Contact Your State Representative NOW to Strengthen the Economic Development Bill

Many of the affordable housing policies we’ve been advocating for this legislative session are now being considered as part of the Economic Development Bill (H.4879), which will be voted on this afternoon in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

We can further strengthen this Economic Development Bill by including four additional affordable housing amendments. Please contact your State Representative NOW and ask them to support the following amendments to the Economic Development Bill:

Amendment 82 - Right to Counsel in Eviction Cases 
Sponsored by Rep. Jon Santiago
This amendment creates a right to an attorney for low-income residents facing eviction because of COVID-19. Massachusetts will face a tsunami of eviction cases and widespread displacement when the moratorium ends. Creating this right to counsel will help the thousands of residents who could not pay their rent because they lost their jobs or been impacted by the virus.

Amendment 126 – Economic Mobility for Low Income Families
Sponsored by Rep. Aaron Vega
This amendment adds measures to prevent families facing cliff effects or loss of benefits due to minor increases in income and directs the Governor to further coordinate efforts on economic mobility and other programs for low income families. This will help support families with equitable policies and programs as they work to achieve economic mobility and housing stability without barriers and cliffs.    

Amendment 34 – Transfer Fee to Support Affordable Housing
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Connolly
This amendment creates a local option for cities and towns to enact a transfer fee on real estate transactions to provide local funding for affordable housing. Communities could enact a fee of up to 2% and allow exemptions at the discretion of the city or town. This can help provide much needed additional funding for affordable housing.

Amendment 5 – Improving Tenant Participation on Housing Authority Boards
Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Honan
This amendment provides a process to appoint public housing tenants to the boards of their local housing authority in towns. This will help improve the governance of housing authorities by filling the designated seat for tenants on housing authority boards. This tenant seat for housing authorities in towns is currently required by state law but there is no process to fill that seat. 

Please express your support for these amendments by copy and pasting this list in an email to your State Representative, a call to their office, or a Tweet or post on social media to your legislator!

CHAPA sincerely thanks the House for making housing a key priority in its Economic Development Bill. H.4879 includes important Housing Choice provisions to make it easier for communities to approve smart growth zoning. The bill also makes critical investments in affordable housing, including additional funds for the state low income housing tax credit and new resources to support climate resilient affordable housing and affordable housing around public transportation. Finally, H.4879 provides additional protections for tenants facing eviction. We hope all these remain in the Economic Development Bill.

As always, thank you for your taking action to help increase housing stability and expand opportunities for people across the state to have safe, healthy, and affordable homes!