$1.8 Billion Housing Bond Bill Signed into Law
On May 31, Governor Charlie Baker signed the $1.8 billion Housing Bond Bill (H.4536) into law. The legislation, the largest housing bond bill in the state's history, will increase the production of affordable housing, diversify the state’s housing portfolio, modernize public housing, preserve the affordability of existing housing, and invest in new, innovative solutions to address Massachusetts’ rising demand for housing.
The bill authorizes $1.8 billion in new capital spending over the next five years for the production and preservation of affordable housing for low- to moderate-income households, supportive housing, and housing serving vulnerable populations. It expands tax credit programs that support affordable housing, including the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the Community Investment Tax Credit, and the state Historic Tax Credit. It also extends the Brownfields Tax Credit and the Housing Development Incentive Program. Finally, it re-authorizes the Early Education and Out of School Time Fund, which supports quality early education centers for children.
The Governor signed the bill in Brighton at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg House, a development by Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly. For a copy of his press release, click here.
“The housing bond bill expands opportunities for children, seniors, people with disabilities, and families at risk of homelessness to find safe, healthy, and affordable homes,” said Rachel Heller, chief executive officer of Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association. “This legislation is the result of strong partnerships among advocates, the Legislature, and the Administration who worked together to pass the bill. As one of the first bond bills filed and passed this session, the Housing Bond Bill demonstrates that creating and preserving more affordable housing is a top priority in the Commonwealth.”
CHAPA sincerely thanks the Governor and his administration, including Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Secretary Jay Ash, and Undersecretary Janelle Chan, the Legislature, and all advocates who helped pass this legislation.
Particularly, thanks to the bill sponsors Rep. Kevin Honan and former Senator Linda Dorcena Forry; Senate President Harriette Chandler; Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo; Housing Committee Co-Chair Senator Joseph Boncore; House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez; Senate Ways and Means Chair Senator Karen Spilka; House Bonding Committee Chair Rep. Tony Cabral; and Senate Bonding Committee Chair Senator John Keenan.
The Housing Bond Bill:
- State Low-Income Housing Tax Credit: Extends the state’s ability to commit $20 million per year in tax credits to affordable housing projects until 2025 and authorizes an additional $5 million per year in tax credits specifically to support preservation of existing affordable housing. Current law would cut the size of this tax credit to $10 million on January 1, 2020.
- Affordable Housing Trust Fund - $400 million: This program is a flexible tool to create and preserve affordable housing. It has been used to support of a variety of projects, including permanent and transitional housing for the homeless and for the rehabilitation of public housing. It also supports first time homebuyers through the ONE Mortgage program.
- Public Housing Capital Fund - $600 million: This program helps modernize and rehabilitate our state’s public housing stock. It allows local housing authorities to plan for capital improvements, renovations, abatement of hazardous materials, or to remodel homes for persons with disabilities.
- Early Education and Out-of-School Time - $45 million: Provides funding to non-profit child care programs licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care to renovate, acquire, or construct high-quality child care program facilities that serve low-income families and communities, fostering high quality child care environments that support positive outcomes for children.
- Capital Improvement and Preservation Trust Fund - $125 million: Assists in the preservation and improvement of existing privately owned, state or federally assisted affordable rental developments that are at risk of losing their affordability restrictions.
- Commercial Area Transit Node Housing Program - $50 million: This program encourages smart growth by producing homeownership and rental housing in mixed-use, commercial areas served by public transit.
- Community Based Housing - $55 million: Extends the Commonwealth’s goal of providing assistance to persons with disabilities in the least restrictive settings possible. The program provides funding for the development of integrated housing for people with disabilities, including elders, with priority for individuals who are in institutions or nursing facilities or at risk of institutionalization.
- Facilities Consolidation Fund - $65 million: Produces community-based housing for clients of the Department of Developmental Services and the Department of Mental Health.
- Home Modification Loan Program - $60 million: Helps persons with disabilities and the elderly make renovations to their homes through deferred payment or zero interest loans to ensure they can continue to live at home and avoid placement into more costly institutional settings, such as nursing homes.
- Housing Innovations Fund - $100 million: HIF supports the production of innovative and alternative forms of rental housing, including single person occupancy units, transitional and permanent housing for the homeless, shelters for survivors of domestic violence, supportive housing for seniors and veterans, and housing for substance abuse recovery. HIF projects almost always feature affordable housing units combined with support services for residents.
- Housing Stabilization Fund - $150 million: HSF provides funding for the acquisition, preservation, and rehabilitation of affordable housing, including foreclosed and distressed properties. HSF has helped finance family rental, elderly housing, single room occupancies, special needs housing, and a mix of homeownership and rental housing.
- Public Housing Demonstration Program - $50 million: This demonstration program allows public housing authorities to use innovative public housing finance tools to leverage new funds and partners to rehabilitate public housing and reduce ongoing capital costs.
- Workforce Housing Fund - $100 million: Workforce Housing Initiative run by MassHousing that targets individuals and families with incomes of 61% to 120% of Area Median Income.
- Community Investment Tax Credit: The CITC enables local residents and stakeholders to work with and invest in community development corporations (CDCs) to improve economic opportunities for low and moderate income households in communities across the Commonwealth. The Housing Bond Bill extends the CITC through 2025 and gradually expands the credit to $12 million.
- Brownfields Tax Credit: Extends the Brownfields Tax Credit for five years, which helps clean up environmentally distressed sites in Massachusetts.
- State Historic Tax Credit: Extends and expands the state Historic Tax Credit by $5 million to preserve historic buildings and put them to new use, including creating affordable housing.
- MassHousing Services: Expands MassHousing’s authorizing language to allow the quasi-public agency to provide contract administration, loan servicing, and other services to other states’ housing finance agencies.
- Housing Development Incentive Program: Extends the state’s ability to commit $10 million per year in tax credits to market-rate housing projects in Gateway Cities until 2024. Current law would cut the size of this tax credit in half, to $5 million, on January 1, 2019.
- Commission on Housing for Persons with Disabilities: Creates a special commission to study housing for persons with disabilities in Massachusetts.