Massachusetts lawmakers considering affordable housing bond bill

The House overwhelmingly approved the housing bond bill in January

Massachusetts State House Photo: Thinkstock

BOSTON (WWLP)—Lawmakers are considering a bill that would invest $1.7 billion in producing and improving Massachusetts affordable housing over the next five years.

More than 60 percent of low-income families pay more than half their income to housing, according to a Center for Social Policy report. The Senate Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets heard from the public Tuesday on a bill that could make affordable housing more accessible in Massachusetts.

The bill would finance the production and preservation of housing for low and moderate income residents.

“The bond bill before this committee is essential for us to be able to continue to make progress towards making Massachusetts affordable for all our residents,” Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash said.

The Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, or CHAPA, supports the legislation, but wants the state to further expand the low income housing tax credit to help preserve affordable housing. The program gives credits to agencies that make private investments in affordable housing. CHAPA is calling on the state to authorize $5 million in additional tax credits, for a total allocation of $25 million.

“That’s all the more important now that federal tax reform has gone through and there will be less money available from the federal tax credit in Massachusetts to preserve that affordable housing,” CHAPA’s Director of Public Policy Eric Shupin said.

The House overwhelmingly approved the housing bond bill in January.

The committee will review testimony from the hearing before making recommendations.