Creating and maintaining a diversified housing stock that is accessible, affordable, and energy-efficient are important priorities for the City of Boston. The BRA implements the City's Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) to preserve access to affordable housing opportunities in all of Boston's neighborhoods. In collaboration with the city's Department of Neighborhood Development and Office of Fair Housing and Equity, our agency works toward achieving the goals articulated in Mayor Walsh's 2014 Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030 report. BRA staff monitors compliance with restrictions on thousands of middle-income units throughout the City.

The BRA's Housing Team: What We Do

The BRA does not own affordable units, and our staff does not distribute applications to the general public. Instead, we assist the developers/agents who do process applications to ensure any available units are filled with eligible residents. 

While we do not provide individualized assistance to people seeking housing, our team serves as a resource for leasing agents, real estate brokers, lenders, developers, community development corporations, and other municipal offices and community agencies. 

Members of the Housing staff work closely with the BRA's Legal and Development Review divisions. We provide analysis and tracking of the restrictions on our growing portfolio of affordable units. Our Compliance Managers provide guidance, referrals, and training where appropriate on IDP standards and affordable housing program protocol. 

Program Overview

Members of the public must apply through the development's owner or designated agent, not through the BRA. Our flowchart gives an overview of the process, which begins with the construction of new affordable units.

When a development finishes construction, its new units are advertised according to an approved marketing plan. Typically a plan will require 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/agent reviews each applicant household's eligibility in order of the corresponding lottery rankings. After a preliminary finding of eligibility, the developer/agent submits the household's application to BRA staff for final approval. This process repeats until all affordable units in the development are filled with eligible households.

For developments with affordable rental units, the BRA trains leasing agents on income certification procedures. Ongoing regular reviews ensure the appropriate application of BRA income and rent requirements. For affordable condominiums, our staff reviews documentation of occupancy, enforces limits on the amounts of mortgages secured by the units, and oversees sale and resale transactions.

For more information, please contact Mary Lu Mendonca, Senior Housing Compliance Manager, by email or by telephone at 617.918.4373.