It is estimated that 200,000 new units need to be built to address the housing needs of the homeless, the inadequately housed renters, the middle-income people forced into lengthy commutes, and the homeowners squeezed by mortgages (Lt. Gov Kim Driscoll, March 9, 2023).
Yet, we only build about 12-15,000 units a year (WBUR Oct 26, 2022). Worse, the costs of land and construction are so high, that even if for-profit developers built enough new housing it would cost too much for those who need it to move in. The median price of a single-family home in the Commonwealth is $685,600. Simply put, the commercial housing market can not solve our housing crisis.
There is a smart alternative to relying on the production of homes by the private sector. Social Housing, which is mixed-income (low, medium, and moderate) rental housing built on government-owned land using state funding that is replenished by the rent from moderate-income tenants.
Social housing has worked for almost 100 years in Vienna.
And more recently in Mexico. And even in Maryland.
It is time to bring Social Housing to Massachusetts. Write to your legislator asking them to co-sponsor the Social Housing Bill introduced by Reps Mike Connolly & Lindsay Sabadosa together with Senator Lydia Edwards (H. 3873). The bill would allow the state to raise the initial funding for social housing by creating bonds. The money would be a guarantee that a portion of the units created go to low-income renters and another portion to moderate-income tenants.
Unlike the more familiar public housing for low-income tenants, social housing doesn’t place people in ghettoes. That is a major advantage of the mixed-income tenant model. It is also true that in the best social housing, control of living conditions is shared by tenants, avoiding the oppressive control of traditional government housing.
Co-Chairs MassVOTE Executive Directors Cheryl Clyburn Crawford and Tanisha Sullivan will lead a group of supporters and coalition partners in a rally to make a statement that Boston residents want Ranked Choice Voting.
Stand with Boston Supporters this Thursday, August 10th, Sam Adams Park, 6-7:30PM, 1 Faneuil Hall Sq., Boston
Pine Tree Power has an ambitious plan to convert Maine’s investor-owned utilities (IOU) to a Community-Owned Utility (COU) – a nonprofit owned by and for Mainers. It would be transformative, showing other states how they can free themselves from IOUs. It would not only lower electricity bills and greatly improve reliability, it will help Maine meet climate goals that the investor-owned utilities are dragging their feet on.
The referendum is on the November 7 ballot. It stands a good chance of passage since Mainers hate the investor-owned utilities (Central Maine Power and Versant) for their atrocious service, and Maine already has 10 relatively small municipal COUs. But it will only pass if there is plenty of outreach to counter Central Maine Power’s fear campaign.
They are looking for help with:
* Deep phone canvassing August 3 – August 31
* Text-banking Sept 1 – Nov 7
* In-person actions August 4-6 in Portland to make art and/or canvass; transportation
As dedicated volunteers, you have the power to engage local legislators in meaningful conversations that address our concerns. In an effort to maximize our impact we are creating questions for you to have ready when the time presents itself. Let’s come together and ask our local leaders thought-provoking questions that delve into the heart of our most pressing issues.
Mitigation From Trees
Q: Preserving mature trees–both in forests and in towns and cities–reduces carbon emissions and mitigates heat, air pollution, and flooding caused by climate change. Do you support a ban on logging in public forests? Do you support local and state legislation to limit the cutting of urban trees that are healthy and not dangerous? If elected, what will you personally do to save trees, especially where (for state officials) clearcutting threatens water reservoirs and aquifers and where (for city/town officials) tree cutting occurs in environmental justice communities?
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