November 2nd Information & Resource Update

In this issue....

  • Save the Date: 495/MetroWest Partnership 2023 Annual Conference December 12th

  • Next Week: 495/MetroWest Partnership Housing Committee to Host Secretary Augustus

  • Bill Summary: Housing Bond Bill

  • Summary: State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan

  • MS4 Municipal Assistance Grant Program

  • Mass. Housing Partnership Technical Assistance to MBTA Communities

  • Survey for Municipal Staff: Pursuing Grant Opportunities

Save the Date: 495/MetroWest Partnership 2023 Annual Conference

Tuesday, December 12th

On December 12th, 2023, the 495/MetroWest Partnership will hold its Annual Conference, The Future of Transportation in 495/MetroWest. The conference will showcase the organization’s updated visions for improved roadways, Commuter Rail service, and Regional Transit Authority service in our region. Join leaders in business, government, higher education, development, and environmental protection from across the region as we gather at Village Hall in Framingham to celebrate our progress in advancing the interests of the 495/MetroWest region, and discuss our updated regional transportation vision. 

495/MetroWest Partnership Annual Conference

The Future of Transportation in 495/MetroWest

Tuesday, December 12th, 2023 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Village Hall on the Common, 2 Oak Street, Framingham, MA 01701

A complete invitation, with access to ticket sales, will be distributed via email and made available on the Partnership's website in the coming weeks. Sponsorship opportunities for the conference are now available; click here to learn more.

Next Week: 495/MetroWest Partnership

Housing Committee to Host Secretary Augustus

The Commonwealth’s Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities Edward M. Augustus, Jr. will address the 495/MetroWest Partnership’s Housing Committee next Wednesday, November 8th. Secretary Augustus was appointed in May to lead the newly-created Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities. Earlier in the year, Governor Healey filed Article 87 legislation to create the new Executive Office, which moved the Department of Housing and Community Development out of the former Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development into the new secretariat. This new cabinet-level secretariat is solely dedicated to housing, and to driving solutions to create more homes and lower costs.

Secretary Augustus had previously served as Worcester City Manager, and represented the Second Worcester District in the Massachusetts Senate where he served the 495/MetroWest Partnership communities of Grafton, Shrewsbury, and Upton. This event will take place virtually next Wednesday, November 8th at 8:30 AM; advance registration is required.

Bill Summary: Housing Bond Bill

On October 18th, Governor Healey filed the Affordable Homes Act, a bond bill intended to increase housing production. The proposed legislation includes capital authorizations totaling $4 billion, tax credits, and housing policy initiatives. Below, please find a partial summary of measures included in the legislation.

What follows are summary statements of selected components of the proposed legislation of interest to 495/MetroWest Partnership stakeholders; please note the summary which follows does not address all components of the legislation. 

Policy Initiatives in the Legislation 

  • Statewide Housing Plan: Adds to the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities’ (EOHLC) authorizing statute a requirement to prepare a statewide housing plan every 5 years, conducting regional outreach following data analysis. 

  • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) As-Of-Right: Permits ADUs (<900 SF) to be built by-right in single-family zoning districts in all communities; prohibits owner occupancy requirements as well as parking mandates within ½ mile of transit.

  • Local Option Transfer Fee: Allows municipalities and regional affordable housing commissions (e.g., Cape Cod Commission) to adopt a transfer fee of 0.5% - 2.0%, paid by the seller of real property, on the portion of sale proceeds over $1M or the county median home sales price, whichever is greater. Fee used for affordable housing development.

  • Inclusionary Zoning by Simple Majority: Adds inclusionary zoning ordinances and bylaws to the list of zoning changes municipalities can pass by a simple majority instead of a 2/3 supermajority vote of city/town legislative body. 

  • Surplus Public Land Disposition Reforms: Creates paths to streamlined disposition of land under the control of a state agency or quasi for housing purposes.

  • Public Housing – Regional Housing Authorities: Remove the requirement for a Home Rule Petition if local housing authorities (LHAs) choose to regionalize with an approval from each involved LHA board and EOHLC.

  • Public Housing – Allowing LHAs to Borrow Against Capital Funding: Allows LHAs, with approval from EOHLC, to raise additional funds for rehabilitation projects by borrowing against their capital funds.

