by Lydia Edwards
This is a good day and celebratory moment for my neighbors in East Boston. The Boston City Council created the East Boston Housing Stabilization trust last week. This trust is a key win for the neighborhood that I negotiated for during the Suffolk Downs approval process. This fund will help keep people in the neighborhood and create pathways to home-ownership for existing residents.
The trust is the first neighborhood specific stabilization fund in the city and will start with an initial $2.5 million investment from HYM with another $2.5 million to come later.
HYM will not be the only developer to contribute to the fund. I’m already negotiating with other developers doing work in East Boston on contributions to the fund. As developers come into our neighborhood to make money, they will now be expected to help fight the displacement crisis we currently face.
The money will be controlled by a board of East Boston residents with a variety of perspectives. The trust documents call for board members to come from organizations with expertise in things like homelessness, low-income housing, immigrant housing rights, and environmental justice.
These Eastie residents will decide how the money could best be spent. Some of the money will be used to help keep renters in their homes while other portions of it will be used to help create affordable home-ownership opportunities.
Members of the East Boston community have fought for a mechanism to capture development dollars to protect, preserve and produce affordable housing stock and with this trust we are taking an important step towards achieving that goal.
Many of our city’s neighborhoods are dealing with a lot of development like we are in East Boston. East Boston is continuing to create a standard for other neighborhoods to follow. As large development happens throughout our city, I hope that developers will be able to contribute into similar funds that will keep city residents in the communities they love and call home. I’m incredibly proud of the advocacy that helped us achieve this historic goal and will continue to fight for development without displacement.