With all the talk about the Massachusetts governor’s race this election season, you may have missed the fact that one of the three referendum questions on the ballot aims to repeal our state’s primary affordable housing law known as Chapter 40B.
As an association, MAR is working hard to get the word out to Vote NO on Question 2 this November 2, to make sure the law is NOT repealed.
To do this, MAR has joined with more than 200 individuals and organizations to form a grassroots coalition called the Campaign to Protect the Affordable Housing Law. These members represent hundreds of thousands of residents committed to protecting this law. This coalition includes civic, business, religious, and academic leaders as well as senior, environmental, housing, and civil rights groups. In fact, all three of the major gubernatorial candidates (Governor Patrick, Charlie Baker and Timothy Cahill) support voting NO on Question 2.
This is what we know about Chapter 40B:
• It has enabled builders to create 58,000 new homes in cities, suburbs, and small towns;
• Of these, 29,000 homes are reserved for households earning less than 80% of the area median income, or about $66,000 for a family of four in Greater Boston;
• The affordable housing law is our most important tool for keeping families in the Commonwealth, as home prices and rents remain out of reach for many families struggling to get by.
• In the last 10 years, Chapter 40B has generated approximately $9.25 Billion in construction-related spending.
• For more details, go to http://www.protectaffordablehousing.org
What else does 40B do? It encourages the production of affordable housing in every city and town in Massachusetts so that all families can have a choice of where to live. It sets a reasonable goal for each community to provide at least 10% of its homes as affordable. The number of cities and towns that have met the 10% threshold more than doubled from 24 in 1997 to 51 today with an additional 40 communities above 8%. That leaves 260 cities and towns out of 351 that don’t have at least 8% of their housing stock as affordable. It’s pretty clear why we still need this law.
MAR been a supporter of affordable housing and Chapter 40B, both in actions and in words, since the law’s inception in 1969. And more importantly, the Association, as part of its mission statement, supports the goal of “a decent home and a suitable living environment for every family.” This goal is not possible without a commitment to address the need for affordable housing. Chapter 40B has been the most successful instrument for creating affordable home ownership and rental housing units in Massachusetts.
Every law can be potentially improved, but to take this vital tool for creating affordable housing completely away isn’t an acceptable option.
Remember to Vote NO on 2!