MADAM MAYOR

ON THE ISSUES

 I’m proud of the work we have done in the five months I’ve been Mayor. Crime is down, children are heading safely back to school, we’re keeping people in their homes and over 70% of Boston residents are vaccinated.  

But we are just getting started. Today, I am announcing my HEART Agenda: five tenets that have guided my time in City Hall and the policies that I plan to implement over the next four years. The HEART Agenda – Housing, Education, Accountability, Recovery/Resiliency, and Transportation – will deliver a more equitable and prosperous Boston for every resident.

This vision is driven by my deep love for my city and my focus on the people of Boston. As a daughter of Roxbury and the South End, I understand the challenges so many of our residents are facing – from structural racism, food, and housing insecurity, failing schools, and faltering public transportation, hurdles to homeownership, and fear for our family’s and neighbor’s safety – because I have lived them. And as a mother, grandmother, and longtime advocate for children, I know what it takes to make a better Boston for the generations to come. 

Those experiences inform how I govern, and how I lead our City, through a lens of equity, justice, and love for every resident of Boston. I’m looking forward to continuing this work, in partnership with you, during a full term.

Thank you, 

Mayor Kim Janey 

Housing is a top priority for Mayor Janey because she has experienced housing insecurity first-hand. Growing up, she spent time in a shelter and lived in Section 8 housing. Her great-grandparents were also forced to sell their home as the South End gentrified, robbing them of the ability to create generational wealth. As Mayor, Janey put in place a ban on evictions in Boston after the federal moratorium was overturned by conservatives on the Supreme Court and announced a Foreclosure Prevention Fund of $5 million. She launched the Boston Rental Relief Fund, a $50 million fund to prevent displacement of Boston residents impacted by the pandemic, earmarked $30 million to support the creation of housing for families, seniors and currently homeless residents and invested $2.4 million into the Boston Home Center’s First-Time Homebuyer Program. This commitment quadrupled the average amount of assistance previously offered by the City to income-eligible, first-time homebuyers – raising it from $10,000 to $40,000. Her 10-year “Housing Equity for All” plan will double the rate of affordable housing creation to meet the growing demand and address the racial wealth gap by increasing opportunities for homeownership.

 

Education has always been a core part of Mayor Janey’s life. She was born into a family of educators and knows first-hand the importance of quality education in lifting children out of poverty and preparing them to achieve all they can in life. As a single mom, Mayor Janey fought to ensure her daughter had access to quality education, then used those skills to help other parents do the same over three decades as an educational advocate and City Councilor. As Mayor, Kim designed a first-of-its-kind Boston Children’s and Youth Cabinet to serve all youth in the city aged 0-24. She allocated $4 million in her budget for 5,000 youth summer jobs, 1,000 school year jobs and $16.9 million to provide a social worker and family liaison in every school.  During the pandemic in the Spring, Mayor Janey safely got all students wanting and able to return back to in-person learning and was one of the first big-city Mayors to implement a mask mandate to protect students and teachers returning this fall. She also supported changes to the entrance requirements for Boston exam schools to make them more equitable and appointed two highly qualified Latina leaders to the Boston School Committee – including the first Spanish-only speaking member.

Accountability has been an important part of Kim Janey’s time in the mayor’s office.  She moved quickly to fire the police commissioner after an independent investigation of allegations of domestic violence arose, funded and launched the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency, and increased the cadet class to diversify the police force. Unlike previous administrations, Janey released internal affairs documents in the Patrick Rose case and provided additional resources to make City Hall more responsive to public records requests. Janey has also taken steps to address the city’s abysmal record of contracting with minority and women-owned firms. She’s moved aggressively to address the longstanding substance abuse and homelessness issues in the areas around Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, and in just one week, her team helped 55 people get shelter and other services, while making 34 drug-related arrests in the area.

