Memo on the Benefits of Rental Assistance as a Right in Massachusetts
On June 3, CHAPA, The Boston Foundation, Metro Housing|Boston, and the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts released a brief memo, The Benefits of Rental Assistance as a Right, with information about the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program and how we can chart a path for getting every eligible household the rental assistance they need. In addition to the memo, our organizations are working with The Center for State Policy Analysis to conduct further research to provide cost estimates along with strategies for effective implementation of getting rental assistance to all who qualify.
Below is the letter sent to each legislator in Massachusetts.
On behalf of CHAPA, The Boston Foundation, Metro Housing|Boston, and the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts, we are writing to share a brief memo with information about the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) and how we can chart a path for getting every eligible household the rental assistance they need.
Housing is vital to our quality of life, our economy, and the stability of our neighborhoods. As our home prices and rents continue to escalate far faster than our incomes, there are many strategies that must be deployed to ensure every household can afford a home in the community they choose.
It is well documented that Massachusetts needs 200,000 new homes by 2030 to stabilize home prices and rents. Putting policies in place, such as requiring 175 communities served by the MBTA to zone for multifamily housing, will make a big impact, particularly for people with middle incomes. However, stabilizing home prices and rents that are already out of reach for so many people requires us to invest more deeply in the programs that assist people whose affordability challenges will not be solved by the market alone.
In October 2021, the Senate Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts endorsed a unique and promising new approach to achieve this: make rental vouchers available to all eligible residents.
Together, we can work to achieve this goal! In addition to the attached memo, our organizations are working with The Center for State Policy Analysis to conduct further research. In the months ahead, we expect to have cost estimates for a number of different approaches, along with strategies for effective implementation of getting rental assistance to all who qualify.
The Legislature has two opportunities before the end of this session to make progress on getting every resident the rental assistance they need:
- Include the strongest possible funding for MRVP in the final conference committee FY2023 budget; and
- Pass legislation that puts MRVP into statute. Passing An Act Relative to the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (H.1428/S.898) will lay the groundwork for growing this program into one that ensures every person who needs help paying rent receives it.
To ensure that every person in the Commonwealth has the foundation they need to thrive, we need to continue to invest in affordable housing production and preservation through Housing Bond Bills, federal ARPA funds, support our Public Housing, and make rental assistance available to every household who is eligible and cannot afford rent.
Thank you for your leadership and commitment to ensuring everyone in the Commonwealth has a safe, healthy, and affordable home in a community that they choose.
Please let us know if you have any questions or if we can provide any other information.
Chief Executive Officer
Citizens' Housing and Planning Association
Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs
The Boston Foundation
Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts