BOSTON — The Massachusetts State Senate voted on Thursday to pass a housing bond bill authorizing $1.8 billion in investments to preserve and modernize existing affordable housing, and encourage new housing developments, across the Commonwealth.
The bill, S.2368, An Act financing the production and preservation of housing for low and moderate income residents, seeks to address the state’s housing shortage by redeveloping existing housing units and offering a range of tax incentives for developers to build new, affordable units.
“The cost of housing is one of the single greatest challenges facing the state. Boston’s growth spurt will slam to a halt if nobody can afford to live, work or move around. This is also why the state needs an effective, efficient transportation network — including East-West Rail — so that people are not forced to live close to work and can instead force the housing market to be more competitive,” said Senator Eric P. Lesser (D-Longmeadow).
“Our affordable housing shortage has placed the Commonwealth’s financial health at risk,” said Housing Committee Chairman Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop). “The Housing Bond bill is the first step toward ensuring Massachusetts develops enough affordable housing to support both its workforce and its economic future.”
Critical authorizations in the bill include:
- $600M for the modernization and redevelopment of the State’s public housing stock;
- $400M for the development and preservation of affordable and mixed income housing;
- $125M for the preservation and improvement of existing and expiring use affordable housing;
- $100M for the preservation and development of workforce housing;
- $65M for community based housing for individuals living with mental illness or disabilities;
- $60M for home modification for elderly residents and those living with severe disabilities
- $50M to incentivize smart growth production and transit oriented developments;
- $45M for the capital investments in early education and out of school programs for low income residents.
The bill also extends and expands critical tax credits to incentivize the development and modernization of the Commonwealth’s housing stock.
The bill will now be reconciled with a version passed by the House of Representatives.