In The People's Blog

On June 27, the Senate will debate its version of the Affordable Homes Act, the housing bond bill originally introduced by Governor Healey last fall and debated by the House earlier this month. 

Below I’ve summarized the work my team and I have done and are doing to make sure that this housing bill works for our communities. 

Read on. 


On June 27, the Senate will debate S.2834 — the Affordable Homes Act. You can read the bill here. (It advanced out of Ways and Means on Monday and amendments were due Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.)

The legislation builds on the Affordable Homes Act filed by Governor Healey last October. Read more about the Governor’s proposal here. The House of Representatives debated and passed this bill three weeks ago, and the version that passed the House can be found here

Massachusetts has a housing crisis. It’s clear that solutions cannot be one size fits all. And it’s critical that this legislation recognize the unique needs of rural and western Massachusetts communities — so my team and I have been busy.

Last fall, I wrote to Governor Healey seeking the inclusion of a local option luxury real estate transfer fee (more on that below). Read my letter here. (Cheers for the Governor for including a transfer fee in her original bill.)

I also hosted my colleague and the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing Senator Lydia Edwards for a tour of the Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester district focused on affordable housing, rural housing, and shelter opportunities. More on that tour here

In November, I joined Governor Healey, Housing Secretary Ed Augustus, and local officials for a housing discussion in Amherst. 

I also met Sec. Augustus to tour the Greenfield Housing Authority later that month, where we heard from leaders in public housing about the needs in rural communities. The Secretary and I later met again in Athol.

However, maybe the most important advocacy I did was in collaboration with Senate colleagues and western Mass housing experts.

The Western Mass Housing Coalition developed a list of priorities, and I co-led a letter with western Mass colleagues to submit those priorities to the Committees reviewing the bill (read the full letter from western Mass legislators on housing priorities here). 

The Rural Policy Advisory Commission also developed a list of priority requests, and I worked to seek sign-on’s from Senators representing rural areas in support of those priorities (read the full letter from the Rural Caucus here). 

When the Senate bill was released to come to the floor, I was heartened to see many of these priorities included.

For example, many of the funding authorizations in the bill specify that funding must be distributed in a way that promotes geographic equity and supports housing development in rural and small towns — music to my ears.

However, where our priorities weren’t already included, I filed amendments. Fourteen of them in fact.

My amendments center around a singular goal: make this housing bill work for our rural and western Massachusetts communities. (See all amendments here

We’ll debate this bill on Thursday, and I’m already hearing from many of you about amendments you want to see me cosponsor. Keep it coming.

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