Senate Passes $1.4 Billion Housing Bond Bill

Official Senate press release: July 30, 2013

Senate Passes $1.4 Billion Housing Bond Bill

BOSTON – The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill authorizing $1.4 billion in capital spending over the next five years to fund the production and preservation of affordable housing in the Commonwealth.

“This legislation takes an important step to preserve our existing housing options and support the growth of affordable housing for many of our most vulnerable populations,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “This bill will spur local economic development, create jobs and help our communities meet their housing needs.”

“The housing bond bill ensures that Massachusetts can continue its investment in affordable housing production and preservation and provides necessary commitments to public housing, affordable housing for low and moderate income residents and community development for all regions of Massachusetts,” said Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “With the demand for housing exceeding supply and the price of homes rising again, the state must continue to provide support for affordable housing across the Commonwealth. As Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing, I am pleased that the Senate voted to authorize funding for the programs included in this bill, which will help serve thousands of families and contribute to significant neighborhood stabilization and revitalization.”

“This bill is a tremendous economic development and job creation tool that will keep elderly and disabled people in their homes, revitalize neighborhoods, and provide work to our tradespeople who were hit hardest in the recession,” said Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton).

The legislation establishes the Early Education and Out of School Time Capital Fund to provide grants to non-profit childcare organizations for capital improvements to their facilities. Eligible providers must reserve at least 25 percent of their childcare slots for families receiving a public subsidy.

This plan also allows for development projects that are within a half-mile of a mass transit hub to be eligible for funding by expanding the definition of transit-oriented development in the MassWorks Infrastructure Program.

 The capital plan includes:

  • $55 million for a home modification program for blind and severely disabled homeowners;
  • $47 million for a loan program to provide community-based or supportive housing for individuals with mental illness or intellectual disabilities;
  • $38 million for a loan program for community-based or supportive housing for individuals with disabilities who are institutionalized or at-risk of being institutionalized;
  • $305 million to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to create and preserve affordable housing for households at or under 110 percent of the area median income;
  • $135 million to the Housing Stabilization and Investment Trust Fund for acquisition, preservation and rehabilitation of affordable housing;
  • $500 million for repairs and improvements to public housing;
  • $50 million for a five-year grant program within the Department of Housing and Community Development to test cost-effective revitalization methods for family and elderly-disabled public housing;
  • $80 million to the Housing Innovations Trust Fund to support innovative and alternative forms of housing;
  • $100 million to the Capital Improvement and Preservation Trust Fund to purchase housing whose affordability restrictions have expired or are expiring;
  • $45 million to develop residential housing and mixed-use and transit-oriented developments; and,
  • $45 million for the Early Education and Out of School Time Capital Fund.

In addition, the bill requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to file an annual capital plan with the Legislature.

The Senate bill and the House bill will now go to a conference committee to produce a compromise bill for final passage and consideration of the governor.