Housing Justice Campaign Kickoff Event
- When: Thursday, March 16th @ 10am
- Place: Massachusetts State House (24 Beacon Street. Boston)
- Location: FRONT STEPS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE HOUSE
- Boston Project Rebound Reentry Services, Inc (Will be there! Please Join Us !)
GBIO Housing Justice Campaign Asks And Overview
GBIO’s multi-faceted, statewide Housing Justice Campaign focus on the public housing, affordable rental and home ownership opportunity, and housing access. We define housing justice as the ability for all people to have safe, healthy and clean place to live in their communities, and so are seeking to improve housing access and quality for group that have been unfairly denied it, and to support financing, zoning and ownership policies that help to close racial and class disparities in the housing market. These campaigns all originate from the lived and recognized experiences in GBIO’s base of 60 member congregations and organizations, representing some 107,000 individuals in Massachusetts, and are centered in our commitment to promote racial and economic justice.
- Safe And Dignified State Public Housing
- Approve $184 Million in Operating Funds for local Housing Authorities across the commonwealth in the 2024 annual budget.
- Authorize through the 2023 five year housing bond bill, $8.5 billion in accumulated backlog of deferred capital projects.
- We support MUPHT ask for 7.7 million critical new ” wrap-around” tenant support in the 2024 budget.
- More Funding for affordable housing and ownership
- Pass statewide enabling legislation for local option to collect real estate transfer fees to increase funding for affordable housing, (HD 2857/SD 1982)
- Access to Quality housing for Returning Citizens
- Pass SD.818 which would support accessible housing by prioritizing Returning Citizen in state funded programs, and allocates emergency section 8 vouchers for returning citizens.
- Pass .2090 so that ALL Returning Citizens are guaranteed Sate Ids upon release
- Increasing Affordable housing Supply
- Support the MBTA communities and ensure towns comply, without punishing housing authorities
Safe And Dignified State Public Housing
GBIO seeks to dramatically increase funding for operations, sustainable upkeep, and deferred maintenance in public housing. The lived experience of GBIO members in public housing tell us about the intolerable conditions they face every day. Our research reveals that for decades the state legislature and governor have failed to allocate anywhere near the funds needed for both healthy operations and the accumulating capital repairs required by the 43,000 units of state- funded public housing. Our asks reflect the true need of this valuable and essential Massachusetts asset.
Access to Quality housing for Returning Citizens
GBIO will focus on promoting housing security by prioritizing Returning Citizens in Dept of Housing and Economic Development programs, understanding that stable housing is critical to ensuring public safety by reducing recidivism. Equally important, housing entirely depends on the possession of a state ID or drivers license, and a mandate to ensure that a state ID Accompanies every Returning Citizen leaving incarceration is central to our work.
More Funding for affordable housing and ownership
GBIO seeks to bring new funds into local communities to be used for affordable rental housing and home ownership through passage by the legislature of the real estate transfer fee. This state legislation will allow municipalities to adopt a one time , small fee on real estate sales over a certain transaction amount (e.g.,$2million), whose proceeds will go into that community’s Affordable housing fund. These funds can be used for capital needs of new affordable housing projects, preservation of existing affordable housing properties, mortgage down payment support for first time home buyers, or rental subsidies for low-income households.
Increasing Affordable Housing Supply
GBIO Will focus here on the implementation of the MBTA communities zone act to increase housing supply in local communities where GBIO has presence. This New law, in 2021, requires the 175 communities in Central and Eastern Massachusetts that are served by the MBTA’s subway, and commuter rail systems to create new zoning districts in which multi-family housing is permitted near transit stations at densities that are higher than currently allowed, but still reasonable in transit-oriented locations. Low-density zoning that inhibits construction of multi-family properties has helped keep home prices high and out of reach for many, and the areas in our cities and towns near transit are natural and environmentally appropriate locations for such development. GBIO can build leadership to support this re-zoning process, and ensure that local zoning changes include considerations of affordability.
The true need for the public housing operating subsidy in the FY 2024 state budget (line
7004-9005) exceeds $200 million. Our demand is to double the current amount to $184 million
in FY 2024 and continue to increase it in real dollars over the next few years. State law
(M.G.L.c.121B §32) requires the Commonwealth to fill the gap between the rents received from
public housing tenants and the cost of operations, i.e., Subsidy = Actual Operating Costs less
Rental Income. The appropriation for this subsidy has not come close to meeting this legal
ESTIMATE BASED ON HUD OPERATING SUBSIDY FOR FEDERALLY SUPPORTED PUBLIC HOUSING
The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development provides an operating subsidy for
federally supported public housing. Although widely recognized to be insufficient, it far exceeds
the current state subsidy. In 2022 the HUD subsidy was $406 per unit per month. Multiplying 1
this number by the 43,000 state-supported public housing units in the Commonwealth would
provide $209 million in 2022 dollars.
CORROBORATION BASED ON 2005 HARVARD STUDY
In September 2005 the Harvard University Graduate School of Design published a study of
operating costs for state-funded public housing in Massachusetts. It concluded the actual need
for the state subsidy was $341 per unit per month in 2005 dollars. In 2023 dollars, this
translates into $272 million.
PUBLIC HOUSING WOULD REMAIN THE COMMONWEALTH’S MOST COST-EFFECTIVE OPTION.
At $184 million, or $357 per month, the operating subsidy would still be the Commonwealth’s
most cost-effective housing for low-income seniors, families, and the disabled. Housing a family
in a hotel room in Western Massachusetts cost $3000/month in 2017.* Assisted living costs
over $4,000 per person per month anywhere in Massachusetts.^ Long-term care in nursing
homes exceeds $10,000 per month for a semi-private room everywhere in the state.* Enabling
families to remain in public housing and allowing seniors to age in place and stay out of
long-term care saves millions of dollars annually!
BASIS FOR A CAPITAL INVESTMENT NEED OF $8.5 BILLION TO PRESERVE
STATE-SUPPORTED PUBLIC HOUSING ACROSS MASSACHUSETTS
The Capital Planning System of the Department of Housing and Community Development
catalogs the condition of every building and site in the public housing portfolio, providing local
housing authorities with detailed technical information to make long-term investments. This
system shows over $3.9 billion in 2020 dollars of one-for-one replacement of items that have
expired.* Soft costs, such as tenant relocation, architectural, engineering, legal fees and
remediation of hazardous materials, are not included. These typically increase costs by at least
30% bringing the base number to $5.1 Billion. Furthermore, as the majority of the public
housing developments are over 50 years old, most will need to be brought up to current building
code for the safety of the residents that reside there. Sprinklers, fire alarm systems, arc fault
breakers, ADA requirements, proper ventilation as well as stormwater management and green
community initiatives must be addressed. Local Housing Authority Executive Directors who are
working with GBIO estimate these would cost $3.4 billion in today’s dollars. That brings the total
to more than $8.5 billion in today’s dollars. Costs will only escalate over time.
1 https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/ph/PH_Dashboard. Accessed 3-2-23