 

Recovery/Resiliency has been a central focus of Mayor Janey’s work. She took over during a global pandemic and has worked with the city’s renowned healthcare leaders to ensure the health and safety of all Boston residents. Thanks to her leadership, Boston is one of the most vaccinated big cities in America with over 70% of residents having at least one shot. That did not happen by accident. It happened because she invested $3 million in a Vaccine Equity Grant initiative, launched the multi-lingual Hope Campaign encouraging residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and implemented priority and mobile vaccination clinics. She worked with employee unions and workers to implement a vaccine mandate for all City of Boston employees and worked with businesses to implement an indoor mask mandate. And she invested millions of dollars to support our small businesses and help them reopen and recover from the impacts of the pandemic. That includes recently announcing $10 million in new funding for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and the Small Business Relief Fund 2.0.

Boston is a coastal city, and we have an obligation to meet this moment and respond with urgency to the threat of climate change, as underscored by the IPCC report. With federal resources, we have an opportunity to act swiftly to protect our waterfront, map heat islands, increase tree canopies and reduce the use of fossil fuels. We must lead on climate resiliency and environmental justice. This is why Mayor Janey withdrew the Harbor Plan, and it is why she is also looking at action in other neighborhoods. She knows that we must embed climate resilience, equity and environmental justice into the City’s development process. We must increase waterfront resiliency in the face of more rapid sea-level rise and increase in storm threats, expand access to the waterfront for all residents, put forth zero-emissions requirements for any new development, maintain economic vitality during and after the proposed redevelopment and increase green space. We also know that buildings and cars are our biggest drivers of carbon emissions. We need to address this through emissions requirements, the inclusion of multi-modal transit and electric vehicle infrastructure. This planning is key to leading on environmental action and represents a turning point in the way Boston responds to the threats of climate change.

 

Transportation is an issue near and dear to Kim Janey’s heart. Mayor Janey doesn’t own a car, and has relied on buses – 14, 19, 23 and 28 – after the Orange Line was stolen from her community in the 1980s. As a single mother, she took those buses every day, struggling to get her stroller up and down the stairs. Mayor Janey believes transportation is an economic opportunity issue, a climate issue, and a racial justice issue. As Mayor, she announced a pilot program to support employees of five Main Street Districts by offering nearly 1,000 free Charlie Cards, and two free months of Blue Bikes passes. She has called on the MBTA to restore service to pre-pandemic levels, and to set a transparent schedule. Mayor Janey also dedicated more than $1 billion to improving streets and sidewalks all across the city. And as Mayor, Kim Janey has put her long record of standing up for transit equity into action by implementing a fare-free 28 bus that connects the important economic corridor of Mattapan Square, Grove Hall and Nubian Square. 

 

Kim Janey’s HEART Agenda for Boston

 

Housing

Mayor Janey’s 10-year Housing Equity for All plan will help build a Boston that is more affordable, equitable and increases opportunities for homeownership.

  1. Requiring new housing to be racially equitable and transit-accessible
  2. Re-envisioning and expanding public housing 
  3. Expanding funding for affordable housing
  4. Providing fair housing, tenant protections and landlord supports
  5. Reimagining the BPDA as an agency that puts affordability first

 

Education

Mayor Janey’s Educational Excellence plan will ensure that every child, regardless of neighborhood, has access to a high-quality public education.

  1. Supporting universal early education and affordable childcare
  2. Bringing our school facilities into the 21st Century
  3. Ensuring all students have access to mental and behavioral health services
  4. Supporting our teachers, including safely getting back into the classroom
  5. Closing the digital divide and opportunity gap

 

Accountability

Mayor Janey is committed to bringing accountability and access to City government by reimagining policing, ensuring equity in contracting, and increasing citizen engagement.

  1. Reimagining policing
  2. Increasing access to city contracts
  3. Ensuring citizen engagement is at the front of every City Hall action
  4. Delivering vital services to address the opioid crisis
  5. Making city government more transparent and accountable

 

Recovery/Resiliency

Mayor Janey’s five-point Covid Recovery plan has enabled Boston to be one of the most vaccinated big cities in the country, kept us safe, allowed our children and teachers to get back to school, and prepared Boston for an equitable economic resurgence.

  1. Getting vaccines to every neighborhood in Boston
  2. Ensuring our children and teachers can safely return to the classroom
  3. Helping businesses grow during the pandemic
  4. Working with our local hospitals and health experts to keep Boston safe
  5. Making the investments needed to fuel Boston’s economic resurgence

 

Mayor Janey’s Climate Resiliency plan will prepare Boston for a sustainable future and allow us to lead on environmental justice.

