Boston mayor unveils housing security legislative package

BOSTON — Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is looking to tackle the city’s housing crisis by tying it to its economic objectives in a sweeping 14-bill housing legislative package.

In a statement, Walsh said, "Housing and economic mobility are linked: a stable home allows residents to pursue opportunities."

The first of four parts filed Monday includes a bill that would allow the city to change its linkage rate – that's the fee charged to large developers and used for affordable housing projects - to every year instead of once every three years.

"Boston as a city is extremely segregated. And one of the ways that we can ensure there’s more affordable housing and that we’re looking at those residential patterns is by creating more opportunities for more affordable housing to be built," said housing activist Beya Jimenez.

Jimenez says it's a huge victory for renters paying more than $2,300 a month for a one bedroom and over a half million or more on a single-family home.

"Housing is no longer just a city issue. It's a statewide issue and therefore we need to look at ways that we can all work together," said Jimenez.

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Three bills in the package are aimed at tenants protections, giving tenant associations the right of first refusal to purchase properties for fair market and prohibits no-fault evictions for people 75 and older.

The Small Property Owner’s association tells Boston 25 News reporter Crystal Haynes that Walsh's bill is illegal saying:

"It's a rent control bill. It's illegal under state law. It's vote-pandering. This will hurt small property owners. There are hundreds of stories of profoundly hideous abuses of the systems."

In an effort to boost the city’s economy, the number of liquor licenses would be expanded with the creation of umbrella licenses for larger multi-unit commercial developments. Walsh is also looking to broaden the city’s tuition-free community college program.

But Jimenez cautions enforcement of these bills needs to include those they are supposed to benefit.

"If we're trying to serve the people of the Commonwealth, then we need to put those most at risk at the beginning and making sure that they are leading into these issues."

>> Boston 25 News reporter Crystal Haynes has covered this topic extensively. See her previous reports: 

Local mayors hope to add over 180,000 units to help statewide housing emergency
PRICED OUT: The housing crisis in the Boston area and who is working to fix it
PRICED OUT: Pressure mounts on suburbs to find affordable housing solutions
PRICED OUT: Group says 'Yes In My Backyard' to ease Boston housing crisis