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AARP Urges 'Bold Action' on Governor's Housing Bill

Healey Housing.jpg
Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities Ed Augustus, Governor Maura Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll appearing at the Joint Committee on Housing Thursday, January 18

AARP Massachusetts has weighed in on Governor Maura Healey’s housing proposal urging legislators to take bold action to combat the growing issues of housing affordability and accessibility.

AARP Massachusetts State Director Mike Festa submitted testimony to The Joint Committee On Housing on Thursday June 18th in favor of the bill – “The Affordable Homes Act"

House Bill 4138 would allocate $4.12 billion to jumpstart construction of new units, renovate public housing, and turn state land into housing opportunities.

“This bill provides concrete steps to offer relief to residents of the Commonwealth struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Our state’s older residents are greatly concerned about their housing needs and rightly so” said Mike Festa, State Director AARP Massachusetts

Governor Healey sponsored the bill. Healey estimates that the Commonwealth must produce 200,000 homes by 2030 to tackle the existing housing shortage and meet growing demand.

In testimony, AARP Massachusetts pointed out that costs are rising for everyone, but according to the Pew Research Center a quarter of households headed by someone 65 plus are spending more than 50% of their income on rent and more than half spend over 30%.

“Developing new housing, making existing housing more accessible, and creating generational equity through homeownership are crucial for the future of our state’” said Festa in written testimony.

Besides $4.12 billion, there are also some policy changes. The bill would streamline the permitting process for building accessory dwelling units. The governor's proposal would also allow local communities to charge a small percentage for transfer fees for properties over a million dollars. That money would go to bolster local affordable housing.

The legislation would also establish a Commission on Senior Housing & Age-Friendly Communities. It would study how to expand the supply of affordable, supportive housing and create more livable communities that would allow older citizens to age in place and have access to services

You can read the Bill here.
Read Mike Festa’s testimony here

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