City Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty joined Boston Herald Radio’s “Morning Meeting” program to talk about gentrification in Roxbury and his thoughts on rent control:
Q: You can really see how passionate people are about this issue.
A: It’s not just a Roxbury issue, it’s a citywide issue. We’re having an affordable housing crisis. I see it firsthand in my own neighborhood where men and women I grew up with and family members ... get priced out. That’s our middle class. We’re becoming a city of the very rich and the very poor and we need advocates to capture the middle to make sure that we’re creating enough affordable housing and enough workforce housing, enough housing for middle class.
Q: You talked about rent control.
A: We need to do something. What we’re doing now, it’s just not putting a dent in the problem. We are creating affordable housing, our mayor has set some pretty lofty goals and he’s meeting and in some instances is exceeding the goals around affordable housing. It’s kind of good news/bad news. We think about Boston and how it’s thriving. ... We boast the best colleges and universities in the world, the best hospitals and health care system, we talk about innovation, technology and the life sciences — everyone wants to come here. That’s the good news. The bad news is that people that live here and have made the city the great city that it is ... are being priced out. ... So we need to do a better job at trying to at least keep those folks in the city or we’re just going to see ourself Manhattan-ized. ... If we don’t fix this problem we may have to revisit a conversation around rent control. When you see one- and two-bedrooms, $4,000 and $5,000 for rent or threes going for six or seven, that’s insane, we just can’t keep pace with that.