Posted on August 2, 2019
BOSTON --- In an effort to help state legislative staffs understand affordable housing and respond to constituent needs, MHP’s community assistance team and the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) held a three-part series at the State House this summer entitled, “The State of Affordable Housing in Massachusetts.”
Held on three consecutive Wednesdays during the month of July, each session featured a state-of-the-state’s housing supply introduction by Callie Clark of MHP’s Center for Housing Data and a special topic each week – Ch. 40B in week one, public housing in week two and zoning and local control in week three.
Each session attracted over 60 legislators or legislative staff. The event was hosted by Rep. Kevin Honan, co-chair of the joint committee on housing. Housing committee co-chair, Sen. Brendan Crighton, welcomed attendees to the third session.
“Legislators and their staffs are on the front lines in terms of dealing with community concerns about the need for housing and how developments may impact their communities,” said Susan Connelly, MHP’s director of community assistance and strategic partnerships. “We hope that our presentations on the state’s housing needs and policies to address them will help them in their daily work with their constituents.”
In the Chapter 40B session, CHAPA’s Director of Policy, Eric Shupin walked the audience through the history and achievements of Chapter 40B, a state policy enacted in 1969. Highlighting its impact across the Commonwealth, Shupin reiterated how Chapter 40B has made it easier to construct affordable housing in municipalities where under 10 percent of the current housing stock is affordable. In its 50 years of existence, Chapter 40B has created over 72,000 homes, Shupin said.
After Shupin, MHP’s Senior Project Manager Katy Lacy, a former town planner in Hingham, explained the Ch. 40B development process. All resources presented in session one are available on MHP’s Housing Toolbox web site.
MHP’s Susan Connelly led the second session on the state’s public housing supply (federal and state). CHAPA’s Eric Shupin followed up with an overview of public housing and rental assistance resources. These presentations are also available on MHP’s Housing Toolbox.
Connelly and Shupin returned for the last session on zoning and local control. They were joined by MHP’s Shelly Goehring, who delivered a presentation on how the history of zoning decisions in two communities has resulted in these towns being more exclusionary.
Session three was notable in the amount of questions that followed. Audience members asked for information on the legitimacy of a community’s concern over how multi-family housing is designed, data on the number of empty bedrooms, affordable housing for students and seniors, and the need for more collaboration between environmental policy and housing policy.
All materials presented have been posted on MHP's Housing Toolbox web site, a one-stop shop for affordable housing resources.
For more information about MHP's community assistance work, contact MHP’s Kate Bosse at firstname.lastname@example.org.