Alleviating Housing Shortage Scores a WIN

Our advocacy pays off!  On January 6, the Mass. Legislature passed one of our top advocacy priorities; the Housing Choice bill as part of the economic development package, An Act enabling partnerships for growth.  Housing Choice policies will spur housing development by lowering the voting threshold for key zoning proposals that support housing production.  As MAR legislative staff reports, this bill will:

  • A big step towards alleviating housing shortage – The economic development bill included Housing Choice zoning reforms, one of MAR’s top legislative priorities. It will promote desperately needed development and help increase housing stock in Massachusetts.
  • Funding for broadband improvements – The state economic development bill included $5 million for broadband infrastructure repair. That is on top of $7 billion included in the federal COVID relief bill to help expand broadband networks and increase affordability.
  • New housing solutions – The economic development bill includes $60 million in new affordable housing funding and creates a new zoning type that will allow for increased housing production near public transportation hubs.
  • Protecting short-term rental industry – The economic development bill includes a new surcharge for hotels and motels. MAR’s advocacy helped protect short-term rentals from having to pay this additional fee.
  • Fighting for you – Despite passage of the economic development bill containing zoning reforms that were atop MAR’s advocacy agenda for the past several years, there is more work to be done. MAR is urging the Governor to remove onerous language from the bill that would upend transactions and development related to multifamily housing. MAR is also continuing to push for pieces left out of the bill including resources to test for concrete foundation problems and building permit extensions.

For more details, please check out the MAR blog post on this topic.