FRAMINGHAM – As the Massachusetts legislature debates and plans to distribute the $5 billion the Commonwealth received from the American Rescue Plan (yes, that’s “billion“ with a “B”), it is my hope that someone one really wants to invest in Affordable Housing instead of just talking about it.
The political ads for the mayoral races in Boston and Framingham all allude to the importance of Affordable Housing yet provide very few details. The need for leadership and attention to the details of affordable housing are urgent.
Many of the existing units in Massachusetts are dated and in dire need of updates. Very few communities have met their requirements for affordable housing and the pandemic has exposed an even bigger need for housing. I receive calls almost daily from people looking for housing. It is always a difficult call as I explain the process, paper work maze and the dreaded waiting lists.
Often people hear “affordable housing” and they think negative thoughts that are unfounded.
Affordable housing gives options to school teachers, police and fire staff, other public service employees, disabled citizens and low income seniors to name just a few. All equally important citizens who are in need of housing that is affordable.
How the leaders of our state and local communities handle affordable housing defines the character and resolve of a community.
The funds are there, the need is real. It is time for the legislature to step up and commit to building new housing and updating the current inventory.
We have heard the talk for years, time to walk the walk.
Jon A. Fetherston
Ashland Affordable Housing Commissioner