LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time To Increase the 10% Requirement For Affordable Housing in Framingham

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FRAMINGHAM – I was a member of the Fair Housing Committee of the Town of Framingham till it became a city.  I tried several times for a discussion on raising the 10% requirement of affordable housing, how to have rent control ETC.  To no avail. 

I have been attending the Fair Housing and Civil Rights Conference for the last 10+ years.  Two words reverberated at the conferences and all follow-up discussions – “Redlining” and “Affordable”.  

It came up again and again as to how the rentals are not affordable and the 10% requirement doesn’t even scratch the surface. And how rentals were denied to people of color. 

An example of how rentals were denied to people of color -particularly Blacks. They would be told that no rentals were available and there is a waitlist of 1+ years.

A technique popularized by some  MITians is the “Par Testing”.  A person of color – a Black, would go into an apartment complex to rent a unit. She will be told “Not Available” and that there is a waitlist of 1 year. She will leave the rental office and go back to her car. Then a white”ally” will make her entry. Ask to rent a unit. She will be shown around and when back at the rental office, the lease papers will be brought out for her to sign.  At that point, we made a reentry with the black family. A negotiation followed – first 3 months free and subsequent rentals reduced by 15% with the Black family retaining her rights to file a complaint with the MCAD. 

If one were to be engaged in anti-racism in the housing sector, this is a way how you do it. On the ground. Not just platitudes. 

With the Black median income at $40,258 and Hispanic at $50,486, (see attached), a 9 month pause on developing luxury and super-luxury apartments with super high rents will adversely impact these two communities? And did I hear that the approx waiting time to access affordable units is 10 years ?
Racial oppression leads to economic oppression. The  above two communities are constantly juggling their priorities between housing, multiple jobs, health care, children’s schooling ETC . 

The planning during the moratorium should look into how to increase the 10% requirement of affordable housing and /or fund 100% affordable housing units, pass anti-eviction ordinances, examine how to “Rent Control” , ETC 

Dhruba Sen

District 6



email: editor@FraminghamSource.com call or text at 508-315-7176

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