- Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll
- Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities
Media Contact for Governor Healey Highlights Affordable Homes Act in Worcester and Amherst
Karissa Hand, Press Secretary
Amherst — Today, Governor Maura T. Healey visited housing developments in Worcester and Amherst to highlight her $4 billion Affordable Homes Act that proposes revolutionary investments in housing throughout Massachusetts. This package of spending, policy and programmatic actions will help drive housing production, housing preservation and invest in the state’s housing safety net system.
“This historic package tackles the housing crisis head on to help make Massachusetts more affordable and accessible in every region – from Amherst to Worcester to the Cape. It will spur the creation, preservation and modernization of nearly 70,000 housing units and gives communities the tools they need to enact local solutions to their housing challenges,” said Governor Healey. "We need to meet this moment by increasing housing production and lowering costs so people can continue to live, work and build a future in Massachusetts.”
“As a former Mayor, I know how important it is that we make our housing sector more affordable for growing families and workers so they are able to stay here in Massachusetts,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. “The Affordable Homes Act addresses our housing shortage and will bring costs down, making life in Massachusetts more affordable for all.”
“Housing costs are the number one issue facing Massachusetts families. When the governor created the new Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, she gave us a clear charge: Build more housing and build it faster – drive down those housing costs,” said Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities Ed Augustus. “The Affordable Homes Act will empower communities to tackle rising housing costs and ensure the next generation can continue to call places like Worcester and Amherst home.”
In Worcester, Governor Healey and local officials toured the Courthouse Lofts, a mixed-income redeveloped property with 118 units in Downtown Worcester that preserved its significant historic exterior. The building is in the Lincoln Square neighborhood and was formerly used as the Worcester County Courthouse, which closed in 2007. The project was financed through local, state, and federal resources, including the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and Housing Stabilization Fund – two programs that would be expanded by the Affordable Homes Act.
“I am beyond thrilled that Governor Healey has put forward a plan to kickstart the production of new homes and modernize existing ones across Massachusetts,” said Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury). “The Commonwealth’s housing crisis is being felt by everyone, but especially in communities in my district like Worcester where long-time renters are being priced out of their homes because there are simply not enough units to meet demand. While the reasons for our housing crunch are nuanced, one of the most straightforward ways we can help alleviate this burden is by reducing scarcity through building more homes – be it single family, townhomes, apartments, or condos. The Governor’s proposal is a great first step – I am hopeful that the Legislature will quickly come together with the Healey Administration to make sure everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home, regardless of income.”
“Although I was unable to attend today’s visit from Governor Healey, I’m grateful and excited for the Housing Bond Bill. Affordable housing paramount to the continued success of the City of Worcester, and I look forward to seeing what comes from this new investment,” said Mayor of Worcester Joseph Petty.
“Thank you to the Healey-Driscoll Administration, and Housing Secretary Augustus, for their bold leadership to address the Commonwealth’s housing challenges, and for their ongoing support of Worcester and Central Massachusetts,” said Worcester City Manager Eric D. Batista. “The Affordable Homes Act will spark more affordable housing, sustainable development, and opportunities for residents of all socioeconomic status.”
In Amherst, the Governor toured the East Gables Studio Apartment Complex, which provides 28 units of permanent supportive housing in walking distance to downtown and with access to public transportation, bike trails and green space. It was supported in part by the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and Housing Innovation Fund, which would both be expanded under Governor Healey’s bill. After the tour, the Governor participated in a roundtable with local leaders to discuss the region’s housing needs.
"I'm delighted to join Governor Maura Healey, Secretary Ed Augustus, and Representative Mindy Domb as we engage deeply with Amherst leaders on issues of affordable housing, equity, and the intersection of climate,” said Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton). “Amherst has long led the way on these critical issues. I'm heartened that the Administration is making it a priority to engage with the town’s housing leaders in light of its powerful Housing Bond Bill proposal, as it's essential that this legislation works for western Massachusetts."
"I’m excited that Governor Healey and her housing team have created this opportunity to visit Amherst and see what we have been able to achieve and learn about our housing hopes for the future, as a community committed to supporting and producing housing for all. This includes the town’s plans to build a regional homeless shelter, its continued dedication to produce affordable housing units and affordable home ownership opportunities,” said Representative Mindy Domb. “And, we’re doing all of this while meeting the town’s ambitious climate goals. I’m proud to show Governor Healey and her administration how our community says ‘yes’ and ‘more’ to housing. I’m honored to share the housing pressures we experience and to advocate for the tools Amherst and other communities need to respond to our housing crisis.”
“We appreciate the visit by Governor Healey and Secretary Augustus to Amherst and for taking the time to visit our exciting new development East Gables. We are proud the Governor recognizes the great work the town is doing to create a wide range of housing opportunities,” said Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman. “More importantly, I want to commend the Governor for her strong, groundbreaking initiative, the Affordable Homes Act. Housing is a critical need in our region. This comprehensive list of proposals will provide the tools we need – such as tax credits, administrative improvements, and actual funding – to create more housing that is affordable. The Town of Amherst will take advantage of many of the proposals in the Act, such as funds for supportive housing services that are not funded through any other sources. The Governor and her administration walk the talk when it comes to increasing the supply and affordability of housing.”
If enacted, the Affordable Homes Act would be the largest housing investment in state history to comprehensively create, preserve and modernize housing across the state. This builds on the housing investments in the tax cuts package that Governor Healey signed into law last month, including:
Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) – increases annual program cap from $10 million to $57 million in 2023, and thereafter to $30 million annually
Rental deduction – increases rental deduction cap from $3,000 to $4,000.
Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit – Doubles the credit, from $1,200 to $2,400 for low-income seniors to help minimizes their taxes.
Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) – increases annual program cap from $40 million to $60 million
Estate Tax – Increases the threshold from $1 million to $2 million with a credit that mitigates the cliff effect. This change brings Massachusetts more in line with other states and keeps pace with the rising value of homes in communities across the state. This reform will allow seniors to pass on generational wealth, making it more attractive to retire and age in Massachusetts and for families to stay geographically close.