Letters: Status quo isn’t working

October 5, 2018
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As someone who grew up in working class Lower Roxbury/ South End in the 50s and 60s, I can remember a time when housing costs were not a major factor in finding apartments to raise families. In comparison to other necessities at that time, there was no crisis in finding apartments at decent rents.

However, that was then and not now. Living on East Springfield Street over a half-century ago, rents were reasonable for working families. Supermarket prices also pretty inexpensive too. I recently viewed an old photo taken back around 1970 of the First National Store opposite Holy Cross Cathedral. Back then, folks with cash hadn’t discovered how great the neighborhood was. All of us there liked the neighborhood. It was relatively safe too. Oh, back then, rents about $35 or $40 per month plus utilities.

Today walking down East Springfield Street near Mike’s City Diner, these rowhouses are now renting for about $2,500 per month and don’t even how much you can purchase these buildings for today. You can’t afford any of them.

I live in East Boston today where the so-called building boom is at hyper-speed just like Southie’s Seaport was. Walls of high-rise, high-end luxury living blocking the harbor from the neighborhood. Along with this waterfront housing boom comes the trickle down boom as apartments and homes have been sold, restored or whatever. Rents keep soaring and house price zooming into space as well.

If you don’t own in East Boston today, you are not long for this once affordable neighborhood. Same goes pretty much across the city as I write this down. According to a new piece of research just published in the Boston Globe, about 64 percent of all sold luxury apartments or condos are going to part-time Bostonians or investors. Real Bostonians whether old or new are likely frozen out of this housing boom that our elected officials constantly gloat about.

Little by little, Boston is turning into a city of extreme living, the very rich and the very poor. Middle class homeowners don’t know what to do as the boom keeps booming. Boston needs to become a livable city again across the board.

Our politicians have taken their eyes off the mark. They think the current Building Boom is working but in reality, is it? Are you safe in your home now? Are you one rent hike away from moving out and where can you go?

The status quo isn’t working and we need to re-look at how Boston is booming and see all those folks getting boomed by this boom. How can we grow as a diverse community of people? We need to do more than we are currently doing because we have no other choice.

Sal Giarratani

East Boston resident