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Walsh on his housing record

Interview with mayor

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the Banner’s senior editor. VIEW BIO
Walsh on his housing record
Mayor Martin Walsh (Photo: Photo: Don Harney, Mayor’s Office)

Are developers building too much luxury housing?

The luxury housing isn’t putting pressure on the market. A lot of the people going in there are new people coming into Boston. We’re growing as a city. We’re going to continue to grow. We can’t stop building housing and stop growth. We have to continue to remain competitive. And the way we remain competitive is by having more people move into the city and live here. We have to continue to build housing.

For a long time we weren’t building any housing. Our numbers were going down. We were losing people. Now we have an influx of people coming into the city of Boston. I think it’s important we keep that momentum moving forward. We’ve built more affordable housing than any in other period in the history of our city in the last three years. We’re going to continue that pace.

The new rental units on the market have pushed rents down slightly in the city.

The problem is, we’re concerned about what the federal government is going to do. If the federal government gets out of affordable housing, we’re going to have bigger problems than we know what to do with.

Is the city doing everything it can to maximize the amount of affordable housing being built?

In the last three years we’ve increased inclusionary development money in the city of Boston, something that hasn’t been touched in decades. We were able to pass the Community Preservation Act, something that couldn’t happen in 2001. We have been setting records in 2014, 15, 16 and we set one in 17 for low-income housing starts. We are getting more permits out now than ever before as far as building housing. I don’t know how much more we can do.

We set a goal of creating 53,000 new units by the year 2030. We have almost half of those units either complete, under construction, permitted or in the pipeline in two-and-a-half years. We’re moving on all cylinders right now.

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