The U.S. Supreme Court Punishes Unhoused People 

Please see this statement from the National Low Income Housing Coalition:

On Friday, June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson, allowing jurisdictions to arrest and ticket unhoused people for sleeping outside, even when adequate shelter or housing is not available.

The Court’s decision is a setback for unhoused people and communities nationwide working to solve homelessness, giving cover to misguided politicians to use outdated, cruel, and counterproductive measures that will only worsen homelessness. Read more here. And go here to join NLHIC’s national call for meaningful solutions.

The MA Senate Passes the Affordable Homes Act

On Thursday, June 27, the MA Senate passed its version of the Affordable Homes Act. This Senate bill follows passage of the House’s version and both bills will now go to Conference Committee to resolve differences.

The Senate’s bill proposes to invest an historic $5.4 billion in affordable housing initiatives, including funding authorizations for public housing, infrastructure improvements, smart growth, energy efficiency, community planning, and for specific populations and regions that have been historically left behind in the current housing market. It also proposes significant policy changes to advance affordable housing development. See more details in Senate President Spilka’s statement here.

Thank you to our Western MA senators for making these wins happen!

Specific to the Network’s top priorities in this bill, we have two updates:

  • Eviction record sealing was included in the Senate bill. While it does not include automatic sealing provisions for dismissals, cases won, and no-fault evictions, an amendment was adopted that will allow tenants to petition in cases that are dismissed and cases tenants won. This is an important step in the right direction. We will be working to keep eviction record sealing in the final Conference Committee bill (it was not adopted at all in the House version).
  • The Local Option Transfer Fee for Affordable Housing was not included in the Senate bill. And since it was not adopted in the House bill, we know now that there will be no transfer fee passed this legislative session. This is a deep disappointment (read the Local Option for Housing Affordability statement here). But we want to shout out the herculean efforts of Senator Jo Comerford to advance this policy and our appreciation for the amendment co-sponsorship by Senator Adam Gomez and Senator Jake Oliveira. We know the work will continue.

Please stay tuned for advocacy opportunities as the Conference Committee process unfolds. We have very important work to do to get the best provisions in each bill across the finish line.

MA Ranked Second Highest “Housing Wage” Nationwide

The National Low Income Housing Coalition just released its annual report Out of Reach 2024: The High Cost of Housinghighlighting the gulf between the wages people earn and the price of modest rental housing in every state, county, and metropolitan area in the U.S. Massachusetts comes in at 2nd “highest housing wage” of $44.84/hour required to afford a 2 bedroom apartment or 120 hours/week working at the minimum wage to afford the same. 

Our MA Affordable Homes Act—and so much more—cannot come soon enough.

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