January 6, 2021 - In a huge victory for MAHA and our coalition partners, the state legislature just passed a home rule petition that will allow Boston to substantially increase Linkage fees that large scale commercial developers must pay for affordable housing and job training. "It's exciting to see all our hard work pay off", said Felicia Richards, a MAHA activist who helped organize a 1,000 person rally with legislators in 2019 and stuck with the effort all the way through phone banks over the last two weeks to generate hundreds of calls and emails from MAHA graduates to their legislators.
MAHA members have been organizing to increase linkage since we kicked off our "Expand The Pie" campaign in 2018. The campaign aims to increase resources for affordable rental and ownership housing by tapping into the tremendous wealth being generated through real estate development and multi-million dollar sales in our communities. "All of Boston's residents should benefit from any development that happens here. We need to make sure that our families and neighbors can afford to stay here", said Cortina Vann, a MAHA organizer and Dorchester resident. "That means we need more affordable homes, and jobs that pay a living wage and offer a career ladder".
Many thanks to thousands of MAHA members who participated in this effort! Thank you to Mayor Marty Walsh, Boston City Councilors Kenzie Bok, Lydia Edwards, and Kim Janey, State Representatives Kevin Honan and Aaron Michlewitz, and State Senators Nick Collins, Sonia Chang-Diaz, and William Brownsburger and many others for their leadership on this.
And a huge thank you to our amazing coalition partners: MA Association of CDCs, Job Training Alliance, Coalition for a Truly Affordable Boston, and the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District. You have all been so great, and we look forward to more victories together in 2021.
"Our expand the pie campaign is focused on increasing the amount of money that is used to create new affordable homeownership opportunities for our homebuyer graduates and this linkage victory is a key part of the strategy", said MAHA's Symone Crawford. "We graduated 2,434 aspiring homebuyers in 2020, an all-time high and this gives us hope that more of them will be able to find a home in Boston."
Last night's legislative session also included several other pieces of good news for tenants and homebuyers with bills on housing choice, zoning reform, tenant option to purchase and eviction sealing legislation passing and moving to the Governor's desk.