Policy Experts Weigh Impact of an Uncertain Political Landscape on Housing Policy

May 23rd, 2017 by Don Bianchi

On May 22, CHAPA held a breakfast forum on “Doing Business in Times of Uncertainty.” The forum featured remarks by Chrystal Kornegay from DHCD and Tim Sullivan from MassHousing on their collaborative efforts to provide funding for an array of affordable housing projects, from the current tax credit rental round; to the Community Scale Housing Initiative for projects of 5-20 units; to MassHousing’s commitment of $100 million for workforce housing, for families whose incomes are too high for subsidized housing, but are priced out of market rents.  A roundtable of public and private housing leaders discussed how the political context for affordable housing is different than in prior years, and provided insights into the legislative machinations in Washington, D.C.

The federal Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Bill maintained funding for housing programs in the HUD budget.  Given the demonstrated support for programs like CDBG and HOME, there is some hope that the deep cuts proposed by President Trump in the FY18 budget will not be adopted, but some cuts are likely.  The fate of tax legislation is uncertain.  While a reduction in corporate tax rates, if enacted, will impact the pricing on the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program, the sense of the presenters is that the rate will get nowhere near the 15% tax rate proposed by Trump.  They noted that the LIHTC, along with the New Market Tax Credit and Historic Tax Credit, have strong bipartisan support.

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MACDC launches Senate Budget Campaign

May 19th, 2017 by Joe Kriesberg

MACDC is working hard this week and next to secure key policy and funding priorities for the community development field. The Senate Ways & Means Committee released its FY 2018 budget on May 16 and it contains critical funding for many housing and economic development progarms. We thank Chairperson Karen Spilka for producing a strong budget that includes many of our priorities.  That said, we think there is always room for improvement and we are leading an effort to win passage of three key amendments:

  • Amendment #28 filed by Senator Lesser would extend and expand the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) as an outside section of the Senate Budget. 

This amendment would push the sunset clause back from 2019 to 2025 and slowly increase the statewide cap on credits from $6 million today to $8 million in 2019, $10 million in 2021 and to $12 million in 2023.  This legislation is necessary to fully-scale the impact of a program that has already generated nearly $23 million in private philanthropic investment over the past three years, with a total of nearly 4,500 separate donations to 53 high performing CDCs.

  • Amendment #572 filed by Senator Cyr to fund Budget Line Item 7002-0040, the Small Business Technical Assistance Program, at $2,500,000.

The Small Business Technical Assistance program helps entrepreneurs starting or growing their own business who may lack the business education, networks and capital needed to succeed over the long term.  This program would increase funding from the $1,250,000 level included in the Ways & Means Committee budget. Historically, the program has been funded at $2 million per year.

  • Amendment #643 filed by Senator Eldridge to Budget Line Item 7006-0011, Homeownership and Foreclosure Prevention Counseling.

This amendment will ensure that the MA Division of Banks provides at least $1.3 million in grants annually to nonprofit organizations that provide homebuyer education and foreclosure prevention counseling. 

MACDC is working with its members and allies to educate senators about these amendments and secure their support.  The full Senate is expected to consider these and other budget amendments starting on May 23. 

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Legislative Hearing Highlights Success of CITC

May 18th, 2017 by Joe Kriesberg

The Community Investment Tax Credit is working as intended and should be extended and expanded, according to the ten witnesses who testified before the Joint Committee on Revenue in the Massachusetts Legislature on May 9.

The hearing was a chance for CDCs, donors, MACDC, the United Way and LISC Boston to talk about how the program has helped to improve and expand economic opportunity for communities and families across the Commonwealth. Legislators are considering a bill sponsored by Senators DiDomenico and Forry and Rep. Kulik that would extend the CITC program from its current sunset in 2019 to 2025 and would incrementally raise the statewide cap for the program from $6 million to $12 million in 2023.

MACDC President Joseph Kriesberg began the hearing, which was chaired by Senator Michael Brady and Representative Jay Kaufman, by highlighting CITC’s impact on the field.  He noted that the program has generated nearly $23 million in private philanthropy over the past three years, while attracting hundreds of new donors to the field.  These resources have enabled CDCs to deepen their resident engagement, strengthen existing programs and launch new initiatives.  In short, Kriesberg called the program a “game changer” for community development.

The Committee also heard from nine other witnesses, including:

  • Gail Latimore, Executive Director, Codman Square NDC (Dorchester, MA)
  • Pamela Feingold, Senior Vice President, Community Development Lending, Eastern Bank
  • Sheila Cuddy, Executive Director, Quaboag Valley CDC (Ware, MA)
  • Hon. Tracy Opalinski, President, Ware Business and Civic Association, and newly elected Selectperson from Ware, MA
  • Colleen Loveless, President & CEO, Revitalize CDC (Springfield, MA)
  • Annamarie K.H. Golden, Manager, Public Health & Community Relations, Baystate Health (Springfield)
  • Kenneth P. Brier, Esq., Brier & Ganz LLP (Needham)
  • