The City of Boston is in the midst of a housing crisis. Families who have lived in their homes for five, 10, 20 years are being displaced because rents are too expensive. The price of purchasing a home in the city has increased more than two-and-a-half times between 1995 and 2005.
As the newly elected District 4 Boston City Councilor representing Dorchester, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain and Roslindale, a diverse cross-section of the city, I see the effects this crisis is having on our seniors, veterans and middle-income families who have been in the city for generations but are now contemplating moving elsewhere. Without sustainable source of adequate funding for affordable housing, we will continue to head in this direction.
This is why I co-sponsored the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in the Council and made it one of my top priorities!
The CPA, if passed in November, would establish a local, dedicated fund required to be used for the creation of affordable housing. While the average homeowner would be expected to pay approximately $24 per year, the city is expected to receive between $16 million and $20 million annually. In addition to combatting the housing crisis and keeping our hardworking families in Boston, the CPA can only be used for two other purposes: parks and historical preservation.
While our parks and historical sites, including the Mount Hope Cemetery in my district, are often reduced in the list of budget priorities behind our schools, public safety and housing needs, the CPA brings endless possibilities for transforming our parks, playgrounds, trails, gardens and recreational spaces, and rehabilitating our frequently visited historical sites.
As if these benefits weren’t enough, the CPA is a proven job creator, as evidenced by the 161 municipalities that have adopted it. According to a study by UMass Boston, within the first five years of passing the CPA, building 3,000 new homes in Boston would create 10,755 construction jobs. Job creation from parks and historic preservation projects would further boost the economic impact.
As Boston taxpayers, we pay into the CPA state fund through our transactions at the registry of deeds yet see no return because Boston, unlike the other 161 municipalities, has not adopted the CPA. It is time for Boston to reap the benefits of the CPA and we can only do that if we all vote YES on Question 5 in November.
I am proud to support the Yes Better Boston ballot initiative campaign. Please make sure to complete the entire ballot on Nov. 8 and vote YES on Question 5. The future of our communities and city depends on ensuring this revenue finally becomes available to us.
Andrea J. Campbell is the Boston District 4 City Councilor. Campbell responded to a request from Jamaica Plain News to discuss her position on Question 5.