Affordable Housing In Newton: Mayor’s Plan
Excerpt from The Boston Globe. Full article here.
In Newton, I recently released a plan titled Newton Housing Strategy: A Blueprint to Promote Affordable, Diverse Housing and Economic Growth. This report represents the first time our town has created a plan to proactively address our housing needs and look at projected demographics decades into the future.
Quickly rising living costs and a sky-high median price for a single-family home of $1.1 million have made it unaffordable for middle- and lower- income households to remain in or move to Newton. Our strategy outlines how Newton can be a city where people of all backgrounds, ages, and income levels can live affordably while ensuring that we retain what we value: public safety, high-performing schools, open spaces, and community diversity.
But ensuring housing is affordable at a renter’s or owner’s current income level is only a first step. We are also mindful to create housing that puts them in a position conducive to earning more and enjoying a better quality of life overall, with access to affordable transportation to get to and from work and school. We are taking a holistic approach, accounting for not only a person’s housing needs, but also their needs for childcare, employment, and community.
Big picture, at all levels of government, we need to address the housing market pressures holding individuals and families back from financial independence. If we want to maintain Massachusetts’ reputation as an economic leader with a solid middle class, it is time to make investments in both physical and human capital It’s time to prioritize making higher education more affordable, investing in a statewide transportation system, increasing wages, and promoting workforce training, rather than requiring individuals and families to patch together what services they can to get by. Only then will we make finding a home where an individual and family can thrive, versus one that holds them back, a reality for all.
Setti Warren is the mayor of Newton.