Middle and low income housing is in short supply in Boston and it’s becoming a contentious topic in communities around the city. In an article written for the Boston Globe in 2014, Lawrence Harmon highlighted a project that is attempting to fight against this trend.
“Attempting” is the right word in this case, because even though the project is targeted towards middle income families the rent’s would still be on the higher end for most households. The project is well designed and (seemingly) well intentioned. The article itself did a good job of reporting the facts, but many of the readers seem to disagree with the merits of the project as well as the author’s attempt to frame it as a step in the right direction.
The comment section gets pretty heated as people debate policy, design, neighborhood history and human nature. While some commentors argue that rent is too high others argue that lowering rents in the neighborhood would decrease equity for those who already live there. Seems to be a hard group to please. See below for a few of the comments and a link to the article.
“Why is it such great news that the little guy who owns a decker and lives in one of the units won’t be able to afford to keep his property up and pay his mortgage if rents fall? Or that the $100,000 income family, for whom a decker condo is the only home they could afford to buy in Boston, may lose the equity in their home because they have to sell it at a loss?”
“If you think housing construction in Boston has any relation to the free market, I’ve got a zoning code, BRA, and neighborhood approval process I’d like to show you.”
“Young people/couples, in very large numbers, are NOT “making it”. They are not getting married and buying homes, and spending money to fix them up, and starting families, and providing for their children. All those activities would generate a healthy economy, but our economy is stagnant because The Rich have most of the money, and the common people simply cannot afford to live normal human lives.”
“Why do all new apartment buildings have to be fancy? If builders want to maintain a decent return on investment, why not skip out on the granite countertops and stainless steel appliances and fancy mouldings? Not everyone needs a “luxury” place to live.”