Controversial housing bill would allow more multi-family homes

Could allow more multi-unit development despite local zoning laws

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BOSTON (WWLP) – Massachusetts is one of the most expensive states in the nation in which to live, and residents are calling on the state to bring housing costs down.

Massachusetts needs to build some 17,000 new homes through 2040 to maintain current jobs in the state, according to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

One lawmaker filed a bill that would require cities and towns to have at least one district with dense, multi-family housing. Under the proposal, cities and towns would have 15 units per acre, and rural towns would have eight units per acre.

Critics argue that putting more multi-family homes in their communities will increase crime. Some residents say, however, that the need for affordable housing extends across income levels, including college graduates and working professionals.

“These housing prices we know are impacting people across income levels, and they certainly impact those with the lowest incomes the most. Most of them, if not all of them, are paying more than half of their income towards rent, and that is leaving them vulnerable to homelessness,” said Rachel Heller of the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association.

The bill is currently up for review and has yet to be approved.