On June 21, Governor Baker introduced a plan to immediately use $1 billion of the Commonwealth's federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for housing and homeownership. The $2.9 billion plan also included priorities related to economic development and local downtowns, job training and workforce development, health care, and infrastructure.
Specifically, the plan proposes the following for housing, per the state's website:
- $300 million to support expanded homeownership opportunities, focused on first-time homebuyers who are residents of disproportionately impacted municipalities;
- $200 million to support housing production through MassHousing’s CommonWealth Builder Program and similar efforts, which aim to help communities of color build wealth by promoting home ownership among residents of disproportionately impacted municipalities;
- $200 million to fund rental housing production and provide increased housing options to workers and residents of disproportionately impacted municipalities;
- $300 million to finance the statewide production of senior and veteran housing. These new housing options would contain a supportive services component, and would be combined with other resources including Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, rental payments, and, in the case of veteran housing, VA health care.
Gov. Baker and the Legislature have disagreed about how the state's ARPA funds should be appropriated after receiving $5.3 billion in May. The Legislature is expected to hold public hearings on the use of these funds between now and the fall before passing a spending plan. The Governor hopes his proposal will be taken up quickly.
The $5.3 billion in direct ARPA aid to Massachusetts are discretionary funds intended to support urgent COVID-19 response efforts, replace lost revenue, support immediate economic stabilization for households and businesses, and address unequal public health and economic challenges in Massachusetts cities and towns throughout the pandemic.
CHAPA will be advocating for these recovery funds to be used to support affordable housing. We will post updates as the process for distributing these funds plays out in the Legislature.