  • Public Housing – Increasing Availability of Regional Capital Assistance Teams (RCATs): Allow RCATs to expand their services and capacity by allowing payment for maintenance and operations services not envisioned in the 2014 reform legislation, as well as allow larger LHAs to join the program if they elect to pay for these services; eliminate the 3 separate advisory boards and replace with 1 advisory board covering the entire RCAT program, with bi-annual meetings.

  • Public Housing – c. 149 exemption technical fix: Amends the Public Housing filed-sub bid exemption to clarify that the exemption applies to both redevelopment and new development of housing units and removes an extra transfer of ownership between entities before final disposition.

  • Public Housing – Tenant Protections in LHA Redevelopment: Requires any public housing redevelopment project to (i) ensure certain resident protections; (ii) provide a clear path to enforce protections; (iii) provide for the issuance of regulations and sub regulatory contracts and forms; (iv) provide that residents should not be adversely affected by change in subsidy or ownership; (v) provide residents with technical assistance to allow for meaningful input.

  • Supportive Housing Pool Fund: Creates a flexible supportive housing pool program to provide critical assistance for supportive housing by funding staffing, case management, service coordination and other tenancy-related services not funded through other sources.

  • Receivership Reforms for Affordable Housing: Amends the state’s receivership statute to permit courts to expeditiously approve the sale of vacant properties in receivership to a nonprofit for the fair market value of the property “as is” if the entity will rehabilitate and sell affordably to an income-eligible first-time homebuyer.

  • MassDOT and MBTA Transit-Oriented Development (TOD): Streamlines procurement requirements for the development or rehabilitation of MassDOT/MBTA controlled facilities associated with the sale or lease of property.

Capital Authorizations 

  • $1.6 billion for Public Housing: Supports the repair, rehabilitation, and modernization of over 43,000 public housing units across the Commonwealth; includes: $150 million for projects to decarbonize the public housing stock; $100 million for Public Housing (Mixed-Income Housing Demonstration); and $15 million for accessibility upgrades.

  • $800 million for Affordable Housing Trust Fund: Provides resources to create or preserve affordable housing for households whose incomes are not more than 110% of area median income; includes up to $50M for MassDreams to create first-time homebuyer opportunities for households in Disproportionately Impacted Communities.

  • $425 million for Housing Stabilization and Investment Fund: Consolidates the Housing Stabilization Fund and the Community Investment and Preservation Fund; supports preservation, new construction, and rehabilitation projects.

  • $275 million for Sustainable and Green Housing Initiatives: Consolidates the existing Transit Oriented Housing Program and the Climate Resilient Housing Program; supports solutions to accelerating/unlocking new housing solutions (e.g., office conversions, modular homes); adds language to create a new social housing pilot program.

  • $200 million for Housing Innovations Fund: Supports alternative forms of rental housing including single person occupancy (SPO) units, transitional and permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness, housing for seniors and veterans, and transitional units for persons recovering from substance use disorder.

  • $175 million for HousingWorks Infrastructure Program: Funds municipal infrastructure projects to encourage denser housing development.

  • $100 million for Mixed-Income Housing Fund: Formerly known as the “Workforce Housing Fund;” funds housing development for households earning up to 120% of the area median income (AMI); administered by MassHousing.

  • $35 million for HousingWorks Housing Choice Grant Program: Provides payments to municipalities that receive a Housing Choice designation through high housing production and/or demonstration of best practices.

  • $30 million for State Surplus Property Disposition: Authorization to support efforts to utilize state surplus land to address housing and other critical needs; sites with existing, obsolete structures such as former hospitals or prisons may need costly demolition or environmental remediation.

  • $25 million for HousingWorks Community Planning Grants: Makes grants to municipalities for planning and zoning initiatives that support housing.

  • $20 million for HousingWorks Smart Growth/40R Program: Provides incentive payments to municipalities who adopt smart growth housing districts, as stipulated in MGL 40R.

Tax Credits

  • Homeowner Production Tax Credit: New credit to incentivize production of homeownership units targeting households with incomes of up to 120% AMI; credit helps cover the gap between the development costs and the state’s estimate of the value of the finished home.

  • Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC): Eliminates CITC’s 2025 sunset and expands statewide cap on donations from $12M to $15M; under CITC, individuals donating $1,000 or more to a Community Development Corporation or nonprofit Community Support Organizations that has been awarded CITC receive a credit of 50% of their contribution.

