Mass. statehouse panel Oks affordable housing bill - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Mass. statehouse panel Oks affordable housing bill

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BOSTON (AP) - A bill designed to expand and preserve affordable housing in Massachusetts is making its way through the Statehouse.

The Legislature's Joint Committee on Housing has advanced a five-year, $1.4 billion housing bond bill. The legislation would provide additional authorization for housing programs for low-income and moderate-income residents across the state.

The bill includes $500 million to help modernize existing public housing developments and $80 million in grants and loans for a fund that provides supportive housing for the homeless, victims of domestic violence, seniors, veterans and individuals recovering from substance abuse.

Another $55 million in the bill would help blind and severely disabled homeowners modify their homes to avoid placement in more costly institutional settings such as nursing homes.

The bill would also create an "Early Education and Out of School Time Capital Fund" designed to provide capital financing for facilities that offer early childhood education for high needs children.

State Sen. James Eldridge, D-Acton, one of the sponsors of the bill, said in a written statement that it will "ensure that we continue to invest in a pipeline of housing initiatives and programs" to meet the state's housing needs.

Another of the bill's sponsors, Boston Democratic state Rep. Kevin Honan, in the same statement called the bill "a big step toward ensuring that necessary capital improvements will be made to maintain the state's public and affordable housing stock."

The bill also extends the state's low income housing tax credit at $20 million annually for five more years.

The bill now heads to House and Senate lawmakers for debate.

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