Eighty Percent Of Boston’s Chinatown Residents Stressed about Housing


High rents are primarily to blame for tenants in Boston’s Chinatown feeling insecure about their housing situation, according to a new report from MIT and the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA).

The Boston Real Estate Times reports80% of Chinatown residents surveyed for the study report feeling anxious about their housing.

Forced from Home is based on a representative survey of residents in Boston’s Chinatown.

It found close to 80% of tenants had no information about their rights; 40% of surveyed households had no formal lease; and nearly 60% of those evicted were served only a verbal notice.

“Boston’s Chinatown faces a crisis that we see in cities around the world, with skyrocketing rents due to relentless growth, speculative real estate transactions, lack of adequate protections for tenants, and a serious lack of affordable housing,” says Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Associate Professor at MIT and Director of the DRAN, according to MIT’s website. “This is a human rights crisis although many fail to see it that way. The most vulnerable residents in our cities bear the brunt of displacement, and we need to move to a more people-centered approach to urban development that works for all residents.”

Chinatown has seen an increase in luxury residential developments, short term rentals and large institutions due to its close proximity to downtown Boston.

“Chinatown residents are disproportionately elderly and 40 percent of families have children but we are losing this working-class core,” says Karen Chen, Executive Director, Chinese Progressive Association. “Being displaced means not only loss of housing and increased stress, but also loss of social networks, multilingual social services, access to nearby jobs, a voice on issues that impacts our lives and much more.”

The report, which can be found on MIT DRAN’s website, recommends legislative and policy measures that the city of Boston could take to address the drivers of unconstrained growth and protect vulnerable groups.

MIT’s Displacement Research Action Network (DRAN) in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) conducted the study.

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