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$1M grant from Barr Foundation will help MHP support MBTA communities

Posted on September 9, 2022

BOSTON --- The Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) has received a $1 million grant from the Barr Foundation to support its efforts to help communities zone for multifamily housing near transit stations.

“We are grateful to the Barr Foundation for support the state’s efforts to promote multifamily housing near transit stations and in other smart locations in communities served by the MBTA ,” said Clark Ziegler, MHP’s executive director.

In August, MHP announced programs that will support communities with training resources and technical assistance services to help communities comply with the state’s new multifamily zoning requirement for 175 MBTA communities. Final guidelines for this new law were released by the state in mid-August, meaning communities now can begin the process of achieving full compliance.

MHP will use funding from the Barr Foundation, the state Department of Housing Community Development and the state Department of Transportation to fund programs that will provide direct and third-party technical assistance directly related to compliance. 

These activities will include siting and mapping the district, developing appropriate use and intensity requirements; calculating capacity yield, drafting zoning by-law/ordinance; and community engagement. A modeling tool has also been created to ensure a consistent approach to measuring and evaluating zoning districts for compliance.

All told, MHP has $2.5 million in funding that's exclusively dedicated to MBTA zoning assistance, with the ability to increase that amount if needed. MBTA communities may also apply for help from four different state planning grant programs that total more than $14 million annually.

“Updating local zoning is a game-changing opportunity to build homes for people that are in walkable and transit-accessible areas,” said Lisa Jacobson, Senior Program Officer, Mobility, at the Barr Foundation. “We are pleased to support MHP’s important work in assisting local leaders to create more affordable and equitable communities.”

For more information about MHP’s support of MBTA communities, contact MHP Senior Planner Katy Lacy at klacy@mhp.net.

About MHP: MHP works with communities to create innovative policy and financing solutions that provide affordable homes and better lives for the people of Massachusetts. Its community assistance team has provided support and technical assistance to over 300 communities. Its rental financing team uses a variety of capital sources to provide permanent financing for affordable housing, including bank funds and lending programs offered by Fannie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Since 1990, MHP has provided over $1.8 billion for the financing of over 30,000 apartments. Its homeownership team has helped over 24,000 low- and moderate-income households buy their first home through the SoftSecond and ONE Mortgage programs, resulting in  $4.6 billion in mortgage financing. In 2017, MHP created the Center for Housing Data to support state policies that increase housing supply and affordability.

About the Barr Foundation: Founded in 1977, the Barr Foundation has contributed more than $1 billion to charitable causes, with a grantmaking budget set at $140 million for 2022. The Barr Foundation focuses on three main areas – arts and creativity, climate, and education – with additional grant making targeted to time-limited special initiatives that are designed to strengthen New England’s social sector.

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