State Legislature Wraps Up 2017/18 Session

August 6th, 2018 by Joe Kriesberg

The Massachusetts State Legislature wrapped up the 2017/18 legislative session on July 31 and in the final flurry of activity, there was some good news for community developers and some disappointing news. On July 27, MACDC sent a letter to legislative leaders requesting action on six items.

    Here is how we fared:
  1. The legislature overrode the Governor's Veto of the so-called Chapter 206 money that provides grants to CDCs and others for home-ownership education and foreclosure prevention.   This action fixes the language that defines the program and provides $2.05 million for the line-item, a $500,000 increase over last year.
  2. The legislature enacted language to exempt bona fide nonprofits from the onerous and unnecessary Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) licensing requirements.  This was an issue of great concern to many MACDC members that operate home-ownership programs such as down-payment assistance and lead paint abatement loans.  TO make this happen, we worked closely with our impacted members, CHAPA, Habitat for Humanity, the Division of Banks and the Mass. Mortgage Bankers Association.
  3. The legislature authorized $1.25 million in capital funds for CDFIs that lend to small businesses.  We had hoped to secure $5 million, but this will still provide important capital to many of our members.
  4. The Governor's Housing Choice bill did not pass.  The House and Senate could not agree on a path forward regarding zoning and housing production.  The House wanted to pass the Governor’s bill. The Senate wanted to add some zoning reforms for which we had advocated.  They could not reach an agreement.  This is very disappointing as so many people worked so hard over the past two years to enact meaningful housing production and zoning reform.
  5. Legislation to enable the creation of Community Benefit Districts also did not pass.  MACDC has worked with the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance for four years to get this bill enacted so this too was disappointing.  
  6. The Legislature did not act on the Governor's Supplemental Budget request which included $10 million in CPA matching funds.  That could still be done in informal session later this year.

The Legislature also adopted strong legislation to regulate and tax Short Term Rentals, like Airbnb.  We are urging the Governor to sign this into law. The legislature also created an economic mobility commission that will look at best practices for helping affordable housing residents gain economic stability.

Considering that MACDC had already won our three top policy priorities for the year we are very pleased with what has been accomplished over the past two years (the Community Investment Tax Credit legislation, the Affordable Housing Bond Bill and restored funding for the Small Business Technical Assistance program).

MACDC is thankful to our members for the calls, emails, and visits that they made to advocate for this agenda.  We are grateful to have so many amazing partners like CHAPA, the Mass. Smart Growth Alliance, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council with whom we work closely.  And, of course, we have many friends in the House and Senate – far too many to list here – that do the hard work inside the building to turn good ideas into law.

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MACDC Members Awarded Rental Round Awards for 9 Projects

August 1st, 2018 by Don Bianchi

On July 25, Governor Baker announced the award of $57 million in subsidy funding as well as state and federal housing tax credits that will generate more than $240 million in subsidized private equity.  When completed, these 19 projects will create or preserve 1,463 units, including 1,312 affordable units, with 227 of these affordable units reserved for households earning less than 30% of area median income. 


MACDC Members were well represented among the awardees, with 9 receiving awards, resulting in the creation or preservation of 463 units, including 430 affordable units: 

  • Jamaica Plain NDC will build 44 new affordable units at 25 Amory Street near the Jackson Square MBTA Station in Jamaica Plain;
  • Codman Square NDC’s Four Corners project will provide 31 newly-constructed affordable units of transit-oriented development in Dorchester;
  • NeighborWorks Southern Mass will construct 48 units of family housing, including 30 affordable units and 18 units for families with incomes up to 110% of area median income, at its transit-oriented Downtown Brockton project;
  • A 62-unit senior project, including 57 affordable units, will be constructed by Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly at 370 Harvard Street in Brookline;
  • Just-a-Start will combine preservation of existing affordable units along with newly constructed units, at Squirrelwood in Cambridge, and thereby provide 88 units, 78 of them affordable.
  • The Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development will construct 58 units of affordable senior housing at Shirley Commons on the Fort Devens site;
  • Bentley Apartments in Great Barrington, developed by CDC of South Berkshire, will provide 45 newly constructed affordable units for families;
  • Valley CDC will blend preservation and construction at the Sergeant House Expansion in Northampton, and provide 31 affordable units, along with supportive services for residents who need them;
  • B’nai B’rith Housing will construct 56 affordable units for seniors at Coolidge at Sudbury. 


