Resources that provide assistance to communities to plan for the development of affordable housing for low- to moderate income households.

Primary Resources (see summaries below)

  • Chapter 40B
  • Chapter 40R (Smart Growth Zoning Act)
  • Community Development Block Grant
  • Community Preservation Act
  • Local Initiative Program
  • MassWorks Infrastructure Program
  • Planned Production
  • Priority Development Fund
  • Urban Center Housing Tax Increment Financing Program

 

Secondary Resources (see summaries below)

  • Citizen Planner Training Collaborative
  • Peer-to-Peer Technical Assistance Program
  • Relocation Assistance Program
  • Smart Growth / Smart Energy Toolkit
  • Urban Renewal Program

 

Additional Assistance for Affordable Housing Developers

The organizations linked below provide affordable housing resources and programs directed to non-profit and for-profit affordable housing developers, as well as valuable affordable housing information, guides and other resources for cities and towns.

Your Local Housing Authority can be an excellent source of information and resources regarding affordable housing development.

Please note that all units produced shall be marketed in a fair and open process consistent with state and federal fair housing laws.

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Primary Resources: Summaries

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Program : Chapter 40B (Comprehensive Permit Law) Also see Planned Production 
Purpose:
To increase the supply and to improve the regional distribution of low and moderate income housing by allowing a limited suspension of existing local regulations 

Key Eligibility Criteria:
Project sponsor/applicant must be either a:

  • Public agency
  • Non-profit, or
  • Limited dividend organization

Prior to applying for a Comprehensive Permit, a project sponsor must receive preliminary approval (normally a Project Eligibility/Site Approval Letter) under a state or federal subsidy program

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

40B is a law, not a subsidy program; however, eligibility for a Comprehensive Permit under 40B requires approval from an eligible state or federal subsidy program. There are a variety of eligible resources offering benefits that range from technical assistance to low interest financing to grant funding.

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Program : Chapter 40R 
Purpose:
To substantially increase the supply of housing and enable municipalities to create Smart Growth Zoning Overlay Districts for the production of compact/high density housing. It targets the shortfall in housing for low- and moderate-income households, by requiring the inclusion of affordable units. 

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • All MA cities and towns may apply.
  • Development must include housing:
    • In an area of concentrated development such as town centers, or
    • Near transit stations, or
    • Be in a highly suitable location
  • 20% of housing units must be affordable.
  • Municipality must adopt a 40R zoning district.
  • Minimum residential densities of 8 units/acre for single family; 12 units/acre for 2-3 family; and 20 units/acre for multi-family

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • Incentive payments of up to $600,000 (plus a one time density bonus payment of $3000 for each unit) for construction of new housing, substantial rehabilitation of existing buildings, or conversion to residential use 40R projects are eligible for payment under Chapter 40S which reimburses for some of the net increase in the cost of educating students living in new housing in smart growth districts. This funding is available starting in FY2008.

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Program:  Community Development Block Grant
Purpose: To help cities and towns implement housing, community, and economic development projects that assist low and moderate-income residents, or that revitalize areas of slum or blight

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • MA cities and towns with populations over 50,000 receive CDBG funds directly from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • MA cities and towns with populations under 50,000 that do not receive CDBG funds directly from HUD are eligible to receive CDBG funding from the Department of Housing and Community Development.

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

Eligible CDBG projects include but are not limited to:

  • housing rehabilitation or development
  • micro-enterprise or other business assistance
  • infrastructure
  • community/public facilities
  • public social services
  • planning
  • removal of architectural barriers, and
  • downtown or area revitalization

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Program : Community Preservation Act (CPF) (M.G.L. c.44B) 
Purpose:

  • To allow cities and towns to exercise control over local planning decisions
  • To allow cities and towns to create a CPF by assessing a surcharge on annual real estate taxes, which can be used to address three core community concerns:
    • Acquisition and preservation of open space
    • Creation and support of affordable housing
    • Acquisition and preservation of historic buildings and landscapes

Key Eligibility Criteria: Voters must approve establishment of a CPF by vote in an annual municipal or state election.

