In full transparency, the following is a press release from the Healey-Driscoll campaign. Attorney General Maura Healey is the Democratic nominee for Governor. Salem mayor Kim Driscoll is the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor. Election is Tuesday, November 8. (stock photo)
BOSTON – Seeking to address one of the biggest cost drivers for Massachusetts residents and businesses, Maura Healey and Kim Driscoll released their Housing Agenda today, September 21.
This plan marks their first joint policy announcement since becoming the Democratic ticket for governor.
The plan would focus on dramatically increasing housing production, preserving existing housing stock, supporting individuals and families struggling with homelessness, and creating economic mobility for all.
“If we want to make Massachusetts more affordable and help our businesses be more competitive, then we have to address the high cost of housing,” said Healey. “Young families can’t buy their first house, renters can’t stay in their homes, small businesses are struggling to retain workers, and our seniors can’t afford to downsize. The Healey-Driscoll Housing Agenda will work to dramatically increase housing stock across the state in order to drive down costs for all. It will also alleviate the burden on renters, address homelessness, and support our workforce.”
“With the cost of rents and mortgages being the single biggest expense for most households across Massachusetts, many families are struggling to stay afloat,” said Driscoll. “Quality housing means having access to good jobs, transportation options, and strong public schools. Our Housing Agenda will drive economic growth across every region of our state and bring down costs for Massachusetts residents.”
The Healey-Driscoll Housing Agenda will expand housing stock to bring down costs and bolster programs to ensure Massachusetts’ most vulnerable residents can stay in their homes.
Their plan will:
- Create a Secretary of Housing who will be responsible for implementation of a coordinated housing policy to meet our housing needs in a manner that enhances communities and expands opportunities
- Increase opportunities for first-time homeownership by expanding down payment and closing cost assistance programs, housing counseling services, and “match savings” programs
- Streamline the process to receive funding from DHCD for affordable housing development
- Create an advisory council to craft and execute a statewide strategy to more effectively harness state land to advance the Commonwealth’s housing goals
- Empower communities to enact local policies that best address their own, unique housing challenges, such as zoning reforms to allow housing at greater densities, specific housing production supports
- Implement the Housing Choice Initiative to its fullest extent to spur development of new units around MBTA stations and require as-of-right multi-family zoning districts by creating incentives for communities to build multi-family projects
- Expand the production of permanent supportive housing and fortify wraparound services
- Expand existing rental assistance programs including Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program and the Alternative Housing Voucher Program and explore additional programs that may help renters cover upfront rental costs
- Make rental assistance programs more accessible to all Massachusetts residents, including more language access and a single application portal
- Develop strategies for senior housing to both find appropriate opportunities to support their health needs as well as allow them to age in place.
- Create a taskforce to coordinate workforce development with public housing and affordable housing programs
- Allow tenants to increase their incomes for a period time without jeopardizing their eligibility for affordable housing and other critical benefits
- Create a workforce pipeline for the housing industry, including apprenticeship and workforce programs from real estate developers, construction, and other skilled trades role
Healey and Driscoll both bring extensive expertise to addressing our housing crisis. As chief of the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division, Healey led the office’s efforts to hold banks accountable after the mortgage crisis. As Attorney General, she’s sued realtors for discrimination and brokered a settlement with the Boston Housing Authority over health concerns in its facilities. As Massachusetts approached an eviction crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Healey instructed her team to step up their efforts to help tenants and landlords navigate the state’s process to access rental assistance. Her newly-created Neighborhood Renewal Division helps transform blighted, abandoned properties to ensure those homes can be used for generations to come. Healey understands that for Massachusetts residents, having affordable, stable, safe places to live is essential to our economy and the wellbeing of our communities.
As Mayor, Driscoll identified barriers to housing development in the community and worked to devise strategies to address these items, like adopting an as-of-right Accessory Dwelling unit ordinances, updating inclusionary zoning policies, and leveraging public land for affordable housing construction. She partnered with housing non-profits to develop Housing First supportive housing models that include wraparound services for the most vulnerable members of our community. Driscoll also serves on the Board of the Salem Housing Authority, seeking to both improve current public housing stock and increase affordable housing options.