Massachusetts is in a housing crisis. The reasons for soaring rents and housing prices will vary depending on who you ask, but the fact is, there are simply not enough “housing units” for everyone who wants to live in the Commonwealth. Additionally, too many homes are unhealthy to live in due to lead paint, mold, asbestos, and pests. Given these challenges, it is especially important for you to know about and speak up for the Housing Bond Bill, which is a massive piece of state legislation that generally comes up every five years.
Officially, this “omnibus” bill is called the Affordable Housing Act (H.4138), and the Massachusetts Legislature is beginning to focus on it this month, with a hearing held by the Joint Committee on Housing. This bond bill is incredibly important for affordable, healthy housing because it could authorize upwards of $4.12 billion in capital spending to improve, decarbonize, and expand state-owned public housing and also capitalize a variety of housing development and rehabilitation funds and loan programs. Additionally, Governor Healey proposes several policy changes in this housing bond bill that would: encourage housing production; advance fair housing and tenant protections; and provide new “tools” so cities and towns can do more locally to address the housing crisis.
If the Affordable Housing Act (aka the Housing Bond Bill) sounds like a good idea to you, here’s how you can get involved:
- Learn more about the many components of the legislation.
- Review what local legislators and organizations are saying.
- Contact the Joint Committee on Housing
This month, email Housing Committee Co-Chairs Senator Lydia Edwards and Representative James Arciero and cc your State Rep and Senator. Tell them which parts of the Affordable Housing Act are important to you and what you think should be added. In coming months there will be additional opportunities to advocate for this legislation, but now is a key time to speak up. Contact information for: MA Representatives | MA Senators | Who is my State Rep and Senator?
- Connect with the Western MA Network to End Homelessness
Thanks for being an advocate! Questions? Contact PHIWM Policy Director Andrea Freeman