These projects will meet critical housing needs in communities across the Commonwealth.  MACDC will continue to advocate for other policies that support providing a wide range of affordable housing opportunities to families in the Commonwealth. 

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CDCs Go Green by Developing and Preserving Sustainable Buildings

July 30th, 2018 by Don Bianchi

CDCs throughout the Commonwealth are leaders in the green economy according to two new reports by MACDC detailing these efforts. The first report, "CDCs Go Green Part I: A Snapshot of the Environmental Initiatives of MACDC’s Members," released in March of this year, describes a wide range of sustainability programming, ranging from activism and advocacy, to supporting the local food economy, to open space preservation and stewardship. The report also describes CDC involvement in restoration and environmental clean-ups, recycling and waste initiatives, and resiliency and climate change preparation. All these initiatives reflect community-driven priorities to promote sustainable development.

MACDC is now releasing CDCs Go Green Part II: Developing and Preserving Sustainable Buildings. Part II, like the first report, was authored by Allison Curtis, MACDC’s Graduate Student Research Intern. This report focuses on buildings, which, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), account for 39% of CO2 emissions in the United States. It covers the housing and other real estate developed by CDCs, energy retrofits for existing buildings, clean energy technologies, and healthy housing.

    Here are some highlights from the report, obtained from the MACDC GOALs Survey:
  • Eighty- three percent of new developments in 2017 included some sort of environmental strategy including efficient building systems, healthy indoor air quality, exterior insulation, and more;
  • Over 5,500 of the rental units in CDC portfolios have been retrofitted to be more energy efficient in the last five years, with more than 1,100 units receiving retrofits in 2017 alone, representing a value of more than $9.7 million;
  • Fifty-seven percent of CDCs surveyed utilize clean energy technologies, with solar photo-voltaic technology being the most prevalent;
  • The rental portfolios of 92% of CDCs surveyed are either fully or partially smoke-free.

MACDC is committed to supporting and enhancing CDC environmental sustainability initiatives, through our advocacy for policies and resources, and through our training and peer learning efforts. We hope that these reports will shine a light on the comprehensive approach that so many CDCs have adopted to preserving the finite resources entrusted to us.

CDCs Go Green Part II: Developing and Preserving Sustainable Buildings

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Island Housing Trust Produces Documentary Film Short

July 27th, 2018 by Breeze Tonnesen

A special thanks to Breeze Tonnesen, Island Housing Trust's Communications Director and the film's Executive Producer, for providing an introduction to the documentary short about their work.

We started working on the idea of producing a documentary short about our work here at IHT and the state of affordable housing on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in September 2017. We partnered with The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, another island non-profit, to tell a story in three parts: what happens to our families and friends when they don't have secure housing, how life transforms when they do and how our community can work together to solve this problem.

In our first story meeting we decided to make our beautiful island one of the main characters in the film. The talented filmmakers we worked with, Danielle Mulcahy and Ollie Becker, shot many, many hours of footage all over (and above) the island. We interviewed more than 21 participants including homeowners, renters, seasonal and year-round donors, workforce housing partners, housing experts, members of our board, community housing advocates, artists, builders and IHT staff.

Interestingly, everyone asked me for a script and in response I explained…"we want you to tell your story, in your words, from your heart”. In the end, we found ourselves with over 37 hours of footage! As it turned out, people couldn’t wait to tell us their stories! The idea of simply allowing people to tell us why this issue matters to them resulted in a film that is genuinely the story of our community now and what will happen to it if we don’t take action. The housing lottery footage at the end is at once joyful, heart breaking and very, very real. I was there that evening…I cried then and I still cry every time I watch the film.