  1. Increase waterfront resiliency
  2. Put forth zero-emissions requirements for any new development
  3. Increase electric vehicle infrastructure
  4. Increase and protect green space
  5. Bolster multi-modal transit

Transportation

Mayor Janey’s Transportation Equity plan will transform Boston into a more accessible, affordable and climate-friendly City.

  1. Investing in fare-free transit service
  2. Working with our state partners to improve public transit
  3. Putting justice and climate concerns front and center
  4. Building safe and accessible streets and sidewalks
  5. Encouraging transit-oriented development

I was born into a family of educators and know, first-hand, the importance of a quality education in lifting children out of poverty and preparing them to achieve all they can in life. Like many Boston parents today, my parents fought for me; sending me first to an independent school created by the Jewish and Black communities when their children were not being well served by the Boston Public Schools. And later, enrolling me in the Reading Metco program when the tumultuous years of forced busing proved inadequate in providing the quality education they sought. 

These solutions were available to my parents but no parent should have to work around the system. Instead, Boston Public Schools can and must provide a quality education for all students, at every age. I spent most of my career, first as an education advocate and then as a City Councilor, fighting to ensure that this promise of public education was kept. 

As your Mayor, I’ve hit the ground running, tackling issues affecting our children, teachers and schools. 

As Mayor, I have already: 

  • I designed a first-of-its-kind City of Boston Children and Youth Cabinet, serving all youth in the City of Boston aged 0-24. I will personally Chair this Cabinet using my years of experience as an advocate for children and their education. 
  • In the FY22 Budget, I allotted $4 million for 5,000 youth summer jobs and 1,000 school year jobs.
  • In the FY22 Budget, I proposed $16.9 million to provide a social worker and family liaison in every school, building on last year’s investment to build a coordinated, multi-tiered system of support for students and families.
  • I ensured access to the COVID-19 vaccine for BPS employees and contractors.
  • On May 17, all students wanting and able to return to in-person learning five days per week returned to school. 
  • In the FY22 Budget, I provided funding for an additional 20 daytime custodians to ensure cleanliness and sanitation of school facilities as buildings reopen. 
  • I am taking steps to ensure that over the summer, an indoor air quality sensor will be installed in every classroom.

The COVID-19 crisis has revealed and exacerbated long-standing racial inequities in the availability and affordability of healthcare in our community. By focusing on recovery, reopening and renewal, we can build a more equitable, more just and more vibrant Boston.

I couldn’t be more proud of our city and our successes in my tenure as mayor, which include:

  • Increasing the number of community-based and mobile vaccine clinics, with the help of our clinical partners.
  • Creating appointment vouchers and a vaccine hotline for individuals struggling with the online vaccine appointment system.
  • Launching the Hope Campaign, a multilingual public awareness campaign to encourage residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Launching a $1.5 million Vaccine Equity Grant to support organizations increasing vaccine access and awareness through direct, in-person outreach, public awareness efforts, wrap-around support, and direct clinical support.
  • Doubling our initial investment and adding an additional $1.5 million to the Vaccine Equity Grants for a total of $3 million to organizations increasing vaccine access and awareness to the most vulnerable groups.
  • As of June 28, fully vaccinating 54.1% of eligible Boston residents, administering first doses to 61.3% of eligible Boston residents, and fully vaccinated over 75% of our senior population — which is one of our most vulnerable groups.
    54.1% of eligible residents are fully vaccinatedBuilding on the work of the COVID-19 Health Inequities Task Force to address the health inequities exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • Calling for Health and Human Services, Emergency Services, and the Policy departments to develop a pilot that will better serve and respond to emergency response calls involving a mental health crisis.

As Mayor, it is my job to protect the lives and livelihoods of Boston residents and businesses. I respect and appreciate the guidance and information from national and state health entities. But I will always be looking at Boston-specific data, studying trends and numbers carefully, and working with my staff to ensure that we are making the right decisions for our city.

