Housing | Vote Kenzie Bok!
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A City with a Home for All

Housing Affordability

 

Kenzie cares passionately about making sure that Boston has homes for people from all walks of life, so she has devoted much of her time to working on affordable housing. She believes that a healthier housing ecosystem in Boston requires affordability at every income level. As a community organizer, Kenzie helped lead the successful Community Preservation Act campaign in 2016, which secured more funds for affordable housing. She then joined the board of Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA), which works to increase affordable homeownership opportunities. As Planning Co-Chair for Bay Village Neighborhood Association, she supported the fight against AirBnB’s utilization of Boston’s rental apartment inventory. And in recent years she has worked full-time in policy and planning for the Boston Housing Authority, creating and implementing plans to preserve Boston’s deeply-affordable housing stock.

 

Kenzie believes in a combination of housing strategies across the spectrum, including:

 

  • Adjusting the City’s Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) to encourage deeper affordability, more affordable units, more permanent affordability, and more units on-site in our downtown neighborhoods -- all within the constraints of what can be successfully financed.

  • Rigorous enforcement of new state and city laws in regard to AirBnB/short-term rental properties, in order to preserve more of this housing stock for long-term residents.

  • Further investment in programs -- like the new $3.8 million ONE+Boston mortgage pilot being funded with CPA money -- to increase access to affordable homeownership opportunities in Boston.

  • More “project-basing” of federal housing vouchers to keep more families and seniors in Boston. This strategy could be used, for example, to support the current grassroots efforts by local Beacon Hill residents to bring more affordable housing to Cambridge St.

  • Adjustments to mobile voucher payment standards that enable families to use them in a wider array of downtown neighborhoods.

  • Securing city capital funds to preserve Boston’s deeply affordable public housing despite federal disinvestment. These aging units give critical stability to Boston’s poorest families and are key to our fight against homelessness; with a waitlist of 40,000 families, we can’t afford to lose any of these units to physical deterioration.

  • Property tax accommodations and rent increase limitations for seniors to make it easier for them to stay in their homes on fixed incomes.

  • Seeking opportunities to use public land, and community land trusts, for the purpose of increasing access to stable affordable housing.

  • Legislation to make cooperative housing ownership and rental structures more viable.

  • Pushing the suburbs around Boston to do their part in housing creation.

  • Encouraging District 8’s hospitals to invest more in housing-based determinants of health.

 

Homelessness

 

Kenzie is deeply invested in ending homelessness. For several years, Kenzie has taught a “Justice in Housing” class to Harvard college students, mainly to those who help run the two university-affiliated homeless shelters in Harvard Square. Homelessness is the extreme result of a broken housing ecosystem, and so fundamentally related to the housing affordability solutions discussed above. The best answer to homelessness is a home. However, even as we work on systems-level solutions, homelessness represents an acute and immediate problem in our community, so Kenzie also strongly supports:

 

  • Increasing funds to support the 4000+ homeless students in the Boston Public Schools.

  • Better publicizing the resources available via 311 from the Emergency Shelter Commission

  • Continuing to fund a staff social worker and provide homelessness-oriented resources at the Boston Public Library’s Central Branch.

  • Ongoing support for the Women’s Lunch Place, Pine Street Inn, and other critical non-profit institutional partners in combating homelessness.

  • Dedicated resources for youth homelessness, including to support high rates of homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth.

  • Ending hospital discharges of homeless patients to the streets.

  • Policies based on heeding the voices of homeless people and giving them a role in institutional governance, as is practiced at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless.

THIS SITE IS MANAGED BY THE FRIENDS OF KENZIE BOK

Mailing Address: c/o CTE Kenzie Bok, PO Box 140385, Charles St Station

Boston, MA 02114

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