LISTEN LIVE: Loading...



Evictions In East Boston: How Can Boston's Housing Be More Affordable?

A view of Maverick Square in East Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A view of Maverick Square in East Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
This article is more than 7 years old.

Part four of our special four-part series, “Evictions in East Boston.”

All this week, we've discussed skyrocketing rents, neighborhoods being transformed and a little-known ripple-effect of the massive changes in Boston's housing market.

On Monday, we heard from housing advocates and tenants who believe East Boston is the epicenter of an eviction crisis.

"That's unjust, they put us in this situation. We didn't ask to leave our homes, especially in the way they through us out," evicted tenant Olga Pasco told us in Spanish. "They're dislocating a lot of people, because they've realized — how do I put this? It's a gold mine."

On Tuesday, landlords and developers weighed in, saying changing eviction laws could undermine Boston's economic growth.

"It is going to be an absolutely nightmare and it will chill the market in Boston and send us back to the dark ages of rent control," said Greg Vasil, CEO of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board.

And Wednesday, we looked to San Francisco's Mission District to learn what happens when stronger eviction laws are in effect. Longtime Bay Area residents and city officials told us they're at risk of losing the San Francisco they love, without immediate action on deeper, lasting solutions.

Now we're turning the conversation to our listeners --you've been emailing and tweeting us all week about this and we want to hear from tenants, landlords, students, everyone.

Are we in the midst of an eviction crisis? What do you think of a "just cause" eviction proposal? What is the role of government as the region undergoes rapid transformation? How do we promote growth and prevent displacement simultaneously? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


Chris Herbert, managing director at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. He tweets @ceherbert.

Justin Steil, assistant professor of law and urban planning at MIT.

Sheila Dillon, chief of housing and director of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development. She tweets @SheilaADillon.

More In This Series

Evictions In East Boston: The Push For A ‘Just Cause’ Ordinance

  • "They threw us on the streets without compassion. They knew we were human beings, but nothing mattered to them. That's unjust. They put us in this situation. We didn't ask to leave our homes, especially in the way they threw us out."

Evictions In East Boston: Landlords On What A ‘Just Cause’ Ordinance Would Mean

  • "Landlords say the proposal to regulate evictions for 'just-cause' creates 'de-facto rent control,' and that it would have disastrous effects including, 'housing deterioration, no new housing construction, death of small property ownership, destroying neighborhoods.'"

Evictions In East Boston: Housing Lessons From San Francisco

  • "There’s really only one long-term solution, which everyone from city officials, tenant advocates and housing economists agreed upon. San Francisco has to build its way out of its rental crisis."


Harvard's Joint Center For Housing Studies: America's Rental Housing

  • "Rental housing is home to a growing share of the nation’s increasingly diverse households. But even with the strong rebound in multifamily construction, tight rental markets make it difficult for low- and moderate-income renters to find housing they can afford. As a result, the number of cost-burdened renters set another record last year. Addressing the challenge of affordability in a time of rising overall demand will require greater efforts from both the public and private sectors to expand the range of rental housing options."

The Boston Globe: Boston To Double Affordable Housing Fees For Developers

  • "Developers will have to pay nearly double the current fees to put up luxury buildings in Boston’s hottest neighborhoods, with the money going to expand the city’s stock of affordable housing, according to an executive order to be signed Wednesday by Mayor Martin J. Walsh."

This segment aired on December 17, 2015.


Listen Live