Affordable housing

FEBRUARY 5: A construction worker for Heyland Development drives a earth moving machine at the redevelopment of the St. Therese’s on Broadway Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

The mayor and the city council have imposed a linkage fee for developers building multi-unit apartment housing in Everett.

Only those developments not yet permitted for occupancy will be charged the fee.

The idea is to have developers set aside a percentage of their projects for affordable housing for Everett residents with limited income or housing insufficient for their needs.

This new linkage fee will do little to nothing to reduce the need for all kinds of affordable housing.

What Everett needs to do is to create a linkage with the $30 million a year coming in from Encore and to leverage some of that money to build its own affordable housing without having to shake down developers with yet another fee.

Everett remains a city of families more than it is a city of transients.

The owners of the city’s newly developed apartment houses with thousands of units all agree – their tenants come and go. Most of them don’t know they are living in Everett. They don’t shop here. They sleep here behind locked doors. They don’t vote here. They don’t work here. They don’t own businesses here.They might as well be living in Chelsea.

Yet we welcome these people to Everett and we welcome developers to create new addresses. After all, investment in the city is important

The effort as it is coming to be with linkage is insufficient to meet the affordable housing needs of the city in the decades to come.

Mind you, affordable housing isn’t so much for new residents wanting to come to Everett as it is for Everett residents needing decent, affordable space.

Small apartments in large complexes that provide no amenities for school-aged children and not enough space for a family to grow will ultimately cause the city to lose its identity.

The need for affordable housing space here is largely an effort to provide proper housing for families already living here squeezed into expensive tiny spaces.

For the city to retain its identity, and to provide affordable housing for families already living here, the city needs to become entrepreneurial.

The need is for more single family row housing developments like those in East Boston near to the waterfront.

In the past decade, Everett’s developers have not added any affordable housing intended to meet the needs of the future.

The future is here.

The linkage fee is a step in the right direction, but it does little to nothing to reduce the crying need for affordable housing here.

The debate in government about affordable housing needs to be ramped up a bit.

We urge the city to rethink its affordable housing needs and possibilities.

The city needs every major housing development it can grab but it also needs more affordable housing.

Let’s create better housing opportunities that are affordable.

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