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