The nation’s cities are in need of a greater supply of affordable housing and increasingly worried about the loss of federal support to fund those efforts.
Those are two of the findings from a survey conducted by the Boston University Initiative on Cities which conducted interviews with 115 mayors from across the country, the vast majority of whom said it was crucial to create and build more housing alternatives for their residents.
The Menino Survey of Mayors, named in honor of the late Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, shows some 51 percent of responding mayors pointing to housing costs as the number one reason people have moved out of their cities.
Regionally, the survey also revealed that while 47 percent of the mayors in the Northeast and Midwest had a generally positive view of the available housing stock in their cities, only 6 percent of the mayors in the West felt the same way.
Although Democrat and Republican mayors disagreed over the issue of improving housing stability for renters, with 24 percent of the Democrats and 4 percent of the Republicans in favor, roughly a third or more of the mayors in both parties wanted to see an increase in the availability of affordable multi-bedroom units.
Just under a third of the mayors in both parties thought it was important to modernize and replace their cities’ older housing stock.
A summary of the survey notes that “in the face of federal cuts, mayors are looking to a range of sources to make up for shortfalls.” Those sources, according to the mayors, may mean the imposition of either new state or local taxes, with the latter being “the most promising way to fund water infrastructure and bike/pedestrian improvements.”
By Garry Boulard
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