CHAPA’s Statement on the Housing Bond Bill

Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) applauds the Healey-Driscoll Administration for their historic proposal to invest $4 billion in affordable housing. The Affordable Homes Act is more than a housing plan; it is a statement of values.

Housing is the single best investment we can make for the future of Massachusetts. Governor Healey’s proposal builds on the new MBTA Communities Multifamily Zoning Law and the Housing Choice Act, to create affordable housing as communities put zoning in place for the 200,000 homes Massachusetts needs to stabilize home prices and rents. The Affordable Homes Act moves us forward in building 40,000 homes that are affordable for households with moderate incomes and 20,000 homes that are affordable for people with low and extremely low incomes. Creating homes for people across income levels will ensure that people, our communities, our economy, and our Commonwealth thrive.

The Affordable Homes Act proposes significant increases in funding for affordability, equity, and choice. This bill will create and preserve affordable and supportive housing; increase the supply of homeownership opportunities; invest in preservation, decarbonization, and redevelopment of public housing; increase accessibility for people with disabilities; expand housing diversity by allowing accessory dwelling units and investing in a social housing pilot program; expand tenant protections and long-term housing stability; enable communities to establish real estate transfer fees to fund affordable housing production, and make it easier for communities to require affordability as part of multifamily development. The Affordable Homes Act invests in our neighborhoods through support for community development corporations and financing the construction and renovation of early education centers that serve families with low incomes.

The Affordable Homes Act makes great strides towards a more equitable Massachusetts. Through the creation of the Office of Fair Housing, the state will support communities and state agencies to further fair housing so all communities are invested in and people have meaningful choices in where they live. Investments in CommonWealth Builder, MassDREAMS, and the creation of the Homeownership Production Tax Credit will increase the supply of homeownership opportunities and effectively narrow the racial homeownership gap by supporting people who have been kept out and left out of homeownership opportunities to achieve their homeownership goals.

The Affordable Homes Act will keep the state moving forward, building on the Commonwealth’s legacy of investing in affordable housing. New tools will expand the supply of deeply affordable homes so that shelters are a temporary place for people to be safe as they get the support they need to move into homes they can afford. By establishing a commission on senior housing and housing for people with extremely low incomes, creating a state housing plan, making receivership reforms, developing a seasonal designation for communities with tourism economies to meet their short and long-term housing needs, and creating a supportive housing pool fund to fund the services and coordination not funded through other sources, the Commonwealth will continue the work to develop policies and programs that will put Massachusetts on the path to a bright future where everyone can thrive.

CHAPA looks forward to working closely with members of the House and Senate as well as stakeholders from across the Commonwealth over the next several months to craft a final bill that will ensure that every Massachusetts has access to a safe, affordable home in the community they choose. We invite our members, partners, and affordable housing supporters to join us in advocacy to get the final bill across the finish line.

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