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • A minimum of 10% of the annual revenues of the CPF must be used for each of the three core community concerns.
  • The remaining 70% can be allocated for any combination of the allowed uses, or for land for recreational use.

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Program: Local Initiative Program (LIP ) 
Purpose:

  • To give cities and towns more flexibility in their efforts to provide low and moderate-income housing
  • To enable cities and towns working with developers to develop low and moderate income housing without additional state or federal financial resources

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • All MA cities and towns may apply.
  • Housing supported by local government that will serve households below 80% of the area median income

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • The Commonwealth provides services and technical assistance as a subsidy for creation, maintenance and preservation of LIPs
  • Two types of housing are supported by the program:
    • Local Initiative Projects developed through the comprehensive permit process under M.G.L. Chapter 40B, and
    • Local Action Units developed through a city or town's zoning or permit issuance process
  • Inclusion on the Department of Housing and Community Development's Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI)

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Program:  MassWorks Infrastructure Program 
Purpose:  To provide public infrastructure funding to support economic development. MassWorks consolidates these six grant programs into one office to streamline the grant process:

  • Community Development Action Grant (CDAG)
  • Growth District Initiative (GDI) Grants
  • Massachusetts Opportunity Relocation and Expansion Program (MORE)
  • Public Works Economic Development (PWED) Grants
  • Small Town Rural Assistance Program (STRAP)
  • Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Grant Program

Key Eligibility Criteria

  • Please see the MassWorks Infrastructure webpage for further information.

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • Please see the MassWorks Infrastructure webpage for further information.

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Program: Planned Production 
Purpose:

  • To encourage cities and towns to develop affordable housing plans
  • To give more control over the comprehensive permit process to cities and towns that are under the 10% threshold of Chapter 40B but are making steady progress in producing affordable housing on an annual basis

Key Eligibility Criteria:

All MA cities and towns:

  • Under the 10% threshold of Chapter 40B, and
  • With an affordable housing plan that is:
    • Approved by the Department of Housing and Community Development, and
    • Granted certification of compliance with the plan

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • Planned Production is not a funding source; it is a regulation under Chapter 40B.
  • Creation of a plan by which the municipality will meet its affordable housing needs in a manner consistent with the Chapter 40B statute and regulations
  • Production of housing units in accordance with an affordable housing plan.
  • A decision by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) relative to a comprehensive permit application will be deemed "consistent with local needs" under MGL Chapter 40B. "Consistent with local needs" means the ZBA's decision will be upheld by the Housing Appeals Committee.

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Program : Priority Development Fund (PDF) 
Purpose:
To provide cities and towns with resources to develop strategies that will result in a significant increase in the production of housing, especially mixed-income rental housing and modestly sized, modestly priced "starter homes" 

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • All MA cities and towns may apply

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • MassHousing grants of up to $50,000 administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Community initiated activities associated with the production of housing on identified municipally controlled sites
  • Production units must consist of:
    • Newly constructed housing units or rehabilitated units that have been vacant for two or more years, or
    • Units that have been condemned, or made uninhabitable through fire damage, or
    • Non-residential structures adapted for re-use as housing

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Program: Urban Center Housing - Tax Increment Financing (UCH-TIF) 
Purpose:
To promote multi-unit housing and commercial development, including affordable housing, in commercial centers through tax increment financing. Such development must be primarily residential 

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • .All cities and towns having designated commercial centers with a need for multi-unit housing
  • Development must be primarily residential, and 25% of housing units produced must be affordable.
  • A participating city or town must adopt an Urban Center Housing Tax Increment Financing Plan ("UCH-TIF Plan") for a designated commercial area (the "UCH-TIF Zone").
  • The UCH-TIF Plan must include development plans for proposed public and private projects in the UCH-TIF Zone and executed agreement(s) with property owners undertaking new development who will be receiving tax increment exemptions ("UCH-TIF Agreements") on these projects.
  • Before submitting an application for approval of a UCH-TIF Zone and a UCH-TIF Plan to the Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD), a municipality must implement a local review and approval process.

