Shared Beliefs About Housing in Newton
Engine 6 and its Livable Newton partners participate in a CHAPA (Citizens' Housing and Planning Association) program called the Municipal Engagement Initiative. We wrote this statement to affirm our understanding of the chronic regional housing shortage and our resolve to do something about it.
We believe that:
Greater Boston and Massachusetts are experiencing a housing crisis and it extends to Newton. Since 2010, the 15 cities and towns of the Metro Mayors Coalition have added nearly 110,000 residents and 148,000 new jobs, while permitting only 32,500 new housing units. Tremendous competition for the limited available housing drives up prices, makes it difficult for people to find homes they can afford, and increases the potential for displacement (see the Metro Mayors Coalition Housing Task Force web page).
Newton needs more housing that is affordable to a range of incomes and units that can accommodate and appeal to a wider range of people—seniors interested in down-sizing, young professionals who want to live close to transit and amenities, people who work in Newton but can’t afford to live here. According to the Newton Housing Strategy Report published in 2016, Newton lost 4,700 households with annual incomes of less than $125,000, while gaining 4,200 households earning more than $200,000 between 2000 and 2013. In the past, Newton provided a range of housing opportunity and should strive to do this in the future.
In particular, more affordable housing is necessary to meet the needs of existing and new Newton residents. Right now, over 76% of low-income households and 56% of moderate-income households in Newton are paying more than 30% of their income towards housing, all of whom would be eligible for new affordable units.
Failure to address the housing needs in Newton has already and will continue to have negative impacts on Newton's economic vitality, racial diversity, environmental sustainability, vibrancy of its village centers, ability for local businesses to attract and retain talent, sustainability of a population needed to support vibrant schools, and community character.
Members of this group commit to advocating for housing development, affordable housing, and increased resources for affordable housing as relevant projects, policies, and programs are proposed and debated in Newton. To meet the broad range of needs in Newton, these solutions must include both market-rate housing and publicly-subsidized and affordable housing. We will be vocal about our support for this work and will educate our community about this need as well.