After we have successfully tackled COVID-19, we must continue to address persistent disparities. In a city known for the excellence of its hospitals and medical professionals, it is unacceptable that the life expectancy in parts of Roxbury can be as low as 59 years (among the lowest in the world) while in Beacon Hill it stands at 92 (among the highest). MassHealth’s Accountable Care Organization program, in which 17 health care organizations partner with 27 community partners who understand specific community-based health challenges and support health-related social needs, is a start.

We have to keep working to make Boston a city that works for everyone. As your mayor, I will continue to invest in:

  • Community health centers as they expand their reach through community schools.
  • Mental health services, particularly those that deal with trauma.
  • Drug treatment and recovery support programs.

But we must always remember that health cannot be separated from other socio-economic factors. We have to make sure we are addressing the growing income inequality in our city – that families have an opportunity to earn a real living wage, be in safe housing they can afford, and that their children have opportunities to attend great schools.

Boston remains one of the most expensive cities in the United States to live in, and too many of our neighborhoods are segregated by race and income. It is getting harder and harder for working families – especially those who earn too much to qualify for a subsidy, but don’t make enough to pay market rent – to stay in our city. They are being squeezed out. We need to ensure that our housing mix includes additional workforce housing for working families of moderate income and increased homeownership opportunities.

As someone who has experienced housing insecurity firsthand, I know how crucial this is. As a child, I lived in a shelter for a week, then bounced around to friends and family. My family was pushed out of their home from a gentrified South End in the 1980s, robbing them of the opportunity to create generational wealth. As a single mom, my first apartment was a Section 8 apartment.

Those life experiences have guided my tenure as mayor to date, where I:

  • Announced the Boston Rental Relief Fund, a $50 million relief fund to prevent displacement of Boston residents impacted by the pandemic.
  • Invested $2.4 million into the Boston Home Center’s first-time Homebuyer Program. This commitment tripled the average amount of assistance previously offered by the City to income eligible, first-time homebuyers.
  • Began the first phase of the redevelopment of the BHA Mildred Hailey Apartments to renovate 253 public housing units and create 420 new income-restricted units. The project will also construct a new community center and outdoor plaza.
  • Released funding RFP of $30 million to support the creation of housing for families, seniors, and currently homeless residents.

I’m committed to ensuring affordable housing for every Boston resident, that allows them to stay in the city they grew up in, and invites young families to put down roots. This is not just another campaign policy issue for me — it is something that has deeply impacted my life and the lives of my family members for six generations in Boston. Whether it is public housing, Section 8 vouchers, homelessness, or the loss of generational wealth due to gentrification – we have lived the housing challenges that so many residents are struggling with today. That is why I am supportive of efforts to implement community stabilization strategies that will increase cost certainty for our city’s tenants. And I do believe local control is important on all issues, so I support state legislation that would allow cities and towns to decide for themselves how to control rising housing costs.

My administration is working with housing advocates to improve the Inclusionary Development Policy, address displacement and capture the silver lining of development. We are looking into lowering the 10-unit threshold to increase the stock of affordable housing and opportunities for family-sized housing. While we can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach in looking at what the right percentage for IDP is, we must ensure the IDP requirement is one of our many tools to address displacement, inequity, and affordability. I will commit to ensuring the affordability levels of IDP units better reflect the area median incomes of our neighborhoods. I also see IDP as a tool to increase homeownership for working families and to close the racial wealth gap.

My administration will also work to revise and reform development processes in the City, leaning on and prioritizing the needs of the community, to ensure neighborhood planning proactively leads and informs development, building on affirmatively furthering fair housing assessments, to ensure community planning and needs determine outcomes before developers’ financial interests.

We stand together, at this moment in Boston’s history, in a position of strength. We are a global hub of innovation for the life science, medical and research sectors. We have wonderful neighborhoods to call home. We have institutions in higher education and health care, in finance and consulting, in the arts and technology, that are setting the standards in their fields. We have a municipal government that has guided us through a global pandemic and sustained a AAA bond rating throughout. And, our most important asset: the people of Boston. We are a diverse, dynamic and resilient community, driving Boston forward.

And yet, the pandemic revealed what many of us already knew — that for all our greatness, we are also a city of great inequity. The income inequality gap is widening, with many people of color and immigrants left out of opportunity and pushed out of their communities. We have an enormous wealth gap. The median net worth for Black families is just $8. And $8 is not an accident. It’s the product of discriminatory policies that we have all inherited. We need to call it out. And we need to implement new policies to address it.

