Dear <<First Name>> -
Do you have time to take an important action this week?
Abundant Housing MA supports an ongoing effort to pass Housing Choice (bill H.3507) before the end of this legislative session (July 31). If passed, Housing Choice would eliminate a major barrier to producing the multifamily and affordable homes we desperately need across Massachusetts. The MA house has punted on passing this common-sense reform over the past three sessions, inflaming our housing crisis.
Currently, Massachusetts is one of just 10 states to require a supermajority vote of Town Meetings, City Councils, or planning/zoning boards to pass zoning changes or approve special permits. From a 100% citywide affordable housing zoning overlay in Cambridge to an Accessory Dwelling Units in Salem - there are countless examples across the Commonwealth of attempts to pass pro-housing legislation that have failed despite having a majority vote.
If enacted, Housing Choice will enable municipalities to pass -- by a simple majority vote - certain zoning changes that would help advance housing production and smart growth. The bill would also allow a simple majority vote to approve certain special permits to build affordable housing around public transit or in mixed-use developments.
While not a panacea to solve the entire housing affordability crisis in Massachusetts - certainly additional strategies including tenant right to counsel, eviction record sealing, and extension of the emergency eviction moratorium are needed - passing Housing Choice is a critical step towards ending exclusionary zoning, particularly in suburban communities that have been particularly opposed to creating new multifamily and affordable housing.
I’m asking you to take the following steps to support this critical legislation:
- Please contact your State Representative and ask them to call on the House Bonding committee to re-insert Housing Choice provisions into the Economic Development Bill, H.4854.
- AHMA has produced a template letter you can use to help craft your letter; however, personal stories always make these letters more impactful on elected officials.
- Don't know who your State Representative is or how to contact them? You can use this tool to find your legislator - make sure to select your State Rep that is listed as "lower chamber." It will then provide you with the email address you can use to submit your letter.
- Read CHAPA statement on H.4854, the Economic Development Bill including call to re-insert Housing Choice provisions
- Read CHAPA statement on H.3507 the original Housing Choice bill, and H.3507 fact sheet
Thanks for taking action, and please stay tuned for more info from us in coming days about how you can help this effort.
Please also read on for a listing of our upcoming events, including a conversation tonight with Boston City Councilor Matt O'Malley.
President, Abundant Housing MA