Focused on Affordable Housing

More and more each day, we have watched our friends and neighbors move off of Cape Ann because housing has become unaffordable. In order to maintain our communities of diverse social and economic backgrounds here on Cape Ann, we must address this issue.

Let’s be honest, we all have relatives who find the current market pricing on Cape Ann out of reach. We all know young families, just starting out, who cannot afford today’s rents – let alone young single people who only have one income. Some of us also wonder if we could afford to live on Cape Ann if we didn’t purchase our houses years ago and had to pay today’s prices. In addition, our teachers and municipal workers are also being forced to look elsewhere for housing they can afford.

As your state representative, I have been working hard to ensure that funding and opportunity are available on Cape Ann to increase our inventory of affordable and workforce housing. Just this past week, Senator Bruce Tarr, Representative Brad Hill and I met with leaders in affordable housing and the administrators of all of the towns on Cape Ann at a caucus led by the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce to discuss ways to build off each others work to be more effective in our actions.

Last session, the House of Representatives passed a housing bond bill that invested $1.8 billion into housing around the Commonwealth, including $400 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and $600 million for Department of Housing and Community Development projects. This session, the House is considering a bill that would increase the target of new units built by 2040 and to help make it easier for municipalities to create housing where they need it.

In 2016, I filed the bill that created the Community Investment Tax Credit, which is designed to enable community development corporations to partner with nonprofit, public, and private entities to improve economic opportunities for low and moderate income households and other residents in communities across the Commonwealth. This tax credit has been particularly helpful to Harborlight Community Partners which has developed affordable housing in Rockport. 

This session, I filed a bill that would make a one-time adjustment to the recording fees at the state’s Registries of Deeds to provide a higher CPA Trust Fund distribution. This increase would provide all 175 CPA communities with an estimated base match of 45% in the fall of 2020, up from an estimated 12% in 2019. Each CPA community is required to set aside a minimum of 10% of annual CPA funds for affordable housing purposes.

I look forward to continue working on this issue and making real progress.

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