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • DHCD provides no direct funding.
  • Cities and towns may grant a real estate tax exemption up to 20 years on all or part of the increased value of improved real estate due to new construction or significant improvements.
  • Tax increment financing may be combined with grants and loans from local, state and federal development programs.
  • Multi-unit housing in designated commercial centers with 25% of units affordable to households with incomes at or below 80% of area median income
  • Primarily residential development

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Secondary Resources: Summaries

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Program : Citizen Planner Training Collaborative (CPTC) 
Purpose:
To provide technical assistance for planning and zoning to cities and towns 

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • City or town officials, including Selectmen, Building Inspectors, and members of Planning Boards and Zoning Boards of Appeal, etc.

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

Trainees pay nominal fees for annual workshops and conferences, including:

  • Comprehensive Permit - MGL 40B
  • How to Hold A Perfect Public Hearing
  • Introduction to the Subdivision Control Law and ANR
    • Roles and Responsibilities of Planning & Zoning Boards

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Program : Peer - to - Peer Technical Assistance Program 
Purpose:
To provide small grants to municipalities for short-term problem solving or technical assistance projects. Municipalities may apply for grants of up to $1,000 to employ appointed or elected municipal officials from other communities to provide technical assistance related to community development and/or capacity building at the local level.

Key Eligibility Criteria:

MA cities and towns with populations of under 50,000 that do not receive CDBG funds directly from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • CDBG Technical Assistance Funds provide for grants of up to $1,000.
  • Exclusively for technical assistance related to community development and/or capacity building related to community development at the local level
  • Grant funds may be used to pay for up to 30 hours ($900) of technical assistance and up to $100 for reimbursement of travel, photocopying and/or the cost of incidental materials.
  • A maximum of 10 eligible applications are funded yearly on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Program: Relocation Assistance Program 
Purpose:
To provide advice, assistance and approvals for and to public agencies that cause businesses and individuals to move as a result of real estate acquisitions (voluntary or involuntary) or takings

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • Any residential or business occupant displaced by a public or private entity using public funds

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • Fair and reasonable relocation payments to displaced persons and businesses must be made under MGL Chapter 79A by any agency or person that is acquiring real property or issuing an order to vacate real property for purposes of rehabilitation or other improvement or for demolition purposes.
  • Actions include:
    • Taking of real property by eminent domain
    • Negotiated sale
    • Rehabilitation or other improvement
  • Demolition

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Program: Smart Growth / Smart Energy Toolkit 
Purpose:

  • To provide easy access to information on twelve different planning , zoning and subdivision techniques
  • To increase understanding of smart growth tools and how to customize the techniques to local circumstances

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • The Toolkit is designed to be both an educational guide and a reference document

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • Provided by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

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Program : Urban Renewal Program (UR) 
Purpose:

  • To redevelop deteriorated areas (substandard, decadent or blighted open areas) by providing the economic environment needed to attract and support private investment for residential, commercial, industrial, business, governmental, recreational, educational, hospital or other purposes
  • To help cities and towns establish and strengthen urban renewal agencies
  • To provide technical assistance in the development and implementation of urban renewal plans

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • All MA cities and towns
  • Urban Renewal Agencies (Redevelopment Authorities and Consolidated Departments of Community Development)

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

Funding: Urban Revitalization Development Grant Program (Requires separate application)

Eligible Uses:

  • Planning
  • Establishment of design and rehabilitation standards
  • Acquisition of land, including taking of land by eminent domain
  • Assembly of land into developable parcels and disposition for private redevelopment
  • Relocation of businesses and residential occupants
  • Demolition or rehabilitation of structures
  • Improvements to infrastructure
  • Issuance of bonds and borrowing of money

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Contact

DHCD Division of Community Services at 617-573-1400