Overview

Department Mission

The creation of a diversified housing stock that is accessible, affordable and energy efficient is an important priority for the City of Boston. The BRA implements the Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) for the City to ensure that middle income households have access to affordable housing opportunities. Working in collaboration with the Department of Neighborhood Development and the Office of Fair Housing and Equity, our housing program works to maintain the affordability of designated condo and rental units. 

Role at the Agency

The BRA's Affordable Housing team oversees housing units throughout the City which have been designated as affordable for middle-income households. We provide monitoring and compliance enforcement for both rental and ownership developments. 

As explained in our Affordable Housing Process flowchart, developments advertise newly-constructed affordable units according to a marketing plan approved by our Affordable Housing staff. Typically a plan requires that the units be made available to eligible households through a lottery overseen by the city's Office of Fair Housing and Equity. Lottery results may be sorted according to applicable preferences which are designed to provide fair and equitable access to opportunity. The developer, usually through a designated leasing agent, reviews the eligibility of each household in order of the corresponding lottery rankings. The developer's agent makes a preliminary determination of eligibility and, if appropriate, submits the application to BRA staff for final review and approval. This process repeats until all affordable units in the development are filled with eligible households.

Affordable Housing staff provides training and individualized guidance to the agents responsible for applying BRA eligibility guidelines. For developments with affordable rental units, our staff monitors compliance with eligibility guidelines and other requirements through regular monitoring reviews. Affordable condo unit owners are required to provide documentation of occupancy and other proofs of compliance for review by staff, usually on an annual basis. Our team works closely with the BRA's Legal and Development Review divisions to provide analysis and tracking of the restrictions on our growing portfolio of affordable units. We strive to enforce compliance these restrictions in an effort to preserve affordable housing opportunities for middle-income residents of Boston.

Organization

Members of the Affordable Housing staff have significant knowledge of affordable housing policy as well as expertise in rental and ownership real estate transactions as they pertain to affordable units. We provide guidance, referrals, and training where appropriate on IDP standards and affordable housing program protocol. While our staff does not provide individualized assistance to people seeking housing, we serve as a resource for leasing agents, real estate brokers, lenders, developers, community development corporations, and other municipal offices and community agencies. 

For more information, please contact Mary Lu Mendonca, Senior Housing Compliance Manager, by email or by telephone at 617-918-4373.