Developer Deals Shortchange Affordable Housing Program in Boston

With little outside oversight, Boston's powerful yet secretive Redevelopment Agency has squandered millions of dollars that were supposed to help build affordable housing by cutting deals with developers and allocating funds to other uses.
January 7, 2014, 12pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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A Boston Globe investigation has revealed that since 2000, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) has spent just $18 million on affordable housing out of the $75 million the agency should have collected. "The rest either has not been collected, was diverted to other purposes, or languishes in a BRA account," reports Sean P. Murphy. He weaves a lurid tale of lax oversight, poor accounting, deal-making for mayoral friends, and a passive board that habitually votes to support whatever staff recommends. 

"The physical transformation of Boston may well be the enduring legacy of Menino’s record 20-year watch," adds Murphy. "But the BRA may be squandering the opportunity created by the historic boom to channel residential development to where it is needed most — toward middle-income Bostonians who have watched the cost of living rise twice as fast as their earnings since 2005, according to a recent Northeastern University study."

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Published on Sunday, December 22, 2013 in The Boston Globe
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