NEW AT MHP: DataTown is here! A new site with visualized data for all 351 MA towns. LEARN MORE

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Newsletter: Some valuable affordable housing tools & upcoming events

Posted on March 1, 2019

Datatown is a new interactive website developed by MHP's Center for Housing Data. The site compiles community-level information from various data sources for all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns, and visualizes that data in graphics and charts so it's easy to understand, print out and bring to a community discussion.

Key features for users include graphics that can be easily downloaded, the option to download raw data, helpful coaching text for every graphic and multiple data sources on one web site so you don't have to build your case by going from site to site. 

View the press release for more information on the launch of DataTown. Contact Center for Housing Data Co-Directors Tom Hopper and Callie Clark with any questions and/or suggestions about the site.

New content in the Toolbox

The Massachusetts Housing Toolbox is a comprehensive web site filled with resources to help communities increase their supply of affordable housing. This effort was supported by the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) and the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). See below info about what's new on the site:

Local Action Units (LAUs) Guide

What are LAUs? What methods are communities using to create LAUs? Published in late 2018, this guide provides technical guidance on how communities can ensure that all LAUs are affordable and will be eligible for inclusion on the Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI), and outlines requirements and best practices for ongoing compliance monitoring.

Local Tools -- Housing Trust Funds 

 Information on housing trust funds was recently updated. This new section outlines what housing trust funds are, what they do, and how to get one started in your community. 

Save the date: MHP Housing Institute

What: Geared towards officials, volunteers and employees in suburban and rural communities, the Housing Institute is a two-day intensive workshop that engages participants in discussion and problem solving around the development of affordable housing.

Where: Devens Common Center, 31 Andrews Parkway, Devens, MA 01434

When: June 5-6, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. How: Registration and agenda will open in April. 

Opportunities offered by partners

Mel King Institute -- 2019 Certificate Program

What: The Mel King Institute Certificate offers a new way to engage with our programming through a more comprehensive experience culminating in a credential. By participating in existing MKI courses and workshops, participants are provided an overview of the basic skills, knowledge, and values that underlie the work of community development in Massachusetts.

 Graduates will be equipped with an understanding to think broadly about the needs of communities, the historic and current racism that perpetuates inequalities and the tool to address community needs through analogizing data, engaging residents, economic development, infrastructure development and more. All trainings are practitioner designed and led, and oriented towards the needs and priorities of communities. Register for the 2019 Certificate Program

MassDevelopment Call for Proposals 

What: Mass Development is launching the next call for proposals for their real estate technical assistance services. This includes:

  • Master planning and visioning for sites and/or districts
  • Market feasibility and financial analysis
  • Surplus property reuse and/or activation assistance
  • Local district improvement financing (DIF)
  • RFP/Q development and process management
  • Regional economic development planning

When: The deadline to submit proposals is Friday, March 15, 2019.

How: Proposals can be submitted on MassDevelopment's website here.

For more information, contact Amanda Chisholm, Vice President of Real Estate Services and Director of Community Technical Assistance at MassDevelopment. 

MassDocs: Helps blend local funds with other public funds

Attention municipalities: Have you heard about MassDocs, the state’s on-line loan closing document system? MassDocs makes affordable housing development more efficient by providing a common set of loan documents for projects using a variety of state and local funds. For communities, this is useful in coordinating the use of local funds with other public funds.

MassDocs was created in 2006 to eliminate complicated closings with multiple funding sources and documents. MassDocs reduces legal paperwork, saves money, and makes it easier to coordinate local funds with other public funds. If you would like to join MassDocs, email Danielle Kinkel at