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 Now is not the time to think small or settle for less. For too long, the direction of Allston-Brighton has been dictated by greedy developers, while absentee landlords and predatory management companies prey on young renters. A crisis of this magnitude requires and demands that we think big, fight for bold, new ideas, and demand legislation that affirms housing as a human right.

Jordan’s housing platform calls for stabilizing rents, creating a Tenants’ Bill of Rights, building social housing, ending exclusionary zoning, and ending homelessness in Massachusetts.

 

Massachusetts is in the midst of the worst affordable housing crisis in recent memory. Numerous studies have shown that Boston is one of the most expensive cities for renters in the country. This crisis has hit Allston-Brighton particularly hard, a neighborhood predominantly made up of middle and low income residents, young professionals, students, and immigrants.

80% of Allston-Brighton residents are renters, making our neighborhood especially vulnerable to the current housing crisis. We’ve seen the impacts all around us: poor and working people displaced from their homes; working class artists driven out by the cost of rent; lifelong residents hoping to downsize have been forced to move elsewhere, and young renters taken advantage of by predatory or absentee landlords.

 

Now is not the time to think small or settle for less. For too long, the direction of Allston-Brighton has been dictated by greedy developers, while absentee landlords and predatory management companies prey on young renters. A crisis of this magnitude requires and demands that we think big, fight for bold, new ideas, and demand legislation that affirms housing as a human right.

RENT CONTROL FOR MASSACHUSETTS

The cost of rent has skyrocketed in Allston-Brighton over the last few years. Rent control is about neighborhood stability, stopping displacement, and affirming that housing is a human right. To meaningfully address the affordable housing crisis, Massachusetts should enact a statewide cap on rent increases. Statewide rent control is not without precedent. Recently, Oregon instituted a maximum cap on rent increases of 7% plus inflation. Similarly, California enacted a cap of 5% plus inflation.

TENANTS' BILL OF RIGHTS 

Rent control alone will not be enough to solve the housing crisis in Massachusetts. It must be paired with a robust set of tenant protections. Massachusetts should enact a comprehensive Tenants’ Bill of Rights, including:

  1. Right to Quality and Accessible Housing

  2. Just Cause Eviction

  3. Right to Counsel in Eviction Proceedings 

  4. Eviction Sealing

  5. Freedom from Unjust Fees

  6. Right to Reasonable Renewal

  7. Right to Organize

  8. Right to Information

  9. Right to Purchase

  10. Meaningful Enforcement of Tenant Rights

INVEST IN SOCIAL HOUSING 

If we want to end our affordable housing crisis and ensure that housing is truly regarded as a human right, we cannot continue to leave housing almost entirely to the private, for-profit market. It’s time for Massachusetts to get serious about investing in mixed-income social housing and provide a viable public option in the housing market. Mixed-income social housing provides significant socioeconomic integration among residents. This “increases quality of life for low-income families, boosts lifelong individual earnings for future generations, and reduces overall crime rates at the community level.” Further, social housing creates a public option in the housing market for middle class individuals and families who “would prefer to live outside the private market.

 

END EXCLUSIONARY ZONING

Our antiquated zoning laws are a direct legacy of racist redlining practices and have fueled the affordable housing and displacement crises, have driven up the price of rent (especially Allston-Brighton), and put the onus almost entirely on Boston to build new housing. Massachusetts needs new zoning rules to permit the construction of multifamily housing and encourage the construction of new housing in areas close to public transit.

END HOMELESSNESS

In a moral and just society, everyone should have safe, dignified, and affordable housing. Massachusetts has fallen woefully short of delivering on this promise, especially as the affordable housing crisis has worsened. A particularly troubling aspect of the housing crisis has been the increase in homelessness. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 20,068 people experienced homelessness in Massachusetts in 2018. This represents a 14.2% increase from 2017 — the largest increase nationwide — totaling over 2,500 people.

  1. Housing First: Massachusetts should enact a Housing First model and provide permanent supportive housing and support services for people experiencing homelessness.

  2. Reestablish the Rent Arrearage Assistance Program to keep individuals and families from becoming homeless through cash assistance.

  3. Expand Access to Emergency Assistance Shelters to ensure that families do not have to sleep in places not meant for human habitation in order to access Emergency Assistance shelter.

  4. Protect the Rights of People Experiencing Homelessness by passing a bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness and extending anti-discrimination protections. 

PAID FOR BY THE MEEHAN COMMITTEE

PO Box 960475 | Boston, MA 02196-0475

Jordan Meehan does not accept donations from housing developers, fossil fuel executives, law enforcement associations, or corporate PACs/lobbyists.