We premiered the film at our 7th Annual Summer Benefit Brunch on July 8th. The film touched everyone who saw it that day and has since been shared all over the island and beyond. It helped us to raise over $400,000, making this year’s brunch our most successful fund raiser to date.


Breeze Tonnesen is the Communications Director at Island Housing Trust and "It Takes an Island" Executive Producer

It Takes an Island - A Martha's Vineyard Story from Island Housing Trust on Vimeo.

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Saturday, October 20 is going to be the best day of the year!

July 12th, 2018 by Joe Kriesberg
What’s your favorite day of the year? Your birthday? Christmas? Thanksgiving? 
For me, this year, it will be Saturday, October 20
No, it is not my birthday (which is October 7th – thanks for asking).  October 20 is the date of the MACDC Convention - by far my favorite event of the year. 
Since 2002, MACDC has hosted six Conventions, with the last one held in 2014.  The Convention is unlike any other event in the community development field – it is a conference, a celebration, and a political action all rolled into one exciting, fun, inspiring day.  Everyone and anyone associated with community development and community building is going to want to be there.  We expect 700, or more people from across the state. 
MACDC is committed to removing any and every obstacle to your participation.  Thanks to our donors and sponsors, THE CONVENTION IS FREE.  We provide free breakfast and lunch, free child care, transportation assistance, language interpretation, and whatever else is needed, so we can welcome everyone in our movement. 
The MACDC Convention is special because the event is designed for and attracts hundreds of CDC board members, residents, community leaders, youth leaders, and others who are a part of the community development field.  Community development professionals will be there too because this is the one event where everyone in the field – volunteers, paid staff, funders, investors, allies, friends, teachers, students – comes together.  
We are still finalizing the agenda, but we already know it is going to be fun, educational, inspiring, and impactful.  Some of the highlights include: 
  • Workshops on key community development priorities such as affordable housing, economic development, racial equity, community health, and community organizing; 
  • Awards to CDCs that have leveraged the Community Investment Tax Credit program to launch, or expand a program that is making a difference in the lives of people and communities;
  • Music and poetry that express our core values and inspire us to work for an inclusive and equitable society; 
  • The “CDC Roll Call,” where every CDC in attendance shares an exciting achievement from the past year, thereby demonstrating the diversity and scale of our collective impact; 
  • Testimonials from CDC community leaders that will remind us why we do this work; and 
  • Networking opportunities throughout the day that enable you to meet your colleagues from across the state. 
Of course, MACDC is not going to bring 700 people together without using the opportunity to help shape the future of community development policy.  We have invited all the major party candidates for Governor to join us on October 20th to field our questions about their policy agenda.   
Deval Patrick came to our conventions in 2006 and 2010; made specific and meaningful commitments to our members; and he kept those commitments.  Charlie Baker came in 2014 and did the same, including a commitment to fund small business development and support the Community Investment Tax Credit.  I am 100% certain the Community Investment Tax Credit would not exist – and would not have been recently increased -  without the MACDC Convention.  When these candidates see hundreds of diverse and united community leaders from every corner of the state, learn about the tangible ways we are improving the Commonwealth, are asked specific questions about important policy issues, they come to understand that we are a movement to be taken seriously.   
Join us! I’m confident you’ll be glad you came and it may turn out to be your favorite day of 2018 too! 

Governor Baker speaks at MACDC's 2014 Convention

Governor Patrick speaks at MACDC's 2010 Convention

Governor Patrick speaks at MACDC's 2006 Convention

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We Have Lift Off: MA Food Trust Is Launched!

July 6th, 2018 by David Bryant

Governor Baker was first exposed to the MA Food Trust program at a briefing with the MACDC Board, May 2016.

After more than 6 years of advocacy to establish, fund and launch this program, the Baker-Polito Administration has fulfilled its quest by providing over $1 Million in funding to increase access to healthy, local food options and by selecting co-administrators for the Massachusetts Food Trust Program.  The MA Food Trust Program, a recommendation from a study by the Massachusetts Grocery Access Task Force, was established in law in 2014.  Since then, the Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) has led a statewide coalition of nearly 100 organizations to build legislative and administration support to develop, fund and implement a program, which fulfills our shared values:  good for jobs, good for communities and good for health.  MACDC has been proud to partner with MPHA and the Healthy Food Financing Working Group in pursuit of this vision.  Congratulations to MPHA, and the organizations that have been selected to administer this statewide program, the Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF) and Franklin County CDC.

