Housing we all can afford is the foundation of a just society. 

The state of housing in Massachusetts is not a representation of justice – it’s a crisis.

How did we get here? Corporate interests – and the politicians that cave to them – have paved the way for corporate developers and profit-driven landlords to drive up housing costs. 

Corporate developers have had a blank check to build luxury housing that no one we know can afford. Profit-driven landlords have jacked up our rents to the point where half of all renters nationwide are considered rent burdened. Luxury buildings are vacant while families priced out of their homes struggle to find a place to live where they can afford both the rent and the groceries. 

The result is a manufactured housing crisis where too many of us struggle to make rent or mortgage payments while the people who drove prices up blame us for not being able to afford it. 

How do we right these wrongs so that what we see when we look at the state of housing isn’t crisis, but justice?

Right now, at the State House, there are a number of important housing bills that would take important steps towards a more just state. Here’s a brief summary of the bills that we’re endorsing. 

Rent ControlRestores local control over rents – allowing cities/towns to decide how much rent can increase over time. Includes a standalone rule for just cause eviction, preventing landlords from evicting tenants for no reason in order to raise rents.
Tenant’s Opportunity to Purchase ActGives tenants the chance to buy their homes if their landlord decides to sell. Empowers renters to buy their building and turn it into a co-op. Gives renters ownership, increased property rights, and protects their ability to stay in their homes.
Affordable Homes ActProvides $1.6B for public housing improvements and an $800M Affordable Housing Trust Fund to incentivize creation and restoration of affordable housing units and increase the overall housing stock, easing the huge burden on existing supply. Changes state law to ease municipal rezoning of land for new affordable housing development. Creates a statewide Office of Fair Housing.
Zero Carbon Renovation FundCreates a $300M fund to make buildings more energy efficient, paid for by federal infrastructure dollars. Prioritizes low-income and public housing, schools, and small businesses, making energy efficiency accessible to more communities of color and working-class communities.
Healthy Homes BillCreates a fund to make energy improvements, make homes lead-safe, and address other habitability concerns such as mold, pests and asbestos. Low-income homeowners can receive this money as a grant, making these important improvements accessible and affordable.
Felony Enfranchisement BillRestores voting rights to people incarcerated on felony convictions. Not a housing bill, but important because it would undo a small but crucial part of the racist legacy of policing and prosecutions in Massachusetts. 

Out of all these bills, only the Healthy Homes Bill has been voted out favorably by its committee so far. That means in the coming weeks and months, we need to show our legislators we support these bills and want to see them come up for a vote. 

Renter or homeowner, you should be able to make a comfortable, healthy home in Massachusetts and stay in the neighborhood you love. Let’s do this.