MassHousing Update, October 2020
To our partners, customers and stakeholders
MassHousing remains open and will continue to provide mission-critical business during this unprecedented period of time. View COVID-19 information and resources for homeowners, renters and multifamily business partners.
Despite pandemic, MassHousing provided more than $1.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2020
Despite the coronavirus outbreak, which disrupted the economy, threw the real estate market into turmoil and forced MassHousing and many of its partners to work remotely since March, the Agency closed more than $1.2 billion in financing transactions in fiscal year 2020, which ended on June 30. Read more...
Reflections on 20 Years as Performance Based Contract Administrator
MassHousing has been the Performance Based Contract Administrator for Massachusetts since the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) introduced the Performance Based Contract Administration (PBCA) program on July 1, 2000. Joe Hughes, a Subsidy Manager at MassHousing who is among a handful of Agency staff who have worked with the contract since its inception, reflected on the 20-year relationship.

Q: What is MassHousing’s role as PBCA Contract Administrator?

Joe Hughes: As contract administrator, MassHousing is responsible for managing the payment of federal subsidy dollars to owners/managers of Section 8 properties in Massachusetts. The Agency also conducts regular reviews of the properties to ensure their stability.

Q: Why was MassHousing qualified to take on the PBCA contract, and how has the Agency maintained that role for 20 years and counting?

JH: Prior to taking on the PBCA contract in 2000, MassHousing had served as Section 8 Contract Administrator for HUD since 1975, beginning with the Traditional Section 8 Contract. The unmatched experience and expertise of MassHousing staff was key then and remains so now. Since 2000, MassHousing has implemented several solid policies and procedures, and has been asked by HUD to share best practices with other contract administrators. Among other things, we have utilized technology to improve efficiency, accuracy and communications with HUD and property owners.

It's important to note that the PBCA is a performance-based contract meant to reward exceptional performance. As contract administrator, MassHousing has completed all tasks on time and earned all potential fees. And for the 19th consecutive year, the Annual Compliance Report issued by HUD in 2019 had no findings and acknowledged our admirable efforts working with HUD to resolve very complex housing issues.

Q: Can you describe the scope of the contract and how it’s grown over the years?

JH: When the PBCA contract was first awarded, MassHousing managed the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contracts for 243 properties. As of June 30, 2020, that portfolio had expanded to 590 contracts representing 52,540 units. In addition, in the past 20 years, MassHousing has conducted 5,778 management and occupancy reviews, processed 132,828 PBCA subsidy vouchers and processed the payment of nearly $11.8 billion in federal subsidy to property owners.

The PBCA contract has required participation from nearly all Departments and Divisions at MassHousing, and the Agency is highly regarded by HUD for its success in Massachusetts. Learn more about how MassHousing supports the owners and managers of affordable rental housing in the Commonwealth.
Three questions for Thaddeus Miles, MassHousing's Director of Community Services
Q: Your Community Services Team has continued to provide virtual events and workshops for housing practitioners during the pandemic. What has that been like for your team and how has the response been?

Thaddeus Miles: The department had historically offered only in-person trainings and learning opportunities for housing and service providers around the Commonwealth. Staff quickly pivoted, procured a webinar platform and began offering virtual trainings at the beginning of April 2020 – only a few weeks after the Commonwealth shut down. Between April 6 and July 30, the team tapped into existing partnerships with trainers and subject matter experts to provide 38 webinars with 3,556 registrants and another 2,458 people on waitlists for various trainings.

The response was overwhelmingly positive. Community Services has typically only reached an audience working in Massachusetts–or sporadically from other neighboring states–but now participants live in states as far away as Arizona. There was also an incredible response from direct service providers, as many of the learning opportunities we offered significantly impacted their clients living in affordable housing communities. Topics ranged from traditional content focused on HUD RSC certification–such as working with residents with cognitive impairments–to COVID-focused content like coping with loss and grief; mitigating the impacts of community trauma as well as a series focused on racism.

I'm incredibly proud of the work the team has done–it was a lot of work; there was a steep learning curve and we needed to provide a different kind of logistical, technology-focused support. Our staff has come away with a deep sense of contributing something positive to the very difficult situations faced by our residents, housing providers and service provider partners during these unprecedented times.

Q: You and your team have also been out in the community, distributing masks, food and other necessities. What have you observed as you have traveled around?

TM: As CSD has been engaged with broad pandemic relief efforts across the Commonwealth, we have heard about critical and unparalleled need for essential items such as food, cleaning supplies and PPE. At the same time, we have witnessed resilience and ingenuity from both residents and housing staff.

COVID-19 has changed the lives of residents and the housing professionals in multifamily developments and created unprecedented challenges. I have been inspired by our housing and community partners who have adapted and modified five times over to meet the needs of those they serve. I saw youth-serving entities that completely reimagined their programming to make sure young people had an engaging activity over the summer, had an opportunity to be creative through the arts, or provided an employment opportunity. I have been encouraged by the resource sharing taking place between property management companies, the continual updates of policies and procedures to protect health and safety of residents and staff, and I am grateful to the resident services teams who remain committed to serving and engaging their most vulnerable residents. I am hopeful that the collaboration and partnerships that are happening as a result of the pandemic will continue. CSD stands ready to facilitate and lead on these collaborative efforts.

