Less than three months after announcing a new initiative to combat homelessness, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Tuesday that private businesses have already kicked in more than $3 million in donations toward the effort.
That’s a third of the way toward Walsh’s goal of raising $10 million for Boston’s Way Home Fund — a city initiative he announced at his January inauguration that would subsidize rental housing to those most in need, coupled with services to help build life skills.
The initiative, which would be funded by private organizations, received an initial $250,000 boost from Bank of America. Walsh announced a new $1 million donation from Liberty Mutual; $1 million from Suffolk Construction; and a combined $1 million from Mass General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Partners Healthcare.
“Housing our growing city isn’t just about what government can do, or what the market can do. It’s a responsibility we all take together,” Walsh told a crowd of business and civic leaders Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, a city watchdog group.
Boston’s mayors, including Walsh’s predecessor, Thomas M. Menino, have often used the Research Bureau’s annual meeting to announce platforms and initiatives, and Walsh Tuesday called on many of the state’s power brokers to unite behind his effort to advance Boston’s middle class and most in need.
Walsh said the city has made advances on a national stage, recruiting new corporations and jobs to Boston, though he continues to prioritize education, job training, and housing for all residents.
Walsh announced new targets to meet housing needs “that reflect our growing population,” and he said the city has partnered with other communities in a regional housing plan “that will finally address the full scope of the housing shortage in Greater Boston.”
The new initiatives include an effort to upgrade public housing units in the city; to better regulate short-term rental units so the city can protect its housing stock; to work with colleges and universities to build new dorms; and to develop city-owned land with new, affordable housing.
He said the Boston’s Way Home Fund, in partnership with the Pine Street Inn, will sustain the city’s efforts to end chronic homelessness.
“We have to move forward together,” the mayor said. “In fact, there’s no bigger challenge facing our nation today than building an economy that works for everyone.”