Massachusetts is undertaking a massive shift in how it distributes money for affordable housing, pumping tens of millions of state dollars into building new owner-occupied homes after years of focusing almost exclusively on rentals.
The efforts, led by a new program to build homes for below-market sale in Boston and other cities, are an explicit recognition of the enormous racial wealth gap in Massachusetts, which has been fueled by a similar chasm in who owns homes here. Yet the program’s limits also illustrate just how hard that gap will be to close.
At an event this month in Haverhill to highlight the effort, Governor Charlie Baker pitched his plan as one way to remedy decades of US housing policy that created the divide, and said he wants to spend as much as $560 million to boost homeownership among historically disadvantaged groups in Massachusetts, particularly Black and Latino families. His goal is to jump-start progress with a huge windfall of cash from stimulus funding and other sources.