Massachusetts Senate Passes $1.8 Billion Housing Bond Bill!

On March 29th, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed a $1.8 billion Housing Bond Bill. S.2368, recapitalizes affordable housing programs through the capital budget at levels supported by CHAPA. In addition to reauthorizing capital budget programs, the Senate bond bill also includes:

  • An increase for the State Low Income Housing Tax Credit to $25 million per year and an extension through 2025;
  • An increase for the MA Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit to $55 million per year;
  • Extends the Community Investment Tax Credit to 2025 and increases the maximum allocation of credits each year;
  • Extends the Brownfields Tax Credit for 5 years and increases the credit from 25% to 50% of net response and removal costs if at least 20% of residential units on the land are for households earning up to 120% of the area median income;
  • Extends the Housing Development Incentive Program at $10 million per year through 2024; and
  • Provides a $100 million authorization for MassHousing’s Workforce Housing Initiative.

This is the largest Housing Bond Bill in the state's history. It will increase the supply of affordable homes, promote community and economic development, and improve the quality of early education for children in the Commonwealth through the Early Education and Out of School Time program.

CHAPA thanks the Senate for supporting the Housing Bond Bill and thanks Senator Joseph Boncore, Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing; Senate President Harriette Chandler; Senator John Keenan, Chair of the Senate Committee on Bonding, State Expenditures and Capital Assets; and Senator Karen Spilka, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means for their leadership on this bill.  

The bill must now be reconciled with the housing bond bill passed by the House of Representatives in February.

Please reach out to your State Senator to say thank you for passing the Housing Bond Bill! You can find your legislator’s contact information by clicking here.

Finally, thank you to all of you who have called, emailed, testified, or made visits to legislators in support of the Housing Bond Bill! We appreciate your continued advocacy for helping everyone in the Commonwealth have a safe, healthy, and affordable place to call home!

As passed by the State Senate, the Housing Bond Bill authorizes the following:

The AHTF is a flexible tool administered by MassHousing 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 and 1 to 4 units in gateway cities. It can serve moderate-income households, up to 110% of the area median income (AMI), though the majority of AHTF projects serve households at 60% AMI. It also supports first time homebuyers through the ONE Mortgage program.

CIPF 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. The Housing Bond Bill includes clarifying language to make the program work better with other housing preservation resources.

This program encourages smart growth by producing homeownership and rental housing in mixed-use, commercial areas served by public transit.

CBH 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.

FCF produces community-based housing for clients of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the Department of Mental Health (DMH). Through the fund, DHCD works closely with DDS and DMH to provide housing for people with a wide range of disabilities.

The HMLP 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. Program Changes: The Housing Bond Bill includes clarifying changes that better aligns the program language with its actual use; clarifying language to explicitly allow the HMLP to be used by families to construct accessory dwelling units for persons with disabilities; and authorizing a grant program to allow landlords to access the HMLP to make renovations to apartments in order to accommodate the needs of disabled tenants.

HIF supports the production of innovative and alternative forms of rental housing, including single person occupancy (SPO) 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.

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 (SROs), special needs housing, and a mix of homeownership and rental housing.

The Housing Bond Bill changes the weak markets provision within the program to allow it to be used for single family homes as well as multifamily housing.

PUBLIC HOUSING – $600,000,000
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.

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.

The Workforce Housing Initiative by MassHousing supports the creation of rental housing that is affordable for working families with incomes of 61% to 120% of Area Median Income (AMI). The Initiative provides up to $100,000 of subsidy per workforce housing unit to create 1,000 new units of workforce housing statewide with deed restrictions that ensure 30 years of affordability.

EEOST offers grants to non-profits to help build early education and out of school time program facilities that serve low-income children. It provides flexibility to build or renovate buildings in order to provide children and teachers with safe, healthy environments that support other quality improvement efforts. The program is administered through the Children’s Investment Fund at CEDAC and works closely with the Department of Early Education and Care.

The Housing Bond Bill 

  • Increases the percentage of slots for low-income children served by early education programs supported by the program from 25% to 50%; and
  • Changes eligibility requirements for the program to allow only those organizations who are currently providing early education and care to low-income children.

The Massachusetts LIHTC awards tax credits to investors in affordable multifamily rental projects. It encourages private investment in affordable housing and allows developers to finance part of the cost of the development with equity invested by local corporations and individuals to help keep rents low. The Housing Bond Bill extends the program until 2025 and expands the annual allocation to $25 million. The additional $5 million tax credits will be used for the preservation and improvement of existing affordable housing.

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. Over the past three years, this program has generated nearly $24 million for CDCs across the state, enabling them to deepen their community engagement, create more housing opportunities, and increase their impact. The Housing Bond Bill extends the CITC through 2025 and gradually raises the annual cap from $6 million to $12 million.

The Housing Bond Bill increases the annual authorization for the state Historic Tax Credit from $50 million to $55 million. The state Historic Tax Credit attracts developers to invest in once vacant, deteriorated, and underutilized structures, such as old mills, schools, and hospitals, and transforms them into much needed housing and commercial space. The Massachusetts Historic Tax Credit has been used to revitalize many of the Commonwealth’s communities, including Gateway Cities.

The Brownfields Tax Credit helps clean up polluted sites in Massachusetts and transform them into places where people can live and work, creating housing and economic development opportunities. The Housing Bond Bill extends the Brownfields Tax Credit for five years.

HDIP provides Gateway Cities with a redevelopment tool to help create affordable and market rate housing, promote neighborhood stabilization, and support economic development through tax credits. The Housing Bond Bill extends the annual $10 million authorization for HDIP until 2024.

The Housing Bond Bill authorizes MassHousing to provide services outside of Massachusetts in three ways: (1) contract administration services in connection with any HUD multifamily rental subsidy program; (2) loan servicing for one to four family residential mortgage loans, provided the majority of loans serviced are secure by mortgages on property located in Massachusetts; and (3) loan servicing related to residential mortgage loans in partnership with governmental or quasi-governmental agencies.