Where Kristen Stands

Development / Housing

Click candidate questions below to view Kristen’s replies

Just Cause Eviction | Do you support the Just Cause Eviction legislation (AKA the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act) currently under City Council review, and if elected to the Council will you vote to support it? — Candidate Question from Fenway News

I am in support of the overall purpose of the Just Cause Eviction legislation in defending, preserving, and promoting stability of housing and neighborhoods in the City of Boston and maintaining diversity in our communities. We need to ensure that we have affordable low- to middle-income housing across Boston and that, in the event of an eviction, there is a just and fair process. Over the past two decades, I’ve been both a Boston renter and homeowner and I believe that there needs to be a balance of rights. A tenant should have the right to not be unexpectedly or wrongfully displaced and owners should have the right to manage their properties given the financial risks of ownership.

Historically, many of those evicted have been lower-income earners whose lives are greatly impacted by the loss of affordable housing. We need to work on creating more affordable housing and rent-to-own opportunities to put residents in better control of their housing situations. Losing neighbors to displacement destroys the fabric of our communities. Residents who contribute to their neighborhoods are what makes Boston so strong. We need to give our citizens the ability to maintain those tight community connections.

I’ve studied the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act in present form and am in agreement with the need to create legislation that addresses eviction situations for owners with seven or more residential rental units, as well as owner-occupants of multi-family dwellings and Section 8 federally subsidized housing. The bill covers nine reasonable scenarios for legal eviction including failure to pay rent, violation of lease terms, or creating a nuisance or damaging the property.

While this act is supported by Mayor Walsh, it is important to note that this is a Home Rule Petition that must be approved by the City Council and then the State Legislature. In its current state, I believe that the act needs further study. However, we still have the opportunity to strengthen it to meet the desired intentions, while still protecting the rights of renters and owners. We must ensure introduction of new protections and not duplicate ones that already exist in other areas of city or state government. For example, one of the act’s new provisions which ensures that tenants and former homeowners are aware of their rights under state law may be already covered by case management and eviction prevention programs provided by the Mayor’s new Office of Housing Stability.

As your Boston City Councilor, I would continue to support our residents and would look forward to voting for an improved version of the current legislation.

What will you do to increase the quality and quantity of affordable housing for extremely low income households in Boston? — Candidate Question from Rosie’s place

Creating more affordable housing throughout all neighborhoods is a top priority for me. Boston has 53,000 units of affordable housing, which comprises 19% of the housing stock in the city. That’s far too low given the current high demand for low- and middle- income housing. It is important that we identify affordable housing buildings that are at risk of expiration and use Federal, State, and financing resources to preserve these sources of housing. I support creating a new stock of mixed income homes that meet the needs of both families and individuals. I will demand that our local universities build more student housing so that we can free up neighborhood housing for non-students. I will work with community partners to create opportunities for rent-to-own and co-op housing so that residents have more opportunity to increase their prosperity, invest in their neighborhoods, and strengthen community. Boston’s population today is 675,000 and in 1950 it was 800,000. We have different housing needs than 70 years ago, so we need to work together to solve our housing problem with a thoughtful and strategic master plan that includes smart building innovations. We need to be sure that the plans we put into place now meet our housing volume and clean energy needs of the future.

In your option, what should be the top intervention for eradicating homelessness? What will you do to improve and expand services to meet the unique needs of women experiencing homelessness in Boston? — Candidate Question from Rosie’s place

My family is a longtime supporter of Rosie’s Place, as we are in absolute alignment with your mission.

Organizations such as yours are extremely valuable support systems for women in need. I believe that we need more low-income affordable housing so that once an individual or family gets back on their feet, they can rely on a stable housing situation. I will focus on workforce development for our homeless population. We need to provide opportunities for our residents to participate in career planning and gain skills that the employment market demands. Also, I support providing financial coaching so that homeless residents have a road map for the stages of getting to a more depend- able set-up for themselves.

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