Program Description

DHCD's Office of Sustainable Communities (formerly the Community Assistance Unit) works in partnership with cities and towns to address the complex challenges of development, growth and revitalization in a multidisciplinary way that fosters sustainability. The Office of Sustainable Communities assists communities to:

  • Integrate housing, transportation, economic development, and land use to foster sustainable development
  • Build and strengthen civic engagement
  • Adopt practices and policies that support community and economic development to revitalize neighborhoods, downtowns and city/town centers
  • Use the state's planning and production tools and resources to expand the supply of housing available to a range of incomes
  • Incorporate green design into development
  • Work cooperatively to promote regionalism
  • Provide guidance on local government by-laws, ordinances and charters
  • Meet the state requirements for relocation of individuals and/or businesses

The Office of Sustainable Communities supports local community development and capacity building activities, providing assistance, workshops and training, and resources in the following areas:

A Guide to State Development Resources
links to key resources provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that assist in the planning, funding and implementation of a wide range of local development projects.

Affordable Housing Development
assistance and training on Chapter 40B requirements, Housing Production Plans, and local actions to expand housing opportunities.

Chapter 40R Smart Growth Zoning
assistance to promote higher density residential development in smart growth locations, such as in existing city and town centers and near transit; also provides model by-laws and design guidelines.

Citizen Planner Training Collaborative
instruction, best practices and networking for local planning and zoning officials on current land use requirements.

Community Revitalization
support local efforts to revitalize underutilized, disinvested and/or deteriorated areas to promote private investment for housing and commercial/economic development through the state's Urban Renewal Program and other state development tools.

Housing Development Incentive Program
the Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) was created as M.G.L. 40V.

Land Use, Zoning and Subdivision Controls
guidance on land use planning, zoning and subdivision controls to local officials, board and commission members, planners, and the development community.

Peer-to-Peer Technical Assistance
funding for peer consultants (local appointed or elected officials) to assist municipalities with specific issues related to community and economic development and/or capacity building.

Relocation Assistance
assistance and approvals for public and private entities that require businesses and/or individuals to move as a result of state/federal and/or locally funded projects