City of Boston invests $60M to develop income-restricted housing

by Liz Hughes

The city of Boston is making a historic investment in housing for low- and middle-income homebuyers in an initiative announced by Mayor Michelle Wu.

On Nov. 18, Wu announced the investment of $60 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to be used to develop income-restricted housing for eligible residents and offer financial assistance for Boston homebuyers. 

As part of that investment, 150 parcels of land in the city will be made available to developers for building income-restricted homeownership opportunities, according to a press release from the mayor’s office. Additionally, the money will fund grants to help buyers with lower mortgage interest rates, as well as $50,000 in assistance for down payments and closing costs for eligible first-time homebuyers. The funds will also be used to launch a homeownership program for qualified Boston Housing Authority residents. 

The announcement builds on the city’s initiatives to address housing affordability. In October, Wu signed an executive order making it faster and easier to boost affordable housing production

Wu says housing is the “foundation of a healthy, thriving city.”

“In Boston, this is an urgent issue that impacts every neighborhood, every generation, every demographic,” she said. “We are moving as fast as possible with every single lever that the city has, making land available in partnership with community developers and making the financing possible with increased down payment assistance to ensure every resident has access to affordable homeownership opportunities.”

Councilor Brian Worrell called the announcement a “big win for creating homeownership opportunities in our communities while simultaneously improving neighborhoods through the activation of vacant lots.”

“This initiative is an important investment in addressing our housing shortage and allowing families to realize the dream of homeownership,” he said. 

Boston’s housing chief Sheila Dillon said the investments in creating new affordable homes and providing “meaningful financial assistance will allow more families to buy in Boston.” 

“In the upcoming months, we will be working hard with our partners to make sure that Boston residents learn of, and act on, these important opportunities,” she said. 

The 150 parcels were designated as suitable for housing developments as a result of the Boston Planning & Development Agency’s Public Land for Public Good: Citywide Land Audit of all city-owned property.

Requests for proposals are expected to be issued to developers early next year for the first 70 parcels of land.

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