Executive Orders

  • Housing Advisory Council: Calls for immediate work to develop a statewide housing plan and creates an advisory council to oversee and advise the development of the plan.

  • Unlocking Housing Production Commission: Creates a commission to identify ways to streamline housing production and recommend policy, programs, and other investments to improve the development environment and expand the supply of housing.

  • Identifying Surplus Public Land for Housing: Directs EOHLC and DCAMM, with guidance and direction from the Lieutenant Governor, to develop an expanded inventory of government controlled property suitable for housing. Calls on state agencies to provide subject matter expertise, information and data to assist.

The legislation must be taken up by each branch before returning to the Governor for her signature or veto. Note that inclusion in a bond bill, when signed into law, does not mean an item or project is imminently due to be funded, only that the administration has the authorization necessary to borrow the funds and utilize those funds for the designated purpose.

Summary: State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaption Plan

The Commonwealth recently released its State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan (SHMCAP), titled ResilientMass. The plan was developed following engagement with state and local government agencies, subject matter experts, community focus groups, and other key stakeholders.

The ResilientMass Plan identifies strategies and actions state agencies can take to address risks to the human health and safety, communities, critical assets and infrastructure, natural resources, governance, and economy of the state. The ResilientMass Plan aims to ensure the state is adequately prepared to withstand, rapidly recover from, adapt to, and mitigate natural hazard events. 


Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer of the Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience released a report outlining recommendations to implement the administration's whole-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis. This report reviews trends, barriers, and gaps in the arena of Massachusetts climate policy and presents thirty-nine specific recommendations, covering eight topics: funding; state capital investment, asset management, grantmaking, procurement, and environmental justice; emissions mitigation; public health and resilience; workforce; economic development; education; and process for implementation. These recommendations can be accessed online at this link.

MS4 Municipal Assistance Grant Program

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is accepting proposals from cities/towns, Regional Planning Agencies on behalf of cities/towns, Massachusetts stormwater coalitions representing two or more municipalities, and/or non-profit organizations on behalf of cities towns, for innovative projects that will help communities meet the requirements of the 2016 Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) General Permit (2016 Small MS4 General Permit).

The purpose of this funding is to help municipalities expand their efforts to meet the MS4 requirements and reduce stormwater pollution through coalitions that facilitate resource sharing. MassDEP seeks to help facilitate the work of these stormwater coalitions, encourage the formation of new coalitions, and promote multi-municipal collaboration on improved stormwater management and permit compliance through the MS4 Municipal Assistance Grant Program. For more information, click here.

Eligible projects will result in the creation of tools or strategies that will help municipalities meet one or more of the 2016 Small MS4 General Permit requirements. Projects looking for funding for the operation and maintenance of sewer systems are not eligible. To view additional project requirements and additional required documentation click here.

All grant applicants must submit their application electronically by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 10th, 2023. Applicants must only propose project scopes with timelines that can be completed on or before June 30th, 2024. To view the application, click here

Mass. Housing Partnership Technical Assistance

to MBTA Communities

On Tuesday, November 7th from 12:00 to 1:30 PM, the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) is hosting an information session for MBTA community planners. The session will have two main subjects: Community Engagement and Messaging, and Applying for 3A Compliance. Click here to register for the information session

MHP is also accepting applications for technical assistance from the 177 cities and towns subject to the state’s multifamily zoning requirement for MBTA Communities (MGL Chapter 40A, Section 3A). Eligible activities include selecting district location(s); developing use and intensity requirements; using the state’s compliance model to estimate conformance with capacity yield, size, and contiguity requirements; and drafting zoning amendments.

Applications will be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis, dependent on consultant availability. Communities are welcome to apply more than once. To apply for the technical assistance, click here.

Survey for Municipal Staff: Pursuing Grant Opportunities

Economic Development staff for the Town of Southborough are currently seeking responses to a brief survey for municipal staff on how your city or town currently pursues grant opportunities. The results of the survey will be shared with participants of the 495/MetroWest Planning and Economic Development Working Group once enough responses have been collected. The aim of this survey is to share best practices when it comes to how municipalities approach grant writing opportunities. Click here to access the survey

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you:
Jason Palitsch, Executive Director
(774) 760-0495

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.
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