As I speak with voters across South Boston, I hear about two pressing issues most consistently: development and gentrification. With housing prices soaring, so many people who have called Southie their home for generations are faced with the stark reality that they cannot afford to stay. And I know this first-hand: I faced the same challenge, and as a young man was forced to look for affordable housing options that simply didn’t exist for me.
Development in Boston has taken off at a startling—and disproportionate—rate. According to the Boston Foundation, the City of Boston represents less than 1% of the region’s land area, but in recent years has produced 36% of its building permits for new housing units. In the same period of time, the number of units permitted in the cities and towns around Boston has declined by 7%. Meanwhile, 1.7 million square feet of new construction has been permitted in South Boston in the past five years, not including the Waterfront.
My family has lived in South Boston for generations. This is where my wife Katrina and I have chosen to raise our son, and I’m proud to be part of this community. As your State Representative, I will stand up for families like yours and mine who are at risk of being forced out of this neighborhood.
Development is the sign of a strong economy, but we cannot ignore its adverse impacts—it’s not wrong to want to preserve the small amount of open space we have! To strike the right balance, I believe we need to take a regional approach to tackling the housing crisis. Our legislators need to help developers look beyond the cranes that we already see in our backyards.
Building more in South Boston will help to bring down the region’s average housing cost, but it won’t necessarily bring down housing costs in Southie. And for families like mine who want to put down roots in their hometown, that’s not good enough. We need much more housing in the Boston region, and real estate development that’s done in a reasonable way—with genuine community participation—still has a place in our neighborhood. But to preserve our quality of life, we need to approach the issue deliberately. That means not letting developers dictate our housing policy.
Cool story Matt, but people don’t want to live 30minutes outside the city. That’s why there’s increased construction in South Boston and other areas of the City. Nothing in your speech discusses incentivizing people to live in the suburbs over the city.
One other major issue I urge all of our candidates for Rep to look at: Taxes!
As development has increased in Southie, the value of land has gone up astronomically. Many of our neighbors are struggling to pay property taxes that keep going up up up. This also disincentivises long-term residents from fixing up their houses as they know every permit pulled will add to their property valuations. I am all for paying one’s fair share, but this is backwards and should be fixed.
When people say ‘I can’t afford to stay’, what exactly does this refer to? Property taxes? Rent? Cost of living? For those who have owned for a while, there’s quite a pile of equity between those walls. Unfortunately, these issues are true for most of the city of Boston, not to mention most of the metropolitan area along the coast. Can’t just solve for Southie.
I would say a combination of taxes, increased cost of maintaining a home due to the out of control labor unions & general increase costs of living between daycare, private school, food, etc. Either way I completely agree. People are up 3 fold on their homes yet “they can’t afford to live here”…..next thing you know the market will stabilize and they’ll complain about how their home value has dropped. Can’t have it every way you want it.
Home maintenance costs have nothing to do with labor unions…..
Labor unions have nothing to do with home maintenance costs.
Do not elect this man. He clearly has no real grasp of housing policy or economics. He’s probably a nice enough guy but the formula he is describing would exacerbate the housing crunch in Southie, not improve it.
The issues Matt is talking about are city issues. You are not running for a city council are you? If your running for our state representative seat focus on an issue like the MBTA proposed bus route that’s impacting our families safety. We’re looking for someone with experience. Do you have it???