Innovations in the Public Housing Bill

March 19, 2010
By

Real Estate Today

State Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez and Sen. Harriett Chandler drafted H. 1235/ S. 634 in collaboration with Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), Massachusetts-NAHRO, Boston Housing Authority representatives, the Patrick/Murray Administration, legal services attorneys and many other tenant advocates. It would do the following:

• Provide flexibility to 10 housing authorities to develop alternative approaches and new innovations to serve tenants and the community according to an Annual Plan approved by the Department of Housing and Community Development.
• Allow 10 public housing authorities to direct available funding to the most pressing local needs in the community, by allowing operating funds, rental subsidy funds, and to the extent permissible, modernization funds, to be used flexibly to implement the innovations plan.
• Reduce the burden on tenants and the housing authority by simplifying regulatory requirements in such areas as rent calculation based upon personal tenant information regarding income and exclusions, rent policy and tenant selection.
• Provide for tenant participation in development of innovative policies and maintain tenant protections regarding evictions, leases, grievances, relocation and the right of return.
• Authorize long-term energy procurement contracts.
• Provide for a data-driven yearly evaluation of innovation program outcomes to explore these innovations statewide.
From materials submitted by CHAPA.