Baker outlines plan to add affordable housing

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BOSTON – A capital budget set to be unveiled by Gov. Charlie Baker later this month will include a large investment aimed at the need for affordable housing options in Massachusetts.

Speaking to a room of housing developers from across the country Monday, the first-term Republican said that $1.1 billion will be devoted over the next five years to spurring construction of new housing, provide support for local public housing authorities, and helping to “preserve at-risk affordable housing” options for low-income families and individuals.

“A significant amount of privately owned affordable housing is at risk as subsidized mortgages and affordability restrictions expire. These properties are vital for low income working families, especially in the Greater Boston area, where the market pressures on traditional affordable housing are already significant and in the midst of a housing affordability crunch,” Baker said at the Urban Land Institute’s Housing Opportunity 2016 Conference.

About 3,000 affordable units are in danger of reverting to market-rate prices between now and 2020, Baker said. He estimated that the new programs will preserve or create roughly 5,000 new units over the course of the plan.

The plan calls for $50 million in new funding to preserve privately-owned affordable housing units, $25 million for the development of supportive housing for homeless families and individuals with disabilities, $34 million for mixed-income housing developments, $25.5 million for preservation and redevelopment of local public housing communities, and $14 million for “small-scale” community-based affordable housing.

Written by Antonio Caban