Housing Solutions for Southeastern Massachusetts (formerly South Shore Housing) is a nonprofit organization serving Plymouth and Bristol counties. We wear many hats, but our overarching goal is to help people find affordable housing as a way to gain stability in their lives. Our programs, education, training, and resources help low-to-moderate income clients get back on their feet, including people who are homeless and in crisis. We also work with property developers, service providers, and municipalities to create and support affordable housing. How can we help you?
An affordable home is the foundation for building stronger families and better futures.
Housing Solutions Executive Director, Carl Nagy-Koechlin (forth from left), and Regional Housing Network colleagues bring their message to Representative Bill Keating (fifth from left)
The group arrived in Washington on May 23 just as President Trump’s budget was made public, with its proposed 5% cuts to HUD rental assistance programs that would translate into the elimination of rental assistance to 250,000 households.
The group met with the offices of all the Massachusetts house representatives and senators, none of whom needed any persuading to stand up for the rental assistance and other HUD programs that Trump proposed slashing. Even so, it was an important opportunity to articulate the impact the rental assistance programs have on low-income families, as well as on the local communities and economies where tenants and landlords live.
The group also met with staffers – both Republican and Democrat – for the Senate and House Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Committees, and was heartened to learn that these staffers and most committee members understand the important role HUD programs play in providing stable housing. As one Republican committee staffer said, “There are voucher holders and public housing tenants in both red and blue districts.”
The complex budget process continues to play out. With Trump’s severe budget proposal deemed to be “dead on arrival,” the House THUD Appropriation Committee recently approved more modest cuts to the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program.
While our regional housing agencies alone can’t insulate critical HUD programs from cuts, it is important that we impress upon our elected officials the impact that these programs have on the lives of so many struggling families and individuals. We and our Massachusetts delegation will continue to hammer that point home.
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In December, the Chamber convened a 26-member Housing Working Group that includes Carl Nagy-Koechlin, Housing Solutions Executive Director. Chris Oddleifson, CEO at Rockland Trust is chairing the Working Group.
The Chamber recently published an economic development plan for the region, entitled South Shore 2030: Choosing our Future. The plan emphasized business and job growth, along with the revitalization of downtown business districts. It concluded that the region needs to attract people to the region who can fill new jobs, start new businesses and patronize local businesses. With an aging population and workforce, the Chamber – with research support from the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission – has concluded that the South Shore needs 40,000 new homes by 2030 if the region is to be economically viable and vibrant in the future. Based on anticipated demand from the targeted workforce population, these homes should include a mix of multi-family rental units, in addition to homeownership opportunities.
So, housing is not just a basic human need, as affordable housing advocates have long asserted, it’s also an economic imperative for a region that aspires to prosper.
“We need new homes that are affordable and attractive to a wide range of people,” says Nagy-Koechlin. “This includes families with kids, young professionals, lower wage workers, and seniors who can no longer mange or afford to maintain their single-family homes. It’s great to see consensus on this across the Working Group members.”
The Chamber expects the Working Group report will be released in the fall, followed by a concerted effort to encourage town officials, legislators, developers, residents and others to support the development of the needed housing via zoning reforms, financing and collaboration to identify sites in the region that are suitable for housing development.
For about 10 years, RAFT has assisted low-income families who are at risk of homelessness to remain stably housed. With flexible assistance of about $3,000 per family, RAFT helps thousands of families avert eviction, thereby helping them avert the trauma of homelessness. The report finds further that RAFT accomplishes this at one-tenth the cost of a typical shelter stay.
Housing Solutions operates RAFT in Southeastern Mass. According to the report, RAFT’s impact in the region has been striking:
- Housing Solutions assisted 340 families in Southeastern Massachusetts with $1.1 million in RAFT funds. If even half of these families had become homeless, sheltering costs would have exceeded $5 million.
- RAFT assisted families in nearly 40 cities and towns in Southeastern Mass., from the cities of New Bedford, Brockton and Fall River to towns like Marion, Cohasset, Whitman and North Attleboro.
- Of the 332 families we assisted with RAFT in FY15 none returned seeking RAFT funds in FY16, demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of Housing Solutions’ management of the program.
As with so many well-conceived and well-run affordable housing programs, RAFT stabilizes families and communities, while saving money.
August 24, 2017
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August 21, 2017 5:30PM
Housing Solutions for Southeastern MA