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Newton OKs new trust to help support affordable housing across city

Newton officials have approved a new trust intended to support affordable housing development in the city.

The trust, which was proposed about a year ago, will allow the city to set aside money in order to buy property or invest in the development of affordable housing, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said in a statement.

More than 120 cities and towns already have similar trusts in place. Newton’s trust was approved Dec. 6 by the City Council, following months of discussion between the mayor and the council’s Zoning and Planning Committee, Community Preservation Committee, and Newton Housing Partnership.

Newton’s trust will be primarily funded from the city’s Community Preservation Act, according to Fuller. The Community Preservation Committee targets 35 percent of its annual funding — about $1.6 million — for affordable housing projects, and this funding will be transferred to the trust.


Funds for community preservation are collected from a property tax surcharge, and are used for land or historic preservation, outdoor recreation facilities, and affordable housing.

Advocates familiar with similar trusts in other communities have said a major benefit is that a trust can respond more quickly to the real estate market.

Newton’s new trust is expected to begin work next year with the appointment of a seven-member board of trustees, according to Fuller.

The board will include the city’s mayor, a city councilor, a representative of the Community Preservation Committee, and four residents with expertise in affordable housing development. A staffer from the city’s Planning Department will assist officials in administering the fund, Fuller said.

John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.