By Bob Katzen

The Senate 9-30, rejected an amendment to a section of the bill that funds the Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP). The amendment would require that HDIP projects must make 25 percent of their units affordable.

HDIP, according to its state website, “provides Gateway Cities with a tool to develop market rate housing while increasing residential growth, expanding diversity of housing stock, supporting economic development and promoting neighborhood stabilization in designated areas.”

“This amendment ensures that HDIP leads to construction of units for everyone,” said amendment sponsor Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “It ensures that HDIP is not exclusively used for high-rent luxury apartments. And this is not a theoretical concern. An excellent report from the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute explains that [while] HDIP is titled a market rate credit, the rents usually exceed prevailing rents and prices, some by 50 percent to 70 percent with no limit on future increases. Rents in many HDIP subsidized developments are excessively high cost as described in current apartment advertisements.”

“The HDIP program is the primary tool for Gateway Cities to expand housing stock, revitalize downtowns and attract and retain a middle class in cities where low rents do not support new housing development projects,” said Sen. John Cronin (D-Fitchburg) who opposed the amendment. “While affordability requirements may work in some communities, forcing a one-size-fits-all requirement on others will diminish the program’s utility by disincentivizing development—completely contrary to the objective of the program. The Senate got this vote right.”

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment requiring that 25 percent of the units be affordable. A “No” vote is against the amendment.)

Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes

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