Mayor Michelle Wu announced that the City of Boston has released two Requests for Proposals (RFP), totaling $50 million for affordable housing projects. This funding is available to create and preserve rental, cooperative, and homeownership developments in Boston.
“Safe and stable housing is critical for the health of our residents, families, and communities,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “This funding will ensure significant investments go toward safe, accessible affordable housing in our neighborhoods across the city. I’m grateful to the Mayor’s Office of Housing, the Neighborhood Housing Trust, and the Community Preservation Committee for their leadership and partnership with our nonprofit and for-profit community development organizations to ensure Boston is a city for everyone.”
The $50 million available represents the contributions of three different City sources whose combined resources will ensure a deeper impact for low, moderate, and middle-income Bostonians. Thirty million dollars will be offered from funding sources controlled by the City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of Housing and the Community Preservation Fund. The Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund (NHT) is contributing the remaining $20 million in revenue from commercial real estate extractions, through the Linkage program.
There will be a virtual Applicant’s Conference on Wednesday, August 24, 2022, at 10:00 am. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent by Friday, August 26, 2022, and a final proposal by September 30, 2022, no later than 4 pm. Interested applicants may register for a package here.
The Mayor’s Office of Housing, the Community Preservation Committee, and the Neighborhood Housing Trust will prioritize development proposals that produce significant percentages of housing for residents who have low incomes and those that serve homeless individuals, seniors, and residents with disabilities. The development projects must support the City of Boston’s goals to further fair housing, efficiently use City resources and land to increase the production and preservation of mixed-income housing, and help preserve affordable housing in at-risk expiring use developments.
“Once again, Mayor Wu is demonstrating that she gets it—she is truly a mayor for everyone. We appreciate her recognition that the provision of affordable housing is critical to the City’s vibrancy—and how she is making these new resources available,” said Amy Schectman, President & CEO of 2Life Communities. “This commitment is fantastic! We are thrilled to support this exciting effort and hope that through this significant funding, our model for aging in community can be replicated to ensure older adults in Boston can live full lives of connection and purpose in the places they treasure.”
This year’s RFPs will also enhance the City’s long-standing focus on advancing equity in every stage of the housing creation and preservation process.
The RFPs require developers to report on how they will ensure the City of Boston’s Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) minority-owned businesses are represented throughout the development and property management process. Development teams that are certified minority-owned business enterprises (MBE) and owners of 25% or more of the proposed project will receive the highest preference when award decisions are being made. Development teams where 25% or more of soft costs go to MBE consultants that have been identified as part of the team at the time of application will also receive an advantage. Applicants must also provide information on how resident services offered in a multifamily development will help support the economic mobility of residents who will live in affordable housing units.
All new construction projects funded in this latest round will be required to follow the Zero Emissions Building (ZEB) requirements outlined in the MOH Design Standards. Developers will be required to submit a preliminary Net Zero Strategy as part of the design submission. New multi-family buildings must use electricity and on-site photovoltaics as the sole (or primary) fuel source.
“Accomplishing our vision for the Blue Hill Ave B1 parcels is highly dependent on our ability to secure funding from the Mayor’s Office of Housing,” said Dariela Villon-Maga, President and Owner, DVM Consulting. “Without it, we would not be able to offer the level of affordability the Dorchester and Mattapan community truly needs. It allows us to create new, safe, energy-efficient homeownership and rental opportunities for those that need them the most. MOH is a critical partner to affordable housing developers working to combat Boston’s housing affordability crisis.”
In addition to these City sources, the Mayor’s Office of Housing has at its disposal significant federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that can be used for affordable housing development. In July, the Boston City Council approved Mayor Wu’s precedent-setting investment in affordable housing from ARPA funds, committing more than $205M to addressing specific housing issues. These investments include:
• $58 million for affordable housing production and financial support to homebuyers
• $30 million to transform publicly-owned land into green, mixed-income communities
• $26 million for property acquisitions to prevent displacement
• $20 million for greening affordable housing through deep green energy retrofits of existing buildings
• $19 million to create new permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals with substance use and behavioral health disorders
The majority of these ARPA funds will be released through additional competitive requests for proposals, some in combination with public land disposition. Some portion of these funds may be distributed through this RFP to eligible projects.