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When affordable housing is under attack, what do we do? STAND UP! FIGHT BACK!
Since 1996, Massachusetts has lost 8,637 subsidized apartments as owners converted to high market rents and over 14,000 Affordable Homes are at risk in the next 2 years! The Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants (MAHT) is pushing The Enabling Act, which will help us save them by giving cities and towns the right to require Section 8 contracts to be renewed and 13A apartments to remain affordable. This bill can prevent our affordable homes from being converted into luxury condos and even reclaim units for affordable housing!
We need tenants, advocates and community organizers to show up and support this bill to SAVE OUR HOMES!
More details on the bills are included below.
What: Public Hearing on Bill S.716/H.2246/H.3019
When: Tuesday, January 23rd, 10AM*
Where: MA State House, Room B2
*Please arrive at 9:30AM to get a seat!
Since 1983, the Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants (MAHT) has helped tenants save more than 12,200 apartments as affordable housing through tenant organizing, one building at a time. The only statewide union of HUD tenants, MAHT has led the fight for legislation to save “expiring use” HUD housing.
Despite our efforts, since 1996 Massachusetts has lost 8,637 subsidized apartments as owners converted to high market rents. 14,231 more remain at risk through 2019. A new crisis in state Chapter 13A “expiring mortgage” buildings threatens 4,200 families with displacement and loss of housing in the next several years.
In 2009, the legislature adopted Chapter 40T, which provided important tools to address this crisis, notably a Right of First Refusal in the event of a sale. However, some owners are not selling, but simply converting their buildings to market rents, and thus escaping the regulatory tools of 40T.
Since the passage of 40T, owners have converted more than 2,747 units to high market rents in Plymouth, Brockton, Taunton, Worcester, Weymouth, Adams, Lawrence, Stoughton and Boston, including Burbank Apartments in the Fenway and Rutland Housing in the South End. The rate of loss since 1996 has actually accelerated since the passage of 40T, and will speed up more with the Chapter 13A crisis.
Clearly, additional legislation is needed to save at-risk “expiring use” housing.
To supplement Chapter 40T, the legislature can pass the Enabling Act to Save Affordable Housing, to “enable” any city or town to save expiring use housing, if they choose, at NO COST to the State or localities.
S.716 or H 2246 would allow cities or towns to:
-Require “expiring use” owners to renew expiring Section 8 contracts with HUD to preserve apartments for future low income seniors and families
-Require “expiring use” owners to convert HUD rental vouchers to Project Based Vouchers, preserving affordable housing for future tenants while allowing current tenants to move
-Prevent conversion to condominiums
-Allow cities to restore affordable rents for at least some of the 8,637 apartments which have already been converted
-Promote sales to nonprofits who pledge to keep the property affordable, when they can assemble the funds
H 3019 also includes a provision to extend expiring use restrictions after 13A mortgages end, a key provision needed to prevent mass displacement of 4,200 13A mortgage tenants
Rep. Rushing has also filed H 3541, a Home Rule Petition passed unanimously by the City of Boston to provide identical protections as H 3019, to prevent displacement of 600 families at Mercantile Wharf, Babcock Towers, Forbes Building, Newcastle-Saranac and other 13A buildings in Boston.