Boston City Council passed the Boston Resident Jobs Policy ordinance Wednesday afternoon, but failed to set a hearing date for the Jim Brooks Community Stabilization Act.
The Boston Resident Jobs Policy ordinance is an updated piece of legislation that aims to create more employment opportunities for Boston residents, minorities and women, according to Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s website.
Lisa Owens, the executive director of City Life/Vida Urbana, part of Right to the City Boston, said the city currently has a housing problem, where the community with median income faces “a major displacement crisis.”
“Our people are being moved out of our neighborhoods,” Owens said. “Our folks are being pushed out of the city because of unaffordable rents and luxury developments, and also because wages have been stagnant.”
Owens said the passing of the ordinance was a step in the right direction for the city.
“It’s a major victory for the city of Boston and it’s some momentum in terms of this larger displacement crisis,” Owens said. “At the heart of it, Boston people deserve to stay in our neighborhoods and in our city, and we deserve to be able to find work.”
Mela Miles, the lead organizer of the Greater Four Corners Action Coalition, said that the jobs ordinance will bring greater opportunities for people who are struggling to find work.
“For a long time, people of color and minorities were not able to access those jobs because they were just being surreptitiously shut out of them,” Miles said. “By passing this jobs policy, it increases the percentage of jobs that will go to people in the city, and so there will be more opportunities.”
Despite the passing of this ordinance, the Jim Brooks Community Stabilization Act remains in the Government Operations Committee without a definitive date for a hearing, according to Darnell Johnson, coordinator for Right to the City Boston.
The Stabilization Act is an emergency protection that would help protect renters and homeowners in Massachusetts from eviction without just cause, Johnson said.
“This is a simple legislation that says if you are going to evict, you at least need to let your resident know why, and also at the same time it’s a way for the city to collect data on what’s happening with evictions,” Johnson said. “Right now there is no mechanism in place for that.”
Johnson emphasized the importance of ensuring stable jobs for residents.
“If we can take the time to make sure that jobs stay here, jobs pay well and that residents have the security of being able to stay here, let’s make sure that housing is also there for them, and that we protect our homeowners who want to keep their rents low and want to hold on to community,” Johnson said.
Owens said although a hearing date was not set, the fight is long from over.
“We’re at the point where administration is now working with Councilor [Michael] Flaherty to schedule a hearing, and from all indications, we should get a hearing date in a couple of weeks,” Owens said. “Our job is to continue to put pressure on Councilor Flaherty and make sure that we get a hearing date.”
Azia Carle, 26, of Dorchester, attended the meeting as a private citizen and said she came to represent the residents of Boston.
“[I came] to support the changes in job policy, and to show that residents are still involved and care about the different housing initiatives,” Carle said.
Carle said she hopes the legislation will be properly upheld.
“I look forward to seeing how they plan on holding specifically developers to these standards and to these changes, and to incorporate more diversity into their workforce,” Carle said. “Also, I hope that this is a stepping stone to creating more stable jobs, where people can actually be paid livable wages in the city because the income disparity is just a force.”