| by Kenneth Chase | No comments

Decreasing affordable housing options in Chinatown


LUXURY TOWERS ARE RISING. IN THE MIDDLE ARE RESIDENTS. NICK KNOWS CHINATOWN. AND CHINATOWN KNOWS HIM.>>I HAVE BEEN ON THE BOARD OF
THIS COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER,
THE BOARD OF THE CHINESE
CONSOLIDATED ASSOCIATION, THE
NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL. THE FOUNDATION BOARD. I WAS ON THE ASIAN AMERICAN —
TWO TERMS. ANTHONY: HIS FAMILY HAS OWNED
THE PHARMACY SINCE 1977.>>WE ARE IN EXISTENCE BECAUSE
OF OUR SERVICE, TO THE IMMIGRANT
POPULATION. MOST OF OUR PATIENTS ARE OF LOW
INCOME BACKGROUND BECAUSE OF OUR
ABILITY TO BE BILINGUAL AND
EXPLAIN TO THEM EVERYTHING. THAT IS WHY WE HAVE SO MANY
PHARMACIES. ANTHONY: EVENTUALLY HE LEFT AND
OPENED TIGHT TONGUE REALTY. MOSTLY IMMIGRANTS.>>IT HAS BEEN CHANGING. THE PEOPLE HERE FOR A LONG TIME
WASN’T OUR RENTERS. THEY HAVE ENOUGH MONEY, THEY
START BUYING MORE PROPERTY IN
QUINCY OR MALDEN BECAUSE OF
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. ANTHONY: HIS — HE HAS SEEN
CHINATOWN GROW AND RENT RISE.>>THE ONE BEDROOM AVERAGES
$1200 TO $1800 FOR TENEMENT. IT IS IN GOOD CONDITION BUT NO
AIR CONDITIONING, NO HEAT, NO
NICE KITCHEN. IT IS VERY BASIC. THE HIGHER-END THINGS ARE $2300
AND UP A MONTH. THE AVERAGE INCOME OF RESTAURANT
WORKERS AROUND $15,000 A YEAR. IT DOESN’T WORK.>>WE KNOW CHINATOWN —
ANTHONY: SHE KNOWS THE NUMBERS
PERSONALLY. SUZANNE PROVIDES TRANSLATION.>>SO IT IS A WORKING-CLASS
FAMILY. I WORK IN THE RESTAURANTS AND MY
WIFE DOES THE HOUSEKEEPING. SO RIGHT NOW WE ARE PAYING ABOUT
HALF OF WHAT I EARN IN RENT. ANTHONY: SHE WORKS WITH THE
CHINESE AGGRESSIVE ASSOCIATION
TO FIGHT FOR MORE AFFORDABLE
HOUSING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. KAREN IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.>>ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUE WE
HAVE BEEN SEEING IN THE LAST 10
YEARS AROUND HOUSING, BECAUSE WE
SERVE A LOT OF IMMIGRANT
FAMILIES, JOBS, ECONOMIC JUSTICE
IS A HUGE ISSUE BECAUSE IT GOES HAND IN HAND. ANTHONY: ACCORDING TO THE LEGAL
DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND,
SINCE 2000, LOW INCOME HOUSING
DECREASED 50% WHILE MARKET RATE
HOUSING INCREASED 146%>>. IN THE LAST 18 YEARS OR SO
CHINATOWN’S HOUSING STOCK HAS
DOUBLED. WE HAVE A LOT MORE HOUSING THAN
WE USED TO, BUT THE BULK OF IT
IS LUXURY. ANTHONY: IN BOSTON DEVELOPERS
WHO BUILD MORE THAN NINE MARKET
RATE UNITS ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE
13% OF THOSE UNITS SET ASIDE FOR
AFFORDABLE HOUSING. DEVELOPERS CAN ADD MORE IF THEY
CHOOSE TO DO SO.>>
15% AFFORDABLE BUT THE OTHER 85%
ARE LUXURY. YOU WILL COMPLETELY CHANGE KIND
OF LIKE THE TYPE OF HOUSING THAT
IS AVAILABLE. THE CITY IS TRYING TO INCREASE
WHAT IS CALLED THE INCLUSIONARY
DEVELOPMENT POLICY. REPORTER: DEVELOPERS CAN PAY
TOWARDS A FUND THE CITY USES TO
CREATE MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING. THIS COUNSELOR PRESENTS
CHINATOWN.>>WE ARE ASKING HOW IT IMPACTS
THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF CHINATOWN
QUALITY OF LIFE OF THE CURRENT
RESIDENTS, WHAT IS THERE AN
OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD MORE
HOUSING FOR NEW RESIDENTS FOR THE IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY? CAN WE GIVE THE IMMIGRANT
OPPORTUNITY THE OPPORTUNITY TO
STAY IN BOSTON? ANTHONY: THE METROPOLITAN TOWER
HAS UNITS THAT ARE BOTH
AFFORDABLE AND MARKET RATE AND
AFFORDABLE THREE-BEDROOM UNITS
CAN BE SIX AND A DOLLARS — JOHN
B $1600 A MONTH. COMPARE THAT TO THIS ONE WHICH
IS $4800 A MONTH. AND DEMAND STILL EXCEEDS SUPPLY.>>MY NAME IS MEI.>>I USED TO LIVE IN ONE OF THE
SIDE STREET IN CHINATOWN. THEN WE GOT EVICTED BECAUSE THE
LANDLORD WANTED TO SELL THE
BUILDING. I HAVE BEEN APPLYING EVERYWHERE
AND I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR 10
YEARS. I AM ALWAYS ON THE WAITING LIST
AND THEY NEVER HAVE ANY
THREE-BEDROOM. ANTHONY: THE FIGHT AGAINST
DISPLACEMENT IS AN ONGOING
BATTLE.>>GET RESIDENTS TO GO OUT AND
PARTICIPATE IN PUBLIC MEETINGS,
MOBILIZE PEOPLE TO COME OUT AND
SAY WHAT DO WE THINK OF THIS. ANTHONY: AS WE SAID THE CITY
REQUIRES MOST NEW DEVELOPMENTS
TO HAVE 30% AFFORDABLE UNITS OR
PAY INTO A HOUSING FUND. ED FLYNN PROPOSED RAISING THE
REQUIRED PERCENTAGE TO 18% AND
HE WOULD LIKE TO SEE DEVELOPERS
CONTRIBUTE REGARDLESS OF HOW
MANY UNITS THEY BUILD. THE NEED FOR A PORTAL HOUSING IN
CHINATOWN IS REAL. — AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN
CHINATOWN IS REAL. 4000 APPLI

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