SO-CALLED "AFFORDABLE" HOUSING IS NOT ACTUALLY AFFORDABLE
The Brighton Allston Community Coalition advocates:
"The City of Boston should mandate that all new large residential developments in Allston-Brighton make 20 percent of their units affordable (instead of the now-required 13%)."
This may seem at first blush like a good thing to advocate for, but it's not. In fact, if Allston-Brighton ever actually had 20 percent of our housing units being affordable as defined by the City of Boston, it would continue to be the case that very many working class folks would be unable to afford to rent housing in Allston-Brighton and would be forced to leave a neighborhood in which previous generations of their family had long lived (which is what gentrification means). How come?
Here's why. As discussed in this very informative article about what "affordable" actually means for the City of Boston's government, a one bedroom apartment with 964 square feet that rents for $3,492 per month (equivalent to $41,904 per year) is "affordable." The reason it is "affordable" is because it could be rented by an individual with an income of $125,000 per year by spending only 34% of his/her income on rent.
This definition of "affordable" is an insult to working class people of Allston-Brighton. The median household yearly income in Allston-Brighton is only $51,656--not even half of the $125,000 it would take for a person to be able to "afford" this $3,492 per month rent. And many working class people earn far less than the $51,656 median. For example, janitors' income is on average only $29,000 and ranges from about $21,000 to $42,000--far lower than the median.
Furthermore, the City of Boston's government says this one bedroom apartment renting for $3,492 per month is affordable because the rent is not more than 35% of the income of somebody earning $125,000 per year, but the federal government uses the figure of 30%, not 35%, and so according to the federal government this apartment is NOT affordable even by somebody with a $125,000 income!
On top of all this, having only 20% of housing units being affordable (even if, contrary to the City of Boston's definition, they were TRULY affordable to working class people) would STILL mean that 80% of the housing units would remain unaffordable. Many hard working people in Allston-Brighton would STILL be forced out of the neighborhood. If they worked in Allston-Brighton they would be forced to live a long--often two hour--commute away. This is wrong!
Why does the Brighton-Allston Community Coalition [BACC] (and Liz Breadon, one of its founders and our new City Councillor) advocate for what clearly does NOT come even close to ending the gentrification of our neighborhood (i.e., the removal of our working class people and their replacement with wealthier upper middle class people)?
Working class people in our neighborhood know that the lack of affordable housing for all is due to the fact that we live in a fake democracy that is actually a dictatorship of the rich, and that to get affordable housing for all we need to do exactly what more than 1000 people in Allston-Brighton and more than 500 people in Brighton alone say they aim for: "To remove the rich from power to have real, not fake, democracy with no rich and no poor."
The leaders of the Brighton Allston Community Coalition are OPPOSED to building the kind of movement that can win affordable housing for all, even though more than two-thirds of the membership of the Brighton Allston Community Coalition joined that organization by signing a membership signup sheet (with their printed name and street address as well) saying that they hope the organization would declare that it is also for "removing the rich from power to have real, not fake, democracy with no rich and no poor."
In response to all these new members joining the BACC, the BACC's Vice Chair (Joanne D'Alcomo) and Chair (Kevin Carragee) declared that no member of the organization would be allowed to post anything to the BACC's email group if it even hinted at being wanting to remove the rich from power to have real, not fake, democracy with no rich and no poor. You can read the emails in which Joanne D'Alcomo said she was enforcing this censorship here (the section near the top of this long article that is red links to the relevant emails far below for your convenience.)
Why are the leaders of the BACC so opposed to the BACC advocating a real fight for affordable housing for all? Is it because they don't want to anger the rich and powerful? Is this why Kevin Carragee keeps reminding BACC members to act "civilly" and why their BACC Mission Statement says the BACC will act in "a civil manner"? Is it because they aren't really that concerned about people such as janitors having to leave the neighborhood? Is it because they know they, as upper middle class people, can afford to stay in Allston Brighton and they really are far more concerned with making it a nice neighborhood for THEM to live in than they are for making it a neighborhood in which less wealthy working class folks can live?