On November 3rd, Senate leaders released a $3.67 billion plan for spending a majority of the state’s federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fiscal recovery funding. CHAPA thanks Chairman Rodrigues and the members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee for prioritizing $600 million towards affordable housing.
This Wednesday, the Senate will debate its spending plan (S.2564). We are currently working to strengthen the language of our current affordable housing programs while also expanding investments for housing rehabilitation, housing and eviction representation, and community based organizations’ outreach and emergency housing assistance efforts. We have proposed amendments to the spending plan in order to accomplish these goals. More details about the amendments can be found below.
Please call or email your State Senator today and ask them to co-sponsor the following amendments:
Please use the following updated script in your message to your State Senator:
Hello, I am [NAME] from [CITY or TOWN] in the Senator’s district. Housing is the single best investment Massachusetts can make to secure a healthy future for all. Substantial investments to support affordable housing production, preservation, and rehabilitation, public housing, homeownership, supportive housing, and a housing and eviction representation program are important for our recovery for the pandemic. I am requesting that the Senator support and sign on to co-sponsor the following amendments. [LIST THE AMENDMENTS BELOW]. Thank you.
As always, thank you for your advocacy and for your support of CHAPA’s priorities. If you have any questions, please contact Ryan Dominguez, CHAPA’s Policy Analyst, at 617-684-4713.
#257 – Housing and Eviction Representation Program
Sponsored by Sen. DiDomenico
Sen. DiDomenico’s amendment provides $12.4 million for housing and eviction representation for those at risk of eviction. Legal assistance will be provided by the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) to tenants and qualified landlords to improve equity in legal representation. Providing access to an attorney during eviction cases is proven effective at securing fair and favorable outcomes, preventing homelessness, reducing trauma, and creating stronger communities.
#270 – MA Healthy Homes Initiative
Sponsored by Sen. Keenan
Sen. Keenan’s amendment provides $25 million to support the rehabilitation of homes to address a wide range of health and safety issues, including lead paint removal, replacement of lead water pipes, elimination of mold and other health hazards. The Massachusetts housing stock is among the oldest in the country. These funds will help approximately 1,000 homes across the Commonwealth safe for families, children, and seniors.
#71 – Affordable Homeownership Opportunities
Sponsored by Sen. Crighton
Sen. Crighton’s amendment increases the homeownership financing investments for first-time homebuyers to $300 million. This investment expands resources for first-time homebuyers, including down payment assistance and access to mortgages, targeting those in disproportionately impacted communities.
#124 – Community Based-Organizations Grant Program
Sponsored by Sen. Gomez
Sen. Gomez’s amendment provides $5 million for a new grant program for community-based organizations to support outreach efforts about emergency resources and to assist households with applying for housing assistance. This will help communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 to access the state’s rental assistance programs and save people’s homes while also supporting property owners.
#142 – First Time Homebuyer Assistance
Sponsored by Sen. Cyr
Sen. Cyr’s amendment allows funds for homeownership assistance to be used for debt reduction programs, like for paying down student loans, in order to help first-time homebuyers. The amendment would help break down additional barriers to homeownership that can help lower mortgage interest rates and repair credit.
#265 – Replenishing Depleted RAFT Funds
Sponsored by Sen. Keenan
Sen. Keenan’s amendment creates a $20 million reserve to support the RAFT program. During the COVID-19 pandemic, RAFT has helped to prevent thousands of evictions and keep families stably housed. This amendment will ensure that RAFT will continue to assist eligible households with resources to prevent or end their housing instability and homelessness.
#192 – CommonWealth Builders
Sponsored by Sen. Collins
Sen. Collins’s amendment provides an additional $75 million for the CommonWealth Builders program to create more affordable homeownership opportunities for households with low- and moderate-incomes. This will build more homes to further reduce the racial homeownership and wealth gaps in Massachusetts.
#76 – Affordable Housing Production
Sponsored by Sen. Finegold
Sen. Finegold’s amendment provides an additional $75 million for creating new affordable rental homes in communities across Massachusetts. Together, this investment could create safe, healthy, and affordable homes for a more than 6,000 residents across the Commonwealth.
#65 – Supportive Housing Production
Sponsored by Sen. Moore
Sen. Moore’s amendment provides an additional $150 million for creating new affordable homes with supportive services in communities across Massachusetts. Together, this investment could create safe, healthy, and affordable homes with access to services for our most vulnerable residents, including survivors of trafficking/domestic violence, persons experiencing homelessness, seniors, and those with serious behavioral health or substance abuse challenges.