For more information on the award announcement, read the Baker Administration’s press release here:

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Scallop Lease Lottery... and the Winner is??

July 3rd, 2018 by Britt Beedenbender

Meet Glen LeGeyt Captain of the FV Tricia Lynn, a Cape Cod fisherman, and father of a 16-year-old son. For years, Glen was primarily a groundfisherman. But when the groundfishing regulations changed 10 to 15 years ago, it forced him to diversify his business and fish for other catch. He started with a scalloping license for state waters, but even that has been over-regulated and now the catch has been reduced to 200 pounds a day. According to LeGeyt, “On most days, I catch half that if I’m lucky.” 

This spring LeGeyt was lucky – when the CDP held a lottery to sell one of its extra Federal scallop permits and he won. 

How did the CDP secure a Federal Scallop permit in the first place? Several years ago federal fishing regulations changed so that scallopers had to own scallop quota, often referred to as shares. In an effort to ensure that the Cape’s day boat fishing fleet would have access to quota, the Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman’s Alliance (CCCFA) and the CDP purchased quota to create a permit bank. With the quota came more permits than were needed, so the CDP decided to sell an extra permit but in a way that would ensure it helped create a new business and would stay on the Cape. 

Unlike LeGeyt’s state permit, this federal permit allows scallop fishermen to fish in federal waters— three miles beyond the coastline. Federal permits are highly coveted as the scallops in federal waters are far more bountiful. In order to purchase or lease a quota, however, a permit is required. 

When the CDP held the lottery, applicants were required to meet the eligibility requirements which include proof of residence on Cape Cod for five or more years, proof that you own a boat or will purchase one within 12 months of getting the permit. Applicants also had to have previous experience as a scallop fisherman. LeGeyt learned about the lottery through CCCFA. Federal licenses are hard to find and very rarely make it to the open market. When a fisherman gets out of the business their permit is quickly sold or passed on to another fisherman. 

Fishing regulations have put a great strain on fishermen and required them to become much more sophisticated business people. Many fishing businesses have not survived due to the decrease in stocks and the complicated regulatory environment.
“I can tell you the names of every single fisherman on Cape Cod - that is how few are left,” says LeGeyt. 

This permit, which triples the quota to 600 pounds, would essentially double LeGeyt’s income. “If I fish half as hard as I fish now, my yearly income should double with any luck,” notes LeGeyt. He has a day boat with three guys and says “It’s going to help my family tremendously. I’ll be able to make a profit rather than just survive.”

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MACDC announces Eastern Bank to award $300k in grants for third year through Community Investment Tax Credit Program

July 2nd, 2018 by

Boston, MA – The Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) has announced that Eastern Bank will award $300,000 in grants for the third consecutive year to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) in Massachusetts participating in the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) program.  The announcement was made at the 9th annual Mel King Institute for Community Building Celebration held on June 21 at the Benjamin Franklin Institute in Boston.

“Eastern Bank’s consistent support of CDCs in Massachusetts is incredible,” noted Joseph Kriesberg, MACDC’s President.  “This is an ideal example of how the Community Investment Tax Credit should work with a local business supporting programs that benefit residents in the communities in which they work.”

In 2017, Certified CDCs in Massachusetts, which include all organizations participating in the CITC program, accomplished the following:

  • Homes Built or Preserved:  1,990
  • Job Opportunities Created or Preserved:  5,086
  • Entrepreneurs Provided Technical Assistance: 858
  • Families Served with Housing, Jobs, or Other Services:  79,218
  • Investment in Local Communities:  $803.8 million

“Eastern Bank’s continued involvement in the CITC program is very much aligned to our purpose of doing good things to help people prosper,” commented Pamela Feingold, Senior Vice President and Director of Community Development Lending at Eastern Bank.  “CDCs do so much more than develop affordable housing, by also providing housing counseling services, support to small businesses, and more.  At Eastern, we are committed to helping accelerate growth and opportunity in our neighborhoods and communities.  Our support of CDCs is helping to do just that.”

