Paul S. Grogan and Karen E. Kelleher urge residents of the Boston area to “get more involved locally” to encourage construction of multifamily housing. (“Four things the state must do to ease the housing crisis,” Opinion, Nov. 26.)

People in Newton are doing just that, through the formation of a group called Engine 6, named after an attempt to get housing in an old fire station. Engine 6 strongly endorses the Northland proposal to build 800 apartments on Needham Street, which is scheduled for a vote in the City Council on Monday (Dec. 2).

In 2018 the median sales price of a house in Newton was $1,176,000 — far out of reach for most families. Newton needs more rental apartments to provide housing for people who can’t afford to buy a house in the city.

Most Northland apartments will be rented at market rate, but because of an inclusionary zoning ordinance approved by the City Council, 17.5 percent of them will be reserved for families with low or moderate incomes. Inclusionary housing doesn’t mean a thing if the council fails to approve the market-rate housing need to support the affordable units. On Monday, the Newton City Council can, as Grogan and Kelleher write, make a strong commitment to “more diverse housing and more affordable housing.”

Doris Ann Sweet

Engine 6 Steering Committee


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