Senate Passes Housing Bond Bill

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
MASSACHUSETTS SENATE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133

Senator Joan B. Lovely
State Senator
2nd Essex District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 29, 2018

Senate Passes Housing Bond Bill

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Senate voted to pass S.2368, “An Act financing the production and preservation of housing for low and moderate income residents” (Housing Bond Bill). The bill is a result of a session long collaboration between the Senate and House with a focus on preserving and producing the state’s affordable housing stock.

“Massachusetts must do better to provide affordable housing to its residents,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “This bond bill will support the development of affordable housing for low and moderate-income residents across the Commonwealth. As long as one family remains unable to afford adequate housing, our communities suffer.”

“This bill authorizes up to $1.8 billion in bonds for the rehabilitation, modernization and production of housing across the state and expands several tax credits to encourage the development of housing,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “The high cost of housing across Massachusetts strains family incomes and local businesses. These investments are an important step to create more affordable, livable communities, support a growing, healthy economy and expand access to quality housing for everyone.

“Providing high-quality, affordable housing for our constituents is one of the most important issues that we face as a Commonwealth,” stated Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem), Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “It is important to our workforce, our economic future and our residents’ health and well-being. This bill is a positive step forward and I look forward to our continued work to address housing affordability and production.”

In spite of other strong economic indicators, Massachusetts is in desperate need to further develop affordable housing. The housing shortage has placed the State in the bottom tier of housing affordability and rents have risen to third highest in the nation. “Our affordable housing shortage has placed the Commonwealth’s financial health at risk,” said Housing Committee Chairman Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop). “The Housing Bond bill is the first step toward ensuring Massachusetts develops enough affordable housing to support both its workforce and its economic future.”

The Housing Bond bill authorizes $1.8 Billion in investments in the preservation and production of affordable housing across the Commonwealth.

“The Housing Bond bill we passed today reflects our commitment to providing housing that is affordable to the vital and diverse workforce that is fueling the Commonwealth’s economic growth,” said Senator John Keenan (D-Quincy), Chair of the Senate Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets.

Critical authorizations include:

• $600M for the modernization and redevelopment of the State’s public housing stock;
• $400M for the development and preservation of affordable and mixed income housing;
• $125M for the preservation and improvement of existing and expiring use affordable housing;
• $100M for the preservation and development of workforce housing;
• $65M for community based housing for individuals living with mental illness or disabilities;
• $60M for home modification for elderly residents and those living with severe disabilities
• $50M to incentivize smart growth production and transit oriented developments;
• $45M for the capital investments in early education and out of school programs for low income residents.

The bill also extends and expands critical tax credits dedicated to incentivizing the development and modernization of the Commonwealth’s housing stock.

The bill will now be reconciled with a version passed by the House of Representatives.

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