By: Jason Desrosier, Manager of Community Building & Engagement
For the past 38 years, Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation (ABCDC) has been dedicated to opening doors for Allston Brighton residents. Our various program areas strive to make the neighborhood a thriving community and to create opportunities for individuals to achieve their personal dreams.
Our home buying program opens doors to homeownership and provides First-Time Homebuyer education and financial coaching for low-to-moderate income people, opening doors to individuals seeking to stabilize their family’s financial situations. The housing development program is focused on stable, affordable rental housing by creating and preserving housing throughout Allston Brighton, a neighborhood that’s been feeling the effects of high rents and limited homeownership opportunities. Our community building and engagement program opens doors to personal and political power for local residents by mobilizing and supporting new voices for community leadership. Our resident services program opens doors to stable and secure housing for the 505 households within ABCDC properties by providing high quality affordable rental housing and case management services.
Recently, we have found doors closing on neighborhood residents. Graduates of our class for first-time homebuyers can no longer afford to purchase in the neighborhood, with even condominiums beyond the reach of many residents. Waiting lists for subsidized housing in the neighborhood are growing, and we have witnessed the shrinkage of the subsidized housing stock over the past two years. Our housing development efforts have been stymied by exorbitant acquisition costs, as new construction costs on average $500,000 per unit in a Boston multifamily project.
We recently revisited the Rising Rents, Closing Doors report that was originally published back in 1999 to assess the housing market in our neighborhood. Now 20 years later, the price of housing in Allston Brighton is more expensive than ever. The major findings of the study are:
- In the past 2 years alone, rents for family-size units have increased by 30%
- For a family to afford a monthly rent of $2,800 and not pay more than 30% of its income in rent, a family would need to earn $110,000 a year.
- Allston and Brighton have in general a low homeownership rate, at around 10% for Allston and 22.5% for Brighton, compared to a 36% homeownership rate citywide in Boston.
- The median sales price for a single-family home is about $740,000, whereas two and three-family homes are well into the $1-1.4 million range.
Rising rents have led to closing doors for renters, homeowners and homebuyers. Allston Brighton CDC is working with neighborhood residents to find ways to re-open doors for those who call Allston Brighton home.