On February 14, 2018, the Real Estate Bar Association (REBA) Affordable Housing Committee hosted a brownbag lunch forum to discuss the new Housing Choice Initiative and related legislation. Co-Chairs Kurt James of KJP and Carol McIver of MassHousing moderated a panel discussion on the likely impact of this legislation and the procedures for obtaining a Housing Choice designation and grant funds.
The Housing Choice Initiative rewards municipalities that have produced certain rate or amounts of new housing units in the last five years while also adopting best practices related to housing production, which will both sustain a 21st century workforce and increase access to opportunity for Massachusetts residents. Communities that achieve the Housing Choice designation will receive preferential access to statewide grant programs and have exclusive access to apply for the new Housing Choice Grant Program. Recognizing that small towns face unique challenges, the Housing Choice Initiative will set aside funding for a competitive capital grant program exclusively for towns with a population under 7,000 people. One million in capital grant monies are expected to be available in the first year, to grow thereafter. Small towns can also apply for House Choice Designation.
The guest speakers at this event were Roberta L. Rubin, Chief Counsel at the Department of Housing and Community Development, and Chris Kluchman, Housing Choice Program Director at the Department of Housing and Community Development.