Chamber News

May 02, 2019 Likes Comments

Chamber launches public awareness campaign to promote housing


The Newton-Needham Regional Chamber launched a public awareness campaign that calls attention to how Greater Boston’s housing shortage has created a hiring crisis for local businesses and nonprofits.

“Finding and keeping workers has become a full-blown crisis,” said Greg Reibman, president of the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber. “Our businesses are having trouble filling everything from high-salary tech and life sciences jobs to hourly workers for hotels and restaurants. In some instances, we’ve even seen businesses curtail hours or move because of this worker shortage. “

The centerpiece of the chamber’s campaign is a video produced by NewTV’s Another Age Productions, featuring business and nonprofit employers discussing how the housing shortage is impacting their success.

The chamber debuted the video at its annual Spring Business Breakfast on May 3, which also featured Robin Chase, co-founder and former CEO of ZipCar, and Mike Kennealy, secretary of Housing and Economic Development for Governor Charlie Baker, who spoke about the importance of housing development to the Massachusetts economy.

“This is the worst it has ever been for Dunn-Gaherin’s, basically we’re trying so hard to every day figure out how to find people to come to work in our operations,” Seana Dunn-Gaherin, proprietor of Dunn-Gaherin’s Food & Spirits in Newton’s Upper Falls, says in the video.

“Our hiring situation is critical,” adds Christopher Allen, general manager at the Boston Newton Marriott.

In a recent survey conducted by the chamber, 61% of its members said“attracting and retaining workers” is their number one business challenge. Workforce worries were even more pronounced for the market’s largest employers, with 89% of Newton and Needham businesses with 100 or more employees saying staffing will be critical to their 2019 success.

Newton is not hardly alone when it comes to a lack of adequate housing stock. According to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s (MAPC) Metro Mayor’s Group, the regional economy has created 148,000 new jobs, added 110,000 new residents but only permitted 32,500 housing units. But the problem is particularly acute in Boston’s inner western suburbs with Newton’s median price for a single-family home at $1.2 million.

As a result while 85 percent of Newton residents commute outside of Newton for work daily, another 89 percent of Newton-based employees commute in from outside for Newton-based jobs, according to a recent Economic Development Action Plan commissioned by the city.

“It’s important to have housing that matches market demand so that you can have workers in the region that are near the jobs that are available,” said Jim Damicis, senior vice president of Camoin Associates, the firm responsible for Action Plan.“If Newton does not support more residential development it will not be able to move the needle on commercial development.”

In conjunction with the campaign the chamber supports:

The creation of affordable multifamily housing units in Newton, Needham and surrounding communities to support the talent required to fill local jobs.

  • Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s commitment to develop 185,000 units of housing by 2030; and
  • Governor Charlie Baker’s Housing Choice Initiative that empowers cities and towns to plan for new housing production and propose legislative changes to deliver smart, effective zoning at the local level.

Another Age Productions is an Emmy® award-winning production company that specializes in producing corporate videos, television commercials, and original programs. Over the past six years, Another Age Productions has produced content for Fortune 500 companies such as TJMaxx and Biogen, and has earned 13 Emmy® Awards, 16 Telly Awards & 11 Communicator awards for its internationally distributed series, The Folklorist, Assassin Nation, and American Ruins. Another Age Productions also features a state-of-the-art, HD production facility, which includes a 1200 sq. ft. sound stage, a full equipped HD studio and control room, a 42-seat 4k screening room, an 11-station training center, four edit bays, and a podcast suite, all of which are available to rent.

“We really enjoyed producing this video for the Chamber because we gained first-hand knowledge of the passionate work the Chamber puts forth on behalf of the two communities it serves,” said Noreen Moross, executive producer and COO of Another Age.

Visit the chamber’s campaign webpage for more information on the awareness campaign.


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