Q: Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants, who passed away recently, was instrumental in one of MassHousing's most successful programs to help tenants. What is that program and what role did Justice Gants play?

TM: We were stunned and saddened by the sudden passing of Chief Justice Gants. He was a champion for equitable access to justice and strongly advocated for the statewide expansion of MassHousing's Tenancy Preservation Program (TPP). TPP operates collaboratively with the Housing Court Department of the Massachusetts Trial Court to prevent unnecessary evictions and homelessness for individuals and families with disabilities, by addressing both the tenant's lease violation and their underlying health issues.
Homebuyer Education Goes Online
MassHousing's HomeOwnership Team regularly participates in homebuyer education classes hosted by nonprofit partners across Massachusetts. In recent months, those classes have moved from in person to online, but the frequency and attendance has remained steady, and in some cases has grown beyond the pre-pandemic norms.

For example, on a recent day, MassHousing staff presented at seven classes attended by 211 participants. One homebuyer class was conducted in Spanish and a financial literacy session was presented in Haitian Creole.

MassHousing believes that homebuyer education is an essential step in the homebuying process, and helps promote successful homeownership over the long-term. All borrowers must complete an approved homebuyer education class in order to qualify for a MassHousing mortgage. View a list of homebuyer education providers.
Recent Rental Transactions
Morse Apartments, Brookline: $25 million in MassHousing financing will help the Brookline Housing Authority complete extensive improvements to this 99-unit property and extend affordability for residents for at least 75 years. The financing through MassHousing's Conduit Loan Program helped generate $17.2 million in equity financing for the project through federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Read more...
Hebronville Mill, Gardner Terrace I & II, Attelboro: Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) will use $17.2 million in MassHousing financing for the acquisition and initial rehabilitation of these three affordable housing communities. The buildings were originally built as factories in the 1850s and converted to housing in the 1980s. Read more...
Simon C. Fireman Community, Randolph: MassHousing closed $27.3 million in affordable housing financing to an affiliate of Hebrew SeniorLife to support improvements and extend affordability for lower-income senior citizens at this 160-unit community. Improvements will include accessibility improvements, systems upgrades, unit updates and installation of building-wide WiFi. Read more...
Mountain View Terrace, Stoneham: Affordability has been extended for at least 31 years at the 194-unit Mountain View Terrace. MassHousing provided $32.7 million in financing to Atlantic Tambone Management. The refinancing was done through MassHousing's Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP)/Ginnie Mae Joint Venture Initiative with lender partner Rockport Mortgage Corporation. Read more...
808 Memorial Drive, Cambridge: $87.2 million in MassHousing financing will help Homeowners' Rehab, Inc. modernize this 300-unit property and extend affordability for at least 15 years. Improvements will include new cladding on the building exterior, which will improve energy efficiency, as well as unit and system upgrades. Read more...
Food & Mask Distribution
MassHousing continues to support those hardest-hit by the pandemic, and is working with a number of community-based organizations to do so. Pictured above, MassHousing's Community Services Department joined GreenRoots, Inc. to distribute 1,000 boxes of fresh food to residents of Chelsea. MassHousing staff volunteers have also delivered food and supplies to families from the Martin Luther King K-8 School in Dorchester, and the Agency has distributed personal protective equipment to multifamily communities and diverse business subcontractors.
Diverse Business Profiles
Throughout August, which was National Black Business Month, MassHousing highlighted just a few of the Black-owned businesses whose work is essential to the success of Agency-financed multifamily developments across Massachusetts.
UHM Properties
A minority-owned, full-service property management and development company founded in 2003 and based in Boston, UHM oversees more than 1,400 housing units, including seven developments in the MassHousing portfolio. Read more...
City Sealcoating
This SDO-certified minority business enterprise was founded in 2008 and is based in North Andover. They provide comprehensive asphalt maintenance services, specializing in sealcoating, line striping, paving/pothole repairs, patch work and catch basin repairs. Read more...
Outkast Electrical Contractors
An SDO-certified MBE and DBE founded in 1996 and based in Dorchester, Outkast Electrical has 25 employees and provides a full range of electrical construction and renovation services throughout greater Boston. Read more...
Rise & Shine Contract Cleaning
This full-service, SDO-certified minority woman-owned company was founded in 2000 by a 14-year veteran of the Army Reserves. The Roxbury-based company provides post-construction clean-up, COVID clean-up, asbestos removal and disaster clean-up services. Read more...
Gateway Cities Webinar
More than 170+ professionals from public, private and nonprofit organizations were on hand for "Housing in the Gateway Cities," a webinar that discussed the impact of COVID-19 on these 26 communities. The forum was sponsored by the Neighborhood Hub, a multi-agency partnership that includes MassHousing, MassDevelopment, MHP, MACDC, MassINC, and DHCD, in collaboration with the Attorney General's Office.

A recording of the webinar, as well as the presentation and more information about The Neighborhood Hub, are available on
It Can be Done! Podcasts Show Homebuyers how to buy a home during the pandemic 
Are you thinking of buying a home but don't think it can be done during the COVID-19 pandemic? In episodes 8, 9 and 10 of our Home at Last in Mass. podcast, hear a first-hand account of a homebuyer doing just that.

The podcasts cover all aspects of buying a home in the present circumstances, from viewing properties to making an offer, completing a home inspection and closing the loan.

Listen now on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify and Podbean. Or listen in our Homebuyer Learning Center.