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We have to go bold on housing. How about a new city?

June 21, 2022

Flat 9 Whittier

Anyone who lives in Greater Boston has a visceral feel for the housing crisis.

The fresh shock that comes with every check of the real estate listings. The flicker in the belly when it’s time to check the bank balance before the rent or mortgage is due.

The state gets credit for one recent, bold effort to address the crisis — a new law designed to push single-family-obsessed suburbs into allowing more multi-family development.

But much more needs to be done.

A couple of the most intriguing ideas don’t involve any construction at all.

One is direct cash assistance. We saw what it could do in the early days of the pandemic, when stimulus payments and enhanced unemployment benefits kept thousands of the region’s most vulnerable residents in their homes.

As the Boston Foundation has pointed out, that experience suggests that a permanent basic income of some kind could be one of the government’s best responses to the high cost of housing.

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