Council Discusses Affordable Housing

By Adam Swift

Ward 4 City Councillor Patrick Keefe wants to see what the city’s new Affordable House Trust committee can accomplish before moving ahead with a motion he recently filed asking the city to look at using underutilized space to increase affordability options for senior citizens.

“I didn’t get much of a formal response, but I did speak to some people in the mayor’s office, as well as with the mayor himself in regards to their doing more with affordable housing in the city,” said Keefe at a recent council economic development subcommittee meeting. “The Affordable Housing Trust and trustees are still getting their feet beneath them, so I think granting them some more time to get up to speed to research what type of funding they will need to make certain things happen.”

Last year, the City Council approved the establishment of an affordable housing trust, which specifically sets aside money to establish and promote affordable home ownership and rental opportunities. Earlier this year, however, the council voted down an inclusionary zoning proposal that would have set aside a certain percentage of new development as affordable units.

“I also spoke to the director of Revere Housing, and he gave some really good points on what they can and cannot do, and there are some hurdles to overcome when it comes to what the Revere Housing Authority can do,” said Keefe. “But I think everyone has the right intentions, I would just like to see if there is a little more of that official collaboration on what we can control.”

In regards to the proposed inclusionary zoning changes that failed several months ago, Keefe said he would like to see if the city can work to increase affordable housing opportunities with the boards it already has.

Council President Gerry Visconti noted that the Affordable Housing Trust Committee just recently held its first meeting.

“Once they get off and running, we can figure out what is the appetite there, and get more information from them,” said Visconti.

In other business, the economic development subcommittee recommended the council accept a donation of land on Revere Beach Parkway from Paul Ferragamo for conservation purposes.

Last year, the council expressed concerns about the state of the property, but Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri said he recently went by the property and that it looked like it was in a more acceptable condition.

The full City Council later approved accepting the half-acre parcel from Ferragamo.

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