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Impact By State

Massachusetts

Overview

Like many other parts of the country, Massachusetts's growth has resulted in significant housing affordability challenges. Combatting housing affordability issues in the state will require holistic solutions that address the needs of all Massachusetts residents.

Massachusetts has seen a sharp population increase, with 5.4% growth since 2010.

More than 846,500 Bay Staters call an apartment home, with demand on the rise.

59% of low-income renters spend more than half of their income on housing.

Between now and 2030, Massachusetts will need to add 6,587 new apartment homes each year to keep up with demand.

Legal Landscape

Legal Landscape

The state of Massachusetts preempts local municipalities from implementing rent control. According to Massachusetts law, “This policy is based on the belief that the public is best served by free market rental rates for residential properties and by unrestricted home ownership.”

Massachusetts
CONTINUE PREEMPTION

Rent control is an outdated concept. It benefits the very few—and not necessarily those in greatest need—at the expense of the larger society.

REJECT PRICE CONTROLS

It is important for lawmakers to pursue alternatives such as voucher-based rental assistance for those in greater need to better address housing affordability.

Alternative Approaches

Many states have adopted programs and initiatives to tackle the affordability crisis. In Massachusetts, policymakers and the housing industry have made concerted efforts to address the problem. Examples include:

HomeBASE

HomeBASE (Building Alternatives to Shelter) is an alternative to emergency assistance programs for homeless families in Massachusetts. Households must be eligible for Emergency Assistance (EA) in Massachusetts, who are very low-income households with children that are currently facing homelessness. Eligible families may receive either rental assistance or household assistance. Rental assistance is a two-year benefit and families must contribute 35% of their income towards rent and utilities.

Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program

The Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) helps low income families meet their rental obligations with both a tenant-based and a project-based approach. Tenants pay between 30% and 40% of their net income towards rent, depending on tenant income, household size, utilities included and location.

Residential Assistance for Families in Transition

The Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program is administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development in coordination with regional nonprofit housing agencies. The program provides short-term financial assistance to low income families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. To be eligible a household must include at least one dependent child under the age of 21 or a pregnant head of household. Eligible households will receive up to $4,000 in a 12-month period to pay for expenses to prevent homelessness or for moving expenses.

Resources

Useful information to help inform and guide the development of viable solutions to the housing affordability crisis.

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