McGonagle gets $1 million for Everett through housing bond bill

Special to the Independent

Rep. Joe McGonagle, along with his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed “An Act relative to the Affordable Homes Act,” which includes $6.5 billion in bond authorizations, tax credits, and over 20 policy initiatives that promote housing production, facilitate the development of affordable housing, and preserve public housing in Massachusetts.

This bill included a 1-million-dollar amendment from Rep. McGonagle for low-income housing units in Everett. 

“Everett is a growing city that cannot keep up with its’ housing needs,” said McGonagle. “Much like the rest of the Commonwealth, our community needs more housing that is deeply affordable to all. We want to keep people in Everett who want to stay in Everett. I’m grateful to my colleagues in the City for their collaboration on this issue. I’m also grateful to Speaker Mariano and Chair Michlewitz for their leadership on this legislation and recognizing the serious need in Massachusetts for low-income housing. In the middle of this housing crisis, I am grateful that I can fight and deliver for Everett, something I am excited to continue doing.”

In order to facilitate an increase in housing development outside the Greater Boston area, the bill includes $1 billion to allow for the potential to expand the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s water system to the Ipswich River Basin (Beverly, Danvers, Hamilton, Ipswich, Middleton, Lynn, Lynnfield Center Water District, Peabody, Salem, Topsfield, Wenham, Wilmington) and to the South Shore area (Abington, Avon, Brockton, Cohasset, Hanover, Hingham, Norwell, Scituate, Rockland, Weymouth, and the Former Naval Air Station). 

The bill also includes a new $150 million program to help municipalities convert commercial properties into multi-unit residential or mixed-use properties. After project completion, project sponsors would be eligible for a tax credit of up to 10 percent of the development costs. The bill also includes a new tax credit to incentivize production of homeownership units targeting households with incomes of up to 120 percent of the area median income (AMI). Additionally, the bill makes permanent the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC), while expanding the statewide cap on donations from $12 million to $15 million, and extends the sunset of the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit through December 31, 2030, while increasing the total available amount from $55 million to $110 million. 

Among the many policy initiatives included in the bill to create more housing, the bill permits one accessory dwelling unit (ADUs) equal to or less than 900 square feet to be built by-right on a property in single-family zoning districts in all Massachusetts communities. The bill also authorizes a court appointed receiver of a vacant residential property, in actions to enforce the sanitary code, to sell the property at fair market value to a nonprofit which will rehabilitate the property, correct sanitary code violations, and sell the property to a first-time homebuyer with an income not more than 120 percent of AMI.

The bill also establishes a local option to require property owners to notify the municipality and tenants of its intention to sell a property and to allow a tenant association with the required minimum tenant participation to select a successor entity to act on its behalf to purchase the property. The bill also allows a municipality that has adopted inclusionary zoning, incentive zoning, or a density bonus ordinance or by-law to enter into an agreement with a housing developer to provide a preference for affordable housing to low- or moderate-income veterans for up to 10 percent of the affordable units in a development.

Bond authorizations include: 

Public housing 

• $2 billion to support the repair, rehabilitation, and modernization of over 43,000 public housing units across Massachusetts, with 25 percent of the funds dedicated to preserve housing for those with incomes below 30 percent AMI.  $150 million to decarbonize the public housing stock and $15 million for accessibility upgrades 

• $200 million to support Local Housing Authorities (LHAs) who partner with developers to add mixed-income developments on LHA land, leveraging funds to maintain and preserve public housing while increasing the overall housing supply 

Housing vulnerable populations 

• $200 million to support innovative and alternative forms of rental housing including single person occupancy (SPO) units, transitional and permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness, housing for seniors and veterans, and transitional units for persons recovering from substance use disorder. 25 percent of funds must be used to fund projects which preserve housing for those with incomes below 30 percent AMI

• $70 million to support the development of appropriate community-based housing for Department of Mental Health (DMH) and Department of Developmental Services (DDS) clients 

• $60 million to modify homes of individuals or families with disabilities or seniors so that they may maintain residency or return home from institutional settings 

• $55 million to support appropriate housing for people with disabilities who are not DMH or DDS clients 

• $20 million to establish a veterans supportive housing program to develop and preserve supportive housing for veterans and their families experiencing homelessness, including wraparound services

Housing development 

• $800 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund which provides resources to create or preserve affordable housing for households earning less than 100 precent of AMI

• $250 million to accelerate the development of mixed-income multifamily housing 

• $200 million for the Workforce Housing Fund which funds housing development for households earning less than 120 percent of AMI 

• $100 million for the Commonwealth Builder program for the construction of affordable single-family homes for households earning between 70 and 120 percent of AMI, primarily in Gateway Cities 

• $50 million for the acquisition, rehabilitation, and sale of distressed properties 

• $50 million to create a new Healthy Home program to provide grants and loans for programs to make homes habitable. Half of all funds to be administered to owners of buildings in Gateway municipalities

• $10 million to facilitate affordable housing production in Gateway municipalities


• $425 million to support preservation, new construction and rehabilitation projects through the Housing Stabilization Fund and the Community Investment and Preservation Fund

• $275 million to consolidate the existing Transit Oriented Housing Program and the Climate Resilient Housing Program and create a new, innovative program to accelerate and unlock new housing. 25 percent of the funds must be used to fund projects which preserve housing for those with incomes below 60 percent of AMI 

• $175 million for municipal infrastructure projects to encourage denser housing development

• $50 million to provide payments to municipalities that receive a Housing Choice designation through high housing production and/or demonstration of best practices, including a grant program to assist MBTA Communities in complying with the multi-family zoning requirement in the MBTA Communities Law 

• $25 million for grants to municipalities for planning and zoning initiatives that support housing production, workforce training and economic opportunities, child care and early education initiatives and climate resiliency initiatives 

• $20 million to provide incentive payments to municipalities who adopt smart growth housing districts

Having passed the House of Representatives 145-13, the bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration. 

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