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March

1

2004

Annual Report - 2003

Includes essays about small-scale financing in Chesterfield, redeveloping a school into housing with help from CHI in Acton, preserving the affordability of 200 units in Salem, the importance of creating partnerships to develop 250 units in Lowell, Home Funders to help developers reach lower-income families in Gloucester, and SoftSecond making a difference in Newton.

October

30

2003

Building on our Heritage: A Housing Strategy for Smart Growth and Economic Development

In this report, the Commonwealth Housing Task Force describes a severe housing affordability problem that has an impact both on low and moderate income households and scientists, engineers, doctors and business people in Massachusetts. The authors argue that the housing problem is affecting the future economic stability of the state. Further, they contend that the problem is not caused by a lack of financing or land but results from restrictive zoning, which results from local governments’ fear of the adverse impact on town finances that will result from development.

May

1

2003

Housing Needs Workbook

Published in 2003, the Housing Needs Workbook is designed to assist communities in assessing local housing needs for families, seniors, special needs populations, and owners and renters.

March

1

2003

Annual Report - 2002

Includes essays about a 40B in Boxborough, 30 new units in Haverhill, the continued revitalization and preservation of homes in Worcester, innovative financing behind small deals like an SRO in Everett, and SoftSecond helping families become homeowners in Watertown.

February

1

2003

The Fiscal Impact of New Housing Development in Massachusetts

Analysis indicates that, for many Massachusetts communities, population growth associated with new housing is not inevitably followed by increased demand for services and higher municipal costs. While overall costs will increase with growth, per capita costs often increase less or decrease. Many of our fastest-growing communities experienced the slowest growth in per capita tax burden during the 1990s. In fact, there seems to be little correlation between increases in per capita costs and increases in population, and it seems that municipal services are generally increasing in cost regardless of the rate of population growth. This finding suggests that the standard models relied upon by cities and towns to estimate the fiscal impact of development may be systematically overestimating these costs in many communities. Given the shortage of affordable housing throughout Massachusetts and that these estimates are frequently used as the basis for decision making by local development agencies, it is clear that the methods communities use to estimate the costs of development must be reconsidered.