This just in from the mayor’s office…

Today, June 23, 2016, Mayor Setti Warren is releasing the Newton Housing Strategy: A Blueprint to Promote Affordable, Diverse Housing and Economic Growth to begin a conversation about housing in Newton.
Newton’s population is changing. There is a current and projected increase in the 65+ population, with a corresponding decrease in average household size, and a decrease in population of the 25-44 age cohort. For the first time, Newton will have a blueprint to meet the changing housing needs that coincide with a changing population while ensuring that we retain what is best about the City: a suburban feel, high-performing schools, open spaces, and community diversity.
In previous generations, people across all income levels could find a place in the City to call home. However, due to quickly rising living costs and a median price for a single-family home of $1.1 million in 2016, Newton is losing out on attracting and keeping residents who would add to the cultural fabric and economic base of the City. The Strategy outlines how Newton can be a City where people have a spectrum of housing options, from affordable homes for first-time buyers to options for the elderly aging-in-place. It also provides a guideline for how to reach the Mayor’s stated goal of building at least 800 new units by 2021, meeting the minimum threshold of 10% affordability in the housing inventory.

The Strategy includes three components: 70+ sites for potential development, policy recommendations such as accessory apartments and adjusting inclusionary zoning, and a management study with recommendations for how to structure the Planning Department to achieve its mission. It encourages on-going engagement among all parties in thoughtful discussions. The recommendations are vital to keeping Newton a city of opportunity for generations to come. — Indianapolis – As the Chair of the Community Development and Housing Committee for the US Conference of Mayors, Mayor Warren will be presenting Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing report The State of the Nation’s Housing 2016 at the USCM Annual Meeting on Friday June 24th.
Though there has been recovery in the homeowner market since 2008, ownership rates continue to be low, causing a tight rental market that leads to higher levels of rent-burden for the most vulnerable. Between 1993 and 2013, the number of low-income households eligible for federal rental housing assistance soared by 3.8 million while those actually receiving assistance increased by just 532,000. Additionally, the federal programs that assist in creation of affordable units, CDBG and HOME, have experienced dramatic cuts; CDBG funds have been cut by nearly $1.4 billion since FY 2001 and HOME funds have been cut by over 50% since FY 2010.
There is a clear, unmet need for additional affordable housing support from the federal government. To address this, USCM is asking for $3.3 billion for CDBG and $1.2 billion for HOME in FY2017.


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