House Passes Economic Development Bill with Many Provisions for Affordable Housing

On July 28th, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed its Economic Development Bill, H.4887An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth.

The bill contains important provisions that are critical to creating and preserving affordable housing in Massachusetts, supporting our economy, and addressing inequities in housing. These provisions include:

  • Housing Choice sections to help cities and towns approve smart growth zoning and affordable housing by lowering the required vote from a two-thirds to a simple majority;
  • Temporarily expanding the Massachusetts Low-Income Housing Tax Credit from $20 million to $40 million to spur the development and preservation of affordable housing and create jobs; 
  • Creates a process for appointment of Tenant Board Member to housing authority boards in towns
  • Requiring pre-mediation for COVID related evictions and also requiring tenants to be notified of their rights in an eviction case;
  • $50 million for creation of low- and moderate-income housing in close proximity to transit nodes;
  • $40 million for Neighborhood Stabilization to return blighted or vacant units back to productive use, including in communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19;
  • $10 million for Climate-Resilient Affordable Housing Production of affordable, multi-family housing developments, with the goals of equipping homes to better respond to climate changes and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through use of efficient, sustainable design practices; 
  • Expansion of the Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) by raising the annual cap from $10M to $30M to support more market rate housing development projects in Gateway Cities; and
  • Authorizing a local option for municipalities to enact to allow tenants the first opportunity to purchase their building if it is put up for sale.

CHAPA thanks Speaker DeLeo, House Ways and Means Chair, Chairman Michlewitz, House Committee Chair Rep. Honan, the House leadership Committee members and members of the House in recognizing the role of housing in economic development and supporting this bill and voting in support of the bill. 

The Senate is expected to take up its Economic Development Bill later this day. The Senate Ways and Means version of the bill does not contain the Housing related provisions and CHAPA willl be advocating for adding them to the final Senate bill.