The CITC program provides a 50% refundable state tax credit for donations of $1,000 or more to participating CDCs.  Because the donation is refundable, organizations, such as foundations and donor advised funds, can support CDCs across Massachusetts through the program as well as individuals and businesses. CDCs can apply for an Eastern Bank grant at

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Governor Baker Signs Legislation Extending & Expanding the Community Investment Tax Credit

May 31st, 2018 by

Leaders from the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations and United Way praised Governor Charlie Baker today for signing the Affordable Housing Bond Bill into law. The legislation, officially known as An Act Financing the Production and Preservation of Housing for Low and Moderate Income Residents, authorizes $1.8 billion in capital funds for the preservation and production of affordable housing, while also extending and expanding several highly successful tax credit programs.

"By signing this bill into law, Governor Baker assures that the Commonwealth will have the capital authorizations it needs to fully implement the Governor's five-year capital plan for housing, with the flexibility to adapt and expand those plans as needed to meet evolving circumstances and opportunities," noted Joseph Kriesberg, President of MACDC. "We are particularly excited that the Legislature and the Governor enacted legislation to extend and expand the Community Investment Tax Credit program, which is a gamechanger for the Commonwealth by spurring millions of dollars of private philanthropy aimed at high impact, resident-led community economic development."

The Community Investment Tax Credit provides a 50% refundable tax credit for qualifying donations to participating Community Development Corporations. With this tool, CDCs attracted over $34 million since the program was enacted in 2014 to fund community engagement, affordable housing, small business development, family asset building and other high impact programs that expand economic opportunity. This program was limited to $6 million per year and it was scheduled to end in 2019, so this legislation extends the sunset until 2025 and increases the statewide cap to $8 million in 2019 and eventually up to $12 million by 2023. 

"With high housing costs, a lack of affordable housing, and low-wages, too many individuals and families can't make ends meet and do not have the opportunity for upward economic mobility," said Michael K. Durkin, President and CEO at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. "The Community Investment Tax Credit is generating millions of new dollars to build affordable housing, prevent foreclosures, provide financial counseling, jump-start small businesses, and revitalize neighborhoods. We applaud Governor Baker, the Massachusetts Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives for their support of this tax credit and for helping to create financial opportunity for people in need." 

MACDC also noted that the legislation extends and expands other vital tax credit programs, including the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and the Historic Preservation Credit. These programs have proven themselves to be cost-effective programs worthy of expansion.

For more information, contact Joe Kriesberg: (617) 721-7250

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MACDC Urges Boston City Council to Adopt Strong Short Term Rental Ordinance

May 30th, 2018 by Joe Kriesberg

The Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations which represents 20 CDCs in the City of Boston calls on the Boston City Council to support strong regulations for the short-term rental industry.  We believe the compromise ordinance put forth by Mayor Marty Walsh and several members of the Council is a solid proposal that balances the need to protect our rental housing stock and the desire of local homeowners to earn extra money.  We urge the Council to approve this proposal when it comes before the City Council.

Everyone knows that Boston is in the middle of a housing crisis.  Rents and home prices have been increasing for several years and thousands of Bostonians can no longer afford to live here.  MACDC and its members are working closely with residents, the City, and other stakeholders to help mitigate this housing crisis by producing as much affordable housing as we possibly can.  The City has adopted numerous strategies for expanding our housing supply, preserving existing affordable homes, acquiring more apartments that can be protected for the long term, strengthening tenant protections, and of course, building new affordable apartments and homes.  These efforts are undermined when private developers and investors convert rental housing into de facto hotels.

We believe that Mayor Walsh's proposal strikes the right balance.  It would slow displacement of renters while enabling homeowners to earn extra cash.  We urge the Council to support this common-sense proposal.

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