- The U.S. Conference of Mayors this week named Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as chair of its Community Development and Housing committee.
- Walsh will be tasked with helping mayors across the nation develop housing strategies and address community development challenges. "Housing is a key fundamental to my goal in Boston, and our goal as a nation: to create and sustain a strong middle class," Walsh said in a statement.
- Along with Walsh's appointment, Providence, RI Mayor Jorge Elorza and Allentown, PA Mayor Ed Pawlowski were named vice chairs of the committee, while Mesa, AZ Mayor John Giles was named vice chair for workforce housing.
Since coming on as mayor in 2014, Walsh has made significant progress in improving housing accessibility across Boston. When he first took office, the city launched its "Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030" report that outlined a goal to reach 700,000 residents through the creation of 53,000 new housing units, and by October 2017 more than 13,500 units had been completed.
Along with creating new units, Walsh has worked diligently to establish affordable housing and stabilize the housing market. Walsh was integral in the creation of a regional housing partnership to address needs across 14 cities in the Greater Boston area; he established a $10 million private donor fund to combat chronic homelessness; and just this week he introduced an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals to prevent home-sharing companies from monopolizing the area's housing market.
Some of Walsh's success may stem from the way the city folded housing into its Resilient Boston strategy, which defined "safe, affordable, [and] stable housing" as a way to reach equitable economic opportunity. Under Walsh's guidance, the conference mayors — which represent 1,408 cities with populations of 30,000 or more — will likely begin to perceive housing as a factor of resiliency as well, and may face similar successes as a result.