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MHP, CHAPA create to help communities build housing strategies

Posted on January 3, 2018


BOSTON, Jan. 3, 2018 --- A new website – Housing Toolbox for Massachusetts Communities – has been launched to help local officials and volunteers provide more affordable housing opportunities.

Developed by the quasi-public Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) and the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), is designed to be a one-stop resource to help municipalities execute effective housing strategies.

The Housing Toolbox is part of the state’s ongoing effort to support municipalities through programs like the Community Compact Initiative, Community Scale Housing InitiativeWorkforce Housing Initiative and the recently announced Housing Choice Initiative.

“The Baker-Polito Administration has identified inadequate housing production as one of the core challenges facing the Commonwealth’s families and economy,” said Chrystal Kornegay, the state’s undersecretary for housing. “We understand that making meaningful progress will not be possible without municipal support. Many municipalities have demonstrated the kind of local innovation and leadership that will be needed to successfully address the Commonwealth’s housing supply challenge and the Housing Toolbox is our latest initiative to help more municipalities become partners in our efforts to increase housing production.”

 “In our work with communities, we’ve continually heard and realized we need one place where we can direct local officials and volunteers to the many resources that have been created to explain the affordable housing process,’’ said Susan Connelly, director of community assistance for the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP). “We meet many people in communities who have the will and we think will help show them the way.”

The creation of also coincides with CHAPA’s 50th anniversary and its new municipal engagement initiative, a multi-faceted effort to help more muncipalities increase housing production.

“In our 50th year, we are embarking on a concerted effort to help as many communities as we can be part of the Commonwealth’s housing solution by providing easier access to helpful information and direct assistance to communities who are pursuing municipal change that will open the door to successful housing initiatives,” said Rachel Heller, CHAPA’S executive director.

The mobile-friendly web site is organized into six sections:

  • Assessing Needs – The first step in creating realistic housing goals, featuring sections on what to ask, gathering and analyzing data and turning information into action.
  • Local Support – How to build a broad understanding of housing needs in your community, the next step in building support that is crucial in getting favorable votes from local decision-making bodies on permitting and funding.
  • Zoning and Land Use – The most cost-effective way to make progress is understanding zoning laws and strategies that can result in more flexible land use regulation.
  • Fair Housing – Most housing activities must comply with Fair Housing laws. This section provides an overview that will help you follow the law and build housing that provides opportunity for all.
  • Housing Development Process – This section details the major phases of development and the role a municipality plays in initiating and monitoring the development before, during and after. This section assumes that publicly-owned land is being used for affordable housing.
  • Financing and Funding – Developing income-restricted housing requires a variety of local, state and federal funding. This section explains the basics of how affordable housing is financed.

Check out and let us know how it can be more useful in helping you understand the affordable housing process and getting things done in your community. For more information, email or call MHP’s Phil Crean at 857-317-8517.