Mayor Walsh lays out vision to further support a strong middle class
Jan 15, 2019
Mayor Martin J. Walsh tonight delivered his fourth annual State of the City address at Symphony Hall, sharing historic progress made in the last five years in strengthening economic mobility, expanding opportunity, building affordable housing, and keeping Boston a safe place for all residents. In his address, Mayor Walsh reaffirmed his commitment to "make sure social progress and middle class opportunity grow together," and announced significant milestones reached in key initiatives to further these efforts, along with new ways to continue supporting this work.
"Boston is stronger than ever because we are drawing on more of our people's strength than ever. Our city's success is our motivation to aim higher, work harder and make sure every single person in our city gets a full, fair shot at the opportunities we are creating," said Mayor Walsh. "Let's never lose sight of how far we've come; how far-reaching our leadership has been; and how deep our obligation is now, to stand together and keep leading."
During his second inaugural address in January 2018, Mayor Walsh announced Boston's Way Home Fund to support the City's plan to end veteran and chronic homelessness. The fund had a goal of raising $10 million in private funds over the next four years in order to create 200 new units of supportive, sustainable, long-term housing for chronically homeless men and women. Only one year later, the fund has raised $5 million.
Building on his Administration's efforts to ensure equity, opportunity and resilience for Bostonians, Mayor Walsh has shared his legislative agenda, with bills related to economic mobility and housing security, transportation and the environment, education funding, and health and public safety. The agenda aims to create affordable housing and keep tenants in their homes; reduce violence and fight for social justice, expand the middle class; and invest in education for all students. For more information on the Mayor's legislative agenda, please visit: boston.gov/legislativeagenda.
In addition to his legislative agenda, Mayor Walsh announced new programs and initiatives to further support his Administration's work to bring opportunity to the entire city, and prioritize the health, safety and equity of residents.
We are making sure that social progress and middle class opportunity grow together. In his State of the City address, Mayor Walsh announced a Mobile Economic Development Center designed to strategically engage with residents on economic development policy around job training, business development, and placemaking and community economic development. In addition, he shared that JazzUrbane Cafe, a full service restaurant, entertainment venue, and community space has been selected to operate 7,800 square feet of street-level space in Roxbury's Bruce. C. Bolling Municipal Building.
We are committed to lifting people up, not locking people up. Over the last five years our police officers have taken over 4,100 guns off the street. Through partnerships with the community, we've put thousands of young people on pathways to opportunity. As a result, we've seen arrests come down by 25 percent, and our crime rate reduced by 25 percent.
We are welcoming more voices and expanding our democracy. Mayor Walsh announced that his Administration will reactivate the Human Rights Commission to provide a forum for Bostonians to address discrimination and secure the promise of equality. In addition, Mayor Walsh has appointed a Census Liaison to make sure that every resident of Boston is counted, because every resident of Boston counts. The Mayor will sign an executive order to require all City employees be trained on how to recognize and correct disparities in city services.
We are committed to leaving no one behind. In Boston we've created more affordable homes than any time on record. We'll create 1,000 new homeowners in the next five years by building more affordable homes and providing more financial help. We've housed over 1,600 chronically homeless people. A year ago we launched the Boston's Way Home Fund and set a goal of raising $10 million over 4 years for supportive housing. After just 1 year, we have already raised $5 million.
We are a community for every generation. The City will revamp and rename the Elderly Commission office to be the Age Strong Commission, to reflect the City's efforts to make Boston inclusive, accessible and positive for people as they age. The Commission will serve our seniors' needs and draw on their tremendous strength.
We are not just surviving, we are thriving. Under Mayor Walsh's leadership, the City of Boston is rebuilding roads and bridges, making our streets work for bikes and buses, opening parks and investing over $100 million in libraries all across our city. In Boston, smart fiscal management has unlocked historic investments—while keeping homeowner taxes the lowest in the state. The City is investing $28 million in Boston Common and $28 million in Franklin Park. In addition, the Mayor more than doubled the building budget for schools—with over $300 million already spent on brand new schools, major renovations, energy efficient roofs, boilers, windows, and modern furniture. Another $800 million is on the way.
Please find Mayor Walsh's 2019 State of the City remarks as prepared for delivery here.