Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, who has been an ardent and long-term advocate for housing opportunities, took to the floor of the House of Representatives today to advocate for a $1.25 billion Housing Bond Bill that will recapitalize housing funds that have been instrumental in housing opportunities for his district.
“Projects such as Blessed Sacrament and the future developments of Parcel 25 in Mission Hill and Jackson Square in Jamaica Plain have and will create a wealth of affordable housing opportunities for individuals and families in my district”, said Rep. Sánchez. “The legislature’s commitment today to recapitalize the commonwealth’s affordable housing funds will allow these innovative and necessary projects to continue in our community”.
Representative Sánchez’s work on the housing bond bill reflects his years of organizing and advocacy around development projects across the community, including Parcel 25 in Roxbury Crossing, Brigham Circle, Jackson Square and Blessed Sacrament in Hyde Square. The housing programs funded through the bond bill have been important tools for non-profit and for-profit developers alike to complete these types of developments.
The $1.25 billion Housing Bond Bill will also dedicate much needed funds to Massachusetts’ public housing stock. The shortfalls of Massachusetts’ current system have created problems of limited access to affordable housing, extremely poor living conditions for existing tenants, and a restricted ability for local housing authorities to expand affordable housing opportunities.
The 2006 State Auditor’s report confirms the dilapidated state of public housing in the Commonwealth. The inspections of the State Auditor found that, “the physical condition of the state-managed housing properties have deteriorated to the point that many residents are being deprived of the required safe, decent, and sanitary housing that the law mandates”. The legislation will address this issue by dedicating $500 million for the modernization of state assisted public housing.
“This is an issue I care deeply about and I believe this legislation’s commitment to new and existing housing programs, as well as a commitment to adequately fund public housing, is a much needed and long overdue step in the right direction”, said Representative Jeffrey Sánchez. “There are many residents of the Commonwealth, including families, veterans, the elderly and disabled that are in need of quality housing assistance and are not receiving it.”
In addition to the modernization funds, the legislation also commits $245 million for the affordable housing trust fund, which has been one of Representative Sánchez’s budget priorities for the past three terms. The fund has benefited a number of affordable housing projects in Mission Hill and Jamaica Plain and is one of the commonwealth’s most flexible housing programs.
The legislation will now head to the Senate for approval prior to enactment.
Other key provisions of the legislation include:
- $125 million for the Housing Stabilization fund, which provides deferred grants or loans for homeownership, purchase, preservation or rehabilitation of distressed properties.
- $50 million for a public housing demonstration program that will encourage innovation for local housing authorities.
- $25 million for the Facilities Consolidation Fund
- $50 million for the Housing Innovations Fund
- $30 million for Transit Oriented Development
- $50 million for Community Development Action Grants
- $100 million for the Capital Improvement Preservation Fund
- $50 million for Home Modification
- $25 million for Community Based Housing for people with disabilities