Massachusetts House Approves Sweeping Housing Bill

The Massachusetts House has approved their own version of a comprehensive housing bill. This bill aims to build upon the legislation proposed by Gov. Maura Healey last year, which was intended to increase the construction and renovation of affordable housing.

The House bill in Massachusetts includes $6.5 billion in bond authorizations, tax credits, and policy initiatives. These are meant to increase housing production, make affordable housing development easier, and protect existing public housing.

The bill does not include a proposal by Healey that would allow cities and towns to approve taxes on expensive property sales. The money from these taxes would be used to fund affordable housing.

House Speaker Ronald Mariano, who is a member of the Democratic Party, stated that the House bill includes significant investments in affordable and middle-income housing. These investments, which also cover important housing infrastructure, would be the largest in the history of the state.

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“Massachusetts is one of the most expensive states in the country to buy a home or rent an apartment. The bill’s funding and tax credits are important to help make sure that everyone in Massachusetts can afford to live, work, and raise a family here,” he said in a statement.

The bill includes $1 billion to expand the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority water system. This investment is important for encouraging housing development outside of the greater Boston area, according to supporters.

One important feature of the bill is that it allows for the construction of a small additional housing unit, called an accessory dwelling unit, on a property in single-family zoning districts in all Massachusetts communities. This unit can be up to 900 square feet in size and can be built without needing special permission. The bill also includes a new program worth $150 million to assist municipalities in converting commercial properties into residential or mixed-use properties with multiple units.

Renters’ advocates argue that the bill does not provide sufficient support for those at risk of losing their homes, such as rent stabilization and foreclosure protections.

“The housing crisis in Massachusetts has reached a critical point. While a 30-year strategy to build more affordable homes is necessary, it won’t provide immediate help to those facing eviction and foreclosure,” explained Carolyn Chou, Executive Director of Homes for All Mass. This organization is a coalition of grassroots housing justice groups operating statewide.


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