Walsh touts new city-funded rent subsidy program

Saying it's similar to the large Section 8 federal program, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Monday launched a new city housing voucher program, predicting it will provide rental assistance to hundreds of low-income city households whose needs are unmet by other housing programs.

Walsh included $2.5 million for the City of Boston Voucher Program (CBVP) in his fiscal 2021 budget to create the program, which will focus on vouchers tied to particular sites or developments. City housing and neighborhood development program officials have been working on the program's design in recent months with low-income renters, nonprofits, service providers, property owners and developers.

The Boston Housing Authority will issue a request for proposals from housing operators and developers interested in incorporating vouchers into their developments. Long-term contracts between the housing authority and property owners, similar to the Section 8 model, aim to ensure program stability.

"The first $2.5 million being advertised now by the BHA will get hundreds of homeless families with children in the Boston Public Schools off the streets and into permanent housing," Michael Kane, spokesperson for the City Rent Subsidy Coalition and the Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants, said in a statement released by City Hall. "We look forward to working with the BHA to implement and expand this program in the months ahead."