HOUSING

 
Do we believe housing is a right and that affordable housing is part of what it should mean to be an American? I say yes.
— Matthew Desmond, American sociologist and sociology professor at Princeton University
 

We need a comprehensive approach that expands housing opportunities and builds equity for households and communities across the Commonwealth.

 

To have a safe, comfortable home is one of the most basic elements of human security and the fundamental base for all prosperity. FDR proclaimed there is the “right of every family to a decent home.” Without safe, secure, and affordable housing, no one can thrive and participate fully in our economy or our society.  

All across the Commonwealth a shortage of affordable housing is damaging people’s lives. Lower-income people, particularly people of color, are being displaced from their neighborhoods by rising housing costs. Young people, hampered by educational debt, cannot afford to buy a first home. Many communities, hit hard by the mortgage scams, face an ongoing crisis of foreclosures. Seniors often cannot afford to stay in their homes.

Housing, job locations and wages are increasingly out of whack in the Commonwealth. We need more housing in some areas, more jobs in others, and more affordability everywhere. We must work to balance activities across all 351 cities and towns, aligning jobs with housing and housing with jobs.  I will pursue a multipronged approach to creating the housing we need, where we need it, and to making it possible for jobs to be located more easily where we have available housing stock and accessible transit.

Inequality is not only about wages - it is about equity.  Owning a residence has been the primary way for people to accumulate wealth and rise into the middle class and for too long discriminatory banking practices have made that impossible for some.

The market will not provide enough affordable housing to serve all the needs of our communities.  Many households are priced out of the market yet not eligible for subsidized housing.  We need a stable supply of affordable rental housing and protection for renters from the forces of gentrification.

 

As Governor I will:

  • Protect families from displacement, foreclosures, and homelessness that are damaging rural and urban communities across the state.

  • Preserve rental housing with incentives for keeping rents low, paired with renovation and energy efficiency credits.

  • Expand community ownership models like co-housing and housing trusts.

  • Encourage owner-occupied multifamily houses and accessory units with new mechanisms for financing, construction, and preservation.

  • Facilitate permitting for adding rental units to larger existing homes, particularly for elderly homeowners.

  • Create sensible regulations on home-sharing to protect the critical income generating function for homeowners, while protecting long term rental opportunities.

  • Streamline home rule petitions allowing communities to experiment with new ways of addressing the housing crisis.

  • Support real estate transaction fees for affordable housing.

  • Support renovation, energy efficiency improvements, and lead removal in our older housing stock.

  • Revise policies that raise barriers to small-scale infill housing and favor only large developers.

  • Develop new community-based models for housing seniors.

  • Encourage transit-based, mixed-use, affordable and sustainable projects.

  • Increase incentives for communities to build affordable housing, particularly through new ownership models.

  • Create design challenges for low-cost rural housing to replace inefficient trailers.