For Immediate Release - November 07, 2013

State Honored with Robert C. Larson Workforce Housing Award

CHICAGO, Illinois – Wednesday, November 6, 2013 – Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki today accepted a national award from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) recognizing the Commonwealth’s leadership in pursuing a strategy to increase the supply of housing needed, and in the places needed, for its workforce.

Last November, Governor Deval Patrick announced the Commonwealth’s goal of creating 10,000 multi-family housing units per year through 2020, a first in the nation statewide housing production goal.  The “Housing that Works” initiative is particularly focused on promoting multi-family housing in city and town centers, near transit and well-connected to employment. 

"The Patrick Administration is intensely focused on promoting the kind of housing that we need to keep and attract the workforce that fuels our innovation economy,” said Secretary Bialecki. "I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the Commonwealth and I look forward to continuing our efforts to support housing and economic growth in our communities."

The Urban Land Institute also recognized the Commonwealth’s comprehensive set of policies and programs designed to encourage housing for those with a middle range of incomes, including comprehensive permit applications (Chapter 40B), smart growth zoning districts (Chapter 40R), the expiring use program to preserve affordable units (Chapter 40T) and the new Housing Development Incentive Program (Chapter 40V).  ULI noted that through these programs and others, the Commonwealth has helped produce at least 4,000 such units.

Another key part of the Commonwealth’s approach is using public investments in a strategic way to trigger private housing and mixed-use investment.  Last week, the Administration began announcing the 2013 MassWorks infrastructure grants, which placed a priority on municipal projects supporting multi-family housing in mixed use districts. 

Through strategic investments in housing and economic development projects, Massachusetts is becoming an even more attractive place to live, work, and play.  In addition, as many of these investments are in Gateway Cities, the state is strengthening these communities and creating new market rate housing in areas that are more affordable.

Preliminary numbers from the U.S. Census indicate that building permits for almost 5,500 multi-family units were issued in the first eight months of this year, 65% higher than a comparable date in 2012 and the highest total since 2006. 

This award not only recognizes the Patrick Administration’s efforts to stimulate multi-family housing but also the work of the Legislature and the Commonwealth’s quasi-public agencies which support housing:  MassHousing, MassDevelopment, the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, the Community Development Economic Assistance Corporation and the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation. 

The Robert C. Larson Workforce Housing Public Policy Award highlights state and local programs that support the production, rehabilitation or preservation of workforce housing. Massachusetts was listed as a finalist for the award in October and “case studies” for each finalist were released.  The other 2013 winners were Baltimore Housing and the Park City Municipal Corporation. ULI's Terwilliger Center for Housing, which administers the award program, is a national leader in research and support for the creation of workforce housing.

"Each recipient not only demonstrates the value and effectiveness of having a comprehensive suite of housing policy tools that are responsive to market challenges, but they also create a clear vision for expanding housing affordability," said Lynn Ross, Executive Director of the Terwilliger Center for Housing.

For more on the initiatives being recognized by this award, view the Commonwealth’s Housing that Works webpage: http://www.mass.gov/hed/economic/initiatives/housingthatworks/housing-that-works.html.

The case study prepared by ULI is at: http://www.uli.org/wp-content/uploads/ULI-Documents/MA_in-layout_FINAL.pdf.

 

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