As we move forward, we must ensure an equitable recovery for every resident of Boston. As we look to our successes, we have to recognize that there is much more work to be done.

As Mayor, I have already:

  • Announced a plan for the restoration of critical in person services for constituents at City Hall, BPL, and BCYF.
  • Expanded commercial rent relief and small business support by an additional $16 million.
  • Launched the B-Local app to support local businesses.
  • Provided 152 arts and cultural organizations with grants totaling $487,000 through the Boston Cultural Council,
  • Introduced the Main Streets Free Public Transit Pilot Program, which provides free Blue Bikes and Charlie Cards to employees of the Main Streets Districts.
  • Established a five-member, full-time Supplier Diversity Team.
  • Hired the City’s first Director of Strategic Procurement.
  • Created the Boston Contracting Opportunity Fund to help increase capacity for City contracts in Minority, Women, and Veteran-Owned Businesses.
  • Made the Malcolm X Park renovation project an Equitable Procurement Pilot Project.
  • Expanded funding for the All-Inclusive Boston Campaign, which stretches across multiple sectors of economic development and neighborhood tourism.
  • Began a cross-departmental Equitable Procurement Swat Team with representatives from the Procurement, Licensing, Economic Development, Equity and Inclusion, Policy, and Senior Staff departments.

To keep moving our city forward, and create real equity and fairness, I will continue to:

  • Encourage the establishment of small businesses owned by women and people of color through temporary lease subsidies to lessen the impact of excessive startup costs and by providing access to the various phases of city purchasing and contracting.
  • Provide vocational training so all individuals have access to the skills and knowledge necessary to find work and support themselves in the City of Boston.
  • Enforce the Boston Residents Jobs Policy and strengthen its requirements and penalties.
  • Increase financial literacy and promote awareness of existing resources to improve economic well-being for all.

Boston has always been a city of possibilities. COVID-19 has reminded us that our entire community is connected. When we do what is right for those who are left out, when we create shared goals and shared solutions, everyone is better off. Now is the time to move Boston forward, together. 

Every resident of Boston should feel safe in their home. Every child should feel safe walking to their school. No grandmother should ever be or feel unsafe simply sitting on her porch. Effective community policing is essential to making this a reality, and so are programs that address the root causes of violence.. As mayor, I will always emphasize crime prevention alongside responsible intervention strategies, and I will hold police accountable for improperly exercising their authority. I will push to reform our local criminal justice policies to ensure that poor communities of color do not bear the brunt of harsh penalties for minor offenses. I will also continue to protect civil liberties and privacy, ensuring that our residents are not subject to intrusive camera surveillance.

I strongly believe:

  • Our police force must reflect the community and work closely with that community to build trust. That is why I am expanding the cadet program this year, investing in racial equity training and continuing to emphasize diversity in our hiring.
  • Our police force must always be held to the highest standard of accountability and transparency. That is why I have appointed Stephanie Everett to lead the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency and released the files that have been held secret for far too long — when police thought it was better to protect one of their own than children who were sexually abused.
  • Our police force must focus on the work of public safety. They are not trained to be mental health professionals. That is why I am piloting a program to shift mental health calls from the police department to a team specifically trained for that purpose.

But we must also invest in comprehensive violence prevention and intervention strategies, particularly those focused on our young people and families affected by trauma. That is why as Mayor of Boston, I have already:

  • Called for Health and Human Services, Emergency Services and Policy departments to develop a pilot that will better serve and respond to emergency response calls involving a mental health crisis.
  • Directed the Department of Neighborhood Development to provide relocation support for victims of violence so that they did not have to stay in the place where the violence occurred.
  • Named Stephanie Everett as Executive Director of the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency and increased its staffing.
  • Signed the Chemical and Kinetic Weapons ordinance regulating the use of crowd control agents and kinetic impact projectiles.
  • Released the Patrick Rose Internal Affairs files, while prioritizing the protection of the victims’ identities.
  • Continued to make decisions that increase accountability and transparency in the Police Department at all levels of leadership.
  • Increased the size of the cadet class, bringing on 20 diverse officers and ensuring safety in our neighborhoods while reducing the need for overtime from our existing officers.
  • Stopped a proposal that would create a vast surveillance network in the City Boston, protecting residents’ privacy, civil liberties and freedom to live their lives.

