Advocates urged elected officials to commit to build at least 1,000 new units of affordable housing within the city of Boston over the next five years, with a ticket price of about $40 million annually, during a packed Tuesday evening event in Dorchester hosted by the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA). The housing targets earned the support of five city councillors who spoke at the forum.
City Councillors Andrea Campbell, Michael Flaherty, Matt O’Malley, Lydia Edwards, and Kim Janey pledged to support MAHA’s “Expand the Pie” campaign and noted their ongoing work to increasing sources of funds, protect existing residents, and bring in additional revenue. At-Large Councillors Ayanna Pressley, Annissa Essaibi-George, and Michelle Wu were present for at least part of the forum.
“Where can we get that 40 million?” asked Roslyn George of Roxbury, a longtime MAHA member. “I’m sure you don’t have it in your mattress….”
Jonathan Rodrigues, an organizer with the Boston Teachers Union, echoed notes that the wealthiest institutions “have an obligation to the city.” With the voluntary PILOT payments, Boston has left about $60 million on the table since 2012 from universities, hospitals, and cultural institutions, he said, which should be “growing with us, not on us.”