways to move with the market and encourage a different way of development that is inclusive of families, seniors, tenants, and small property owners.
I am proud to have drafted and advocated for statewide policy that would allow tenants in a foreclosed building (not owner occupied) to be able to purchase the building at the foreclosure price before developers. Again, my goal is to assure that communities are developed and grow, not just buildings.
Development and Good Neighbor Policies
Throughout District 1, residents can feel pressured by some of our largest neighbors. East Boston is a portal to the world, but a growing airport presents issues of air pollution and noise. In Charlestown, the nearby Everett casino will increase traffic, and the One Charlestown project will bring a huge number of new residents to the area. In the North End, proposed waterfront development, an influx of students and other changes may alter the face of the community.
As your City Councilor, I will push for our largest community industries to be good neighbors and do their part to assure that their growth does not negatively impact our community. When large industries work with community instead of against it, we can maximize economic opportunity and welcome new neighbors and visitors while minimizing or eliminating social and environmental concerns. I will push to have universities do their part to build more student housing. I will meet with developers to welcome them but also let them know the standards, including strong Community Benefits Agreements we have for developing in our neighborhood.
The Airport and East Boston have had a long relationship with many promises and we need to review the mitigation, give credit when due, and make sure we are working together for open transparent relationship about how to create a healthy vibrant neighborhood in East Boston but also come up with solutions for air pollution, analysis of traffic patterns and really finally move people to and from the airport without moving through already-strained streets in the neighborhood.
Community Directed Development and Participatory Budgeting
As a councilor, I would like to expand opportunities for residents to participate in budget allocation of local funds. Participatory budgeting is already happening in Cambridge and on a smaller scale in the city of Boston. The results are increased civic participation, increased sense of community and increased civic mindedness.
Community Benefit Agreements are agreements between the community and developers or investors. The goal is to create a table and conversation that is community led. Where the developers commit to community standards not just zoning standards. Developers make this commitment in writing and agree to enforcement terms if they violate the agreement.
Policy for Tenants and Landlords
I have the unique perspective that can see both sides of the landlord tenant relationship. That’s why I fully support tenants knowing their rights, having access to legal resources, full transparency, and real reasons for evicting tenants. I was happy to work with tenants' rights organizations and the Greater Boston Real Estate Board to come up with real solutions to curb evictions in Boston. As a city councilor I will continue to create an open table where stakeholders can continue to talk about realistic solutions.
I envision a city where all residents — from homeowners to renters — have a stake in the future of our neighborhoods and influence over development. Whether it's through a non-profit community land trust, modernized public housing, or affordable homeownership units, we need a new way to make sure that District 1 residents benefit from the developments that are shaping our city.
Speculation and development influence residents in ways that are deeply connected. When property values rise, homeowners may struggle to pay their tax bill, while renters are squeezed by corresponding increases in rent. Meanwhile, our schools and community institutions suffer when homes are flipped and people cannot afford to stay in the neighborhood long-term. We need to pursue policies that help residents build community wealth and stabilize our neighborhoods.
I will fight for a future in which our residents shape development using tools provided by city government. These tools include Community Land Trusts, affordable home-ownership programs, participatory budgeting, and Community Benefits Agreements. Used together, these tools could help communities stay intact in the face of gentrification and displacement.
As a city councilor, I advocate for:
- Low-cost or free legal and mediation services for tenants and landlords
- Tax credits to incentivize and reward owners who keep their rents below market, and tax repayment programs to help homeowners who have fallen on hard times
- Policies to make sure residents know their rights
- Public meetings on development where residents can provide meaningful input on key issues and hold developers accountable
- A landlord guarantee program that helps cover the cost of wear and tear on rental units
- State legislation to make it easier for tenants to purchase their buildings when the owner wants to sell
- City support for community land trusts and other affordable housing programs
- Funding for affordable homeownership programs and education for landlords and tenants