Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh are teaming up to tackle Greater Boston’s housing crisis. The two mayors will work with representatives from 14 cities and towns in the region to meet booming housing needs as people flock to Boston and its surrounding areas.
“Our entire region is facing and must solve the same pressing challenge: Metro Boston’s affordability crisis and its limited housing stock. But the solutions cannot be one-size-fits-all, which is why this task force is so critical,” Curtatone said in a statement. “It will give us the opportunity to work together toward our common housing goals while tailoring solutions to our communities’ unique needs and tapping the brightest minds in our housing-related sectors to assist us in our work.”
The regional partnership will involve all the cities represented in the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition of Greater Boston—Somerville, Cambridge, Boston, Medford, Malden, Braintree, Brookline, Chelsea, Everett, Melrose, Newton, Quincy, Revere, and Winthrop.
The partnership aims to ramp up new housing production and lower costs, thereby giving residents greater housing stability, according to the statement. The Metro Mayors have pledged to build housing in areas that are pedestrian-friendly and near transit, make sure that new housing designs are accessible, and eliminate discrimination in renting and buying.
The group’s first step will be to use data surrounding economic forecasts, demographics, current housing stock, and more to create a goal and timeline for housing production throughout the 14-municipality region, according to the statement. The plan could result in changes to zoning and municipal policies, the statement says.
“Limited housing supply makes it very difficult for residents to find places to live, and means employers have a harder time recruiting and retaining workers. Housing has a significant impact on our region’s economic health and future,” Marc Draisen, executive director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, said in the statement. “And we need housing that works for a variety of household types and incomes, from renters to first-time homebuyers to families with children, empty-nesters, seniors, and those with disabilities.”
The housing partnership is not the first time Curtatone has looked to Somerville’s neighbors as project allies. Somerville’s bid for Amazon’s new headquarters stretches throughout Somerville, Cambridge, Boston, Everett, and Chelsea, according to the Somerville Journal.