Governor Baker unveiled $100 million MassHousing fund for workforce housing

May 27, 2016 - Front Section

Boston, MA Governor Charlie Baker unveiled a new $100 million MassHousing fund for the creation of workforce housing, increasing rental housing opportunities for households earning 61% to 120% of area median income (AMI), who may have incomes too high for subsidized housing but are priced out of affordable market rents as housing costs in Massachusetts continue to rise.

“Making more affordable housing options available to working Massachusetts families is essential to economic growth and development in communities throughout the Commonwealth,” said governor Baker. “These working middle-income families are the foundation of our economy and talented workforce, and the creation of this $100 million fund by MassHousing will advance opportunities for them to thrive and prosper.”

Working cooperatively with the Baker-Polito administration, MassHousing is committing $100 million in new resources designated for the creation of workforce housing throughout the Commonwealth, in addition to their support for resources serving very low and low-income households.

“MassHousing recognizes that many middle-income households are struggling with housing costs and the Agency felt it was important to create this fund for workforce housing,’’ said MassHousing Executive Director Timothy C. Sullivan. “We are committed to working with Governor Baker to increase affordable housing opportunities for low-, moderate-, and middle-income residents of the Commonwealth.’’

The announcement was made in Lynn near the future site of Gateway Residences on Washington Street, a 71-unit, mixed-income development receiving financing for 10 workforce housing units under the new initiative for moderate-income residents, and additional funding from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for low-income units.

“This new workforce housing fund is the latest in a series of steps we’ve taken to advance housing production for all the Commonwealth’s residents,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Housing production is economic development, and by expanding the range of housing options for middle-income residents, we will unlock new economic growth across Massachusetts.”

“The Commonwealth’s partnership with MassHousing is a great example of how the state can leverage significant outside resources to multiply the impact of our contributions in key policy areas to maximize the return on our investments,” said secretary of the executive office for administration and finance, Kristen Lepore. “The creation of this fund, when coupled with future strategic capital investments by the state, will induce additional private investment in the Massachusetts economy while providing critical support for hardworking middle-class families.”

MassHousing’s $100 million Investment for Workforce Housing:

• Targets individuals and families with incomes of 61% to 120% of AMI.

• Provides up to $100,000 of subsidy per workforce housing unit to create 1,000 new units of workforce housing statewide.

• Leverages strategic opportunities to use state-owned land.

• Consists of newly constructed units or refinancing of a housing community where new units of workforce housing will be created.

• Remains consistent with development financing in MassHousing’s enabling statute ensuring that in addition to the workforce housing tier, at least 20% of the units in a financed development will be affordable to households at or below 80% of AMI.

• Ensures workforce housing units will be deed restricted as affordable to households with incomes between 61% and 120% AMI for an extended period of time, generally 30 years or longer.

Increasing market rents present challenges for working families priced out of neighborhoods or spending more than the recommended 30% of their monthly income on housing expenses. A household would need to earn $100,000 a year to afford the median rent of $2,497 per month in the Greater Boston area, while the median income for a two-person household in the City of Boston is $78,500. A third of Boston metro area households fall within the income range of 61-120% of AMI.

MassHousing (The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency) is an independent, quasi-public agency created in 1966 and charged with providing financing for affordable housing in Massachusetts. The Agency raises capital by selling bonds and lends the proceeds to low- and moderate-income homebuyers and homeowners, and to developers who build or preserve affordable and/or mixed-income rental housing. MassHousing does not use taxpayer dollars to sustain its operations, although it administers some publicly funded programs on behalf of the Commonwealth. Since its inception, MassHousing has provided more than $19 billion for affordable housing. 



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