Update: State public housing reform: Senate, House bills differ

Senate would add to immigrant restrictions, increase DHCD oversight

TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2014— On Thursday, July 24th, the State Senate passed its own public housing reform bill, S.2292. The Senate version differs from the one passed by the House July 16th. According to Eric Shupin, Policy Associate at Citizens Housing And Planning Association (CHAPA), "It is likely that Public Housing Reform will go to Committee" to reconcile differences between the House and Senate reform bills.  

 

CHAPA has provided a summary of S.2292, explaining key differences between Senate and House bills.

The House version, now called H.4316, amended the bill as it had been reported out of committee in June. 

In the House, an amendment sponsored by Rep. Frank Smizik (D-Brookline) was withdrawn. Mass Law Reform (MLRI) had supported this amendment, which would have added language at the end of Section 14 as follows (italicized): 

"The capital assistance teams shall use the results of the survey to coordinate communication and resources between local housing authorities and the department for the purpose of encouraging development of the land for new units of affordable housing, which if owned by the housing authority, shall remain in the public domain." 

On the other hand a new amendment to deny immigrants equal access to housing was added to the bill.  The amendment, labelled as Section 19, was sponsored by Rep. Brad Jones (R-North Reading) and reads as follows: 

"Section 32 of chapter 121B of the General Laws, appearing in the 2012 Special Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:- 

Notwithstanding any general or special law or regulation to the contrary, an applicant for assisted housing under 42 U.S.C. section 1436a shall not displace or be given priority over any applicant who is so eligible. 

CHAPA also provided a summary of the House’s amended bill which you may read here. The summary highlights the new language in blue type.

 

Original bill reported out of committee in June

SUNDAY, JUNE 29— Last year Governor Patrick filed a bill to replace Massachusetts’ 240 local housing authority boards with six regional authorities. The state legislature's Joint Committee on Housing rejected the Governor’s radical proposal. On June 18, 2014, the Joint Committee reported out its own public housing reform bill—you can read it here. You may also read the Committee’s summary of the bill and fact sheet.

Taunton Daily Gazette article quoting legislator and public housing official

For more background scroll down to our March 8, 2013 article.