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Dear Friends and Neighbors,  

 

On Wednesday, I voted in the affirmative on H4707, the Affordable Homes Act. This major piece of legislation would authorize $6.2B in bonding to address our housing crisis and seek to make housing more accessible and affordable in our Commonwealth. It is important to note that this legislation is a bond bill. This means that it is legislation that authorizes bonds to be issued to fund housing, not an immediate deposit to the initiatives.  

Beyond statewide programs, the bill also authorizes bonding allocations for local projects: The bill authorizes $3M to the Needham Housing Authority for construction costs associated with the redevelopment of affordable public housing units on Linden Street. The Needham Housing Authority’s Linden Street apartments are over 60 years old and in dire need of replacement to provide safe, well-designed, and affordable housing for seniors and disabled residents. The funding provided from this bill will help preserve and renovate the existing 152 units and build an additional 95 units to meet the demand for affordable housing. The bill also includes a line item that would expend $15M to Medfield State Hospital for hazardous materials remediation. The Medfield State Hospital is undergoing a redevelopment that would create 334 new units, 25% of which will be affordable. The funding will help remove the hazardous materials from the Hospital buildings established over a hundred years ago. The bill funding will grow housing in our district to maintain and provide affordable housing for our community.  

Notably, the housing bond bill authorizes a record amount to fund critical housing program, including: 

  • $2B for public housing renovations, remodeling, and reconstruction, redevelopment, and hazardous material abatement. 
  • $800M for the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which creates and preserves affordable housing for households whose incomes are not more than 110% of area median income 
  • $200M for housing assistance for individuals with special needs, veterans, elders, and domestic violence survivors. 
  • $150M for cities and towns to convert commercial properties into residential housing 
  • $150M for sustainability and decarbonization initiatives in public housing projects 
  • $50M for a new MassDreams program to create first-time homebuyer opportunities for households in Disproportionately Impacted Communities 

In addition to these funding authorizations, the bill puts forward several new policies aimed at improving accessibility in housing, including: 

  • $60M to modify homes of individuals or families with disabilities or seniors so that they may maintain residency or return home from institutional settings.  
  • $20M to establish a veterans supportive housing program to develop and preserve supportive housing for veterans and their families experiencing homelessness 
  • Veterans’ Preference Local Option: Would authorize a municipality to opt-in to a policy that would designate 10% of inclusionary zoning units for veterans. 

To view a full overview of the housing bond bill, click here 

This legislation will assist cities and towns across the Commonwealth to keep up with the growing demand of housing. It is our goal to make Massachusetts an affordable place to reside. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.  

 

Yours in service, 

Denise  

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