State Senate Finalizes ARPA Spending Proposal with $600 Million for Affordable Housing

On November 10, 2021, the State Senate finalized its spending plan for spending a majority of the state’s federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fiscal recovery funding, including $600 million to support affordable housing.

CHAPA thanks Senate President Spilka, Senate Ways and Means Chair Rodrigues, Housing Committee Chair Keenan, and the all the members of the Senate for prioritizing affordable housing! The housing investments are outlined below:

Affordable Housing Investments

The final Senate spending plan (S.2580) provides $600 million for supportive housing, public housing, homeownership, and affordable housing production and preservation, as well as an additoinal $10 million for green energy retrofitting. These investments will provide homeownership aid, housing production, and maintenance, with a focus on developing both affordable housing and supportive housing stock as a much-needed response to ongoing housing instability and homelessness.

A summary of the funding allocation breakdown is provided below:

  • $150 million for Supportive Housing Production
  • $150 million for Public Housing Maintenance
  • $50 million for Homeownership Assistance to help first-time homebuyers
  • $125 million for CommonWealth Builder Program to build new affordable homeownership opportunities
  • $125 million for Affordable Housing Production & Preservation
  • $10 million for green energy retrofitting

CHAPA thanks all the Senate members who sponsored and co-sponsored our priority amendments. During the debate of the bill, the Senate adopted a CHAPA priority amendment that made language changes to allow homeownership assistance funds to also be used for debt reduction programs. Unfortunately, several of our priority amendments were not adopted, including funding for a statewide legal assistance program to help residents with low-incomes facing eviction.

Please see the language comparison for these affordable housing investments in both the House and Senate bills for more details on the programs.

Next Steps for ARPA Spending Bill

A conference committee will now reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills. 

Comparison of House & Senate ARPA Spending Proposals
Line-Item Program House Senate
1599-2020 Homeownership Assistance $100 million $50 million
1599-2021 Homeownership Production $100 million $125 million
1599-2022 Rental Production $100 million $125 million
1599-2023 Supportive Housing $150 million $150 million
1599-2024 Public Housing $150 million $150 million
1599-2035 Green Energy Retrofitting - $10 million

The members of the conference committee are Representatives Michlewitz, Hunt, and Smola, and Senators Rodrigues, Friedman, and O'Connor. The Legislature hopes to send a final ARPA spending bill to the Governor by the start of its Thanksgiving recess on November 17, 2021.

CHAPA will be making recommendations to the conference committee to ensure the strongest possible final ARPA spending bill for affordable housing is send to Governor Baker.