Inclusionary Development Program
To ensure all Bostonians benefit from Boston’s strong real estate market, in December 2015 Mayor Walsh implemented an executive order to reform the Inclusionary Development Program (IDP). These changes increased the affordable housing contributions required of developers and led to the collection of more than $21 million in IDP revenue to create affordable housing in the last fiscal year alone.
Helping long-term residents
In addition, as Boston grows, it is important that it grows equitably and prevents the displacement of long-term residents. The Office of Housing Stability was established in FY17 to assist Boston residents experiencing housing crises and to expand the array of anti-displacement services that the City offers. Since July 2014 a total of 2,521 households were able to retain their housing as a result of City services such as foreclosure and eviction prevention.
In FY18, $75,000 will be invested in the Office of Housing Stability to enhance initiatives, including offering training for both landlords and tenants, developing a tenant orientation guide, and funding families in need of emergency placement.
To ensure that residents at all income levels are able to obtain housing that is affordable, the City set a goal of creating 6,500 new units of housing for low-income, non-elderly households. Currently, the City is running above or near target in both low-income and extremely low-income housing production.
Low-income senior housing, currently running at 66 percent of target, is expected to increase substantially in the year ahead due in part to the annual $7.25 million general fund investment in housing.
This includes the City’s first line item for elderly housing production, which Mayor Walsh introduced in FY16. Combining these general fund dollars with federal grants, state grants, and developer fees allows the City to leverage a wide variety of sources to invest in the creation and preservation of affordable housing citywide.
To solve the challenges of creating middle income housing in Boston, Mayor Walsh created the Housing Innovation Lab in 2015, bringing design thinking and innovation to solving these issues. The lab’s work has led to:
- the adoption of Boston’s first density bonus program, which will yield hundreds of privately financed affordable housing units;
- the launch of a compact living development competition on City-owned vacant land; and
- support for an accessory dwelling units policy.
As grant funding for this program is exhausted, the City will invest $97,500 in general funds to maintain the operation in FY18. The Lab will continue to serve as an internal think tank to develop recommendations to address the City's housing crisis and implement Mayor Walsh’s housing plan.