In full transparency, the following is a press release form the Senate President’s office submitted to SOURCE media.
BOSTON – The Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday passed a reorganization plan to create a state Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities, a cabinet-level position which will assist the Commonwealth with meeting its long-term goals in addressing the housing crisis and expanding safe, accessible, and affordable housing for residents.
“As a state, we must work towards a creating a sustainable and inclusive future, where no one is prevented from calling Massachusetts home simply because of the cost of housing,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “I am grateful that Governor Healey has brought this legislation before us, and we in the Legislature look forward to continuing to partner with the administration to support housing that is affordable and livable, vibrant communities. I’d also like to thank Senator Collins and Senator Edwards for their attention and hard work to ensure that the Senate could reach consensus on this issue in a timely fashion.”
In Massachusetts, housing-related issues are currently addressed by the administration through the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. The reorganization plan passed in the Senate today would elevate housing issues to a separate executive agency tasked with supporting housing availability and assessing the Commonwealth’s progress in this area.
“I want to thank Senate President Spilka for prioritizing this legislation’s passage in the Senate today,” said Senator Nick Collins (D-Boston), Chair of the Senate Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. “The creation of a new Secretariat will bring a cabinet-level focus to the Commonwealth’s housing crisis. I would like to congratulate Governor Healey as well, who will now be able put her vision for housing and livable communities into action.”
In response to ongoing concerns over housing availability, last session, the Massachusetts Legislature allocated over $1 billion in direct appropriations to support affordable housing in Massachusetts. This followed a session that saw the long-awaited ‘housing choice’ legislation become law with important housing production incentives, including requiring multi-family zoning near transit.
“I am excited about Governor Healey’s newly established Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities, which offers Massachusetts a clear steward in the mission to ensure dignified housing for all residents,” said Senator Lydia Edwards (D-Boston), Chair of the Senate Committee on Housing. “We need a dedicated think tank for housing justice, generational wealth, and eradicating discrimination.”
The reorganization plan is also in the House of Representatives for consideration.