I grew up in Roxbury, a neighborhood rich with immigrants from all over the world — like my nana, who was a first-generation Guyanese American woman. Early on, I recognized the importance of welcoming folks who are just arriving here — whether from another town or another country. And as Mayor, I think it is critical thatyou feel welcomed, seen, and served in Boston, whether your family has been here six generations or six months.

I have committed myself to this work throughout my entire professional career. As an education advocate, long before I ever ran for office, I worked with Spanish-speaking mothers in East Boston who had immigrated from Central and South America to successfully obtain a dual language school for their children in their community. I then led similar efforts in the Haitian community — which is the second largest language group in Boston Public Schools — to fight for their children’s ability to learn.

First on the City Council and now as Mayor, I have worked to ensure that our immigrant communities are fully served in the City’s recovery, reopening and renewal. That includes:

  • Launching the Hope Campaign, a multilingual public awareness campaign, encouraging residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine — meeting people where they are and where they feel safe. This strategy is working, decreasing infections in almost every neighborhood.
  • Announcing $3 million in Vaccine Equity Grants that increased access and outreach to the immigrant population;
  • Raising funds — both municipal and private — for the Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund, which will ensure full funding through the end of the year and begin planning for Phase 2.
  • Expanding Language Access resources for residents to access city services.
  • Launching the third round of the Digital Equity Fund to help residents with digital skills and technology access, prioritizing communities most impacted by the pandemic, including ESOL and ELL students.
  • Supporting our English language learners with dual language programs as we get kids back to school safely and return to in-person learning.
  • Standing in support of legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to legally and safely obtain their Massachusetts driver’s license or a municipal ID.
  • Expanding capacity for the Immigrants Lead Boston program.
    Increasing support for immigrant fellowships during the summer Youth Engagement and Employment program.

This is personal to me. I grew up — and my grandkids are growing up — in communities that been the industrial and environmental dumping grounds of our city. When we’re talking about climate justice, this is what we need to talk about: racial justice. And for too long, we have seen the ways in which poor people and communities of color get the short end of the stick. It’s no wonder we see higher rates of asthma and other health issues in those communities. We need to accelerate our efforts around environmental justice, expand our green jobs pipeline and achieve our shared goal of carbon neutrality.

As mayor, I am actively fighting the environmental racism that leads to food deserts, heat islands, air pollution and their life-threatening health impacts. I am supporting the burgeoning clean energy economy that bolsters our public transportation system and protects communities of color from pollution. I am also increasing access to green space and community gardens. As mayor:

  • I was proud to appoint Reverend Mariama White-Hammond as Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space for the City of Boston;
  • I stood with the residents of East Boston to oppose the planned Eversource substation,standing up for environmental justice.
  • I am protecting residents from extreme urban heat by addressing the need for more urban canopy while improving existing and developing new cooling spaces.
  • I am connecting the young people of Boston to green jobs, environmental education and climate justice opportunities with a $4 million allocation for the Green Jobs program.

This is an issue near and dear to my heart. I do not own a car. In my case, I have relied on buses — 14, 19, 23 and 28 — because the Orange Line train was stolen from my community. As a single mother, I took those buses, struggling getting the stroller up and down the stairs, day after day. This is a racial justice issue, a climate justice issue and an economic justice issue. I stand with environmental and transportation equity advocates to make our public transit system better for all workers and families.

While we need to keep the pressure on our State partners to fund and manage a public transit system that works for its riders, as Mayor I’m not standing pat. That is why as I have:

  • Announced a pilot program to support employees of Boston’s five Main Street Districts (Nubian Square, Three Squares JP, Mission Hill, East Boston, and Fields Corner) by offering nearly 1,000 workers in these districts free Charlie Cards, pre-loaded, and two free months of Blue Bikes passes.
  • Called on the MBTA to restore service to pre-pandemic levels.
    Called on the MBTA to set a transparent schedule and communicate about the return to service.
  • Dedicated over $1 billion to improving streets and sidewalks all across the City.