District One City Councilor Lydia Edwards, who is also the Chair of the Boston City Council Committee on Housing and Community Development, is proposing a reallocation of $2 million of Community Preservation Act revenue to an emergency rental voucher program to provide relief for residents economically impacted by COVID-19.
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) typically provides support for affordable housing, parks and open spaces, and historic preservation projects. It is funded by a 1% surcharge on real estate taxes and a state match, raising approximately $25 million annually.
In February, the Walsh administration recommended 40 projects, totaling over $24 million, for CPA funding. Of these, $8 million are dedicated to citywide housing programs, with $4 million proposed for the Acquisition Opportunities Program and $4 million proposed for the One+Boston Program. To address the pressing needs of renters who are suddenly out of work, Councilor Edwards is urging the city to utilize a portion of collected funds currently allocated to city-run housing programs to help ensure stable housing for Bostonians during the pandemic.
With COVID-19 in mind, the Massachusetts Housing Partnership has recently issued recommendations for utilizing Community Preservation Act funds for rental assistance. Communities across Massachusetts including Georgetown, Gloucester, Somerville, Waltham, and Martha’s Vineyard have used CPA for rental assistance.
Read Councilor Edwards’ letter to Mayor Walsh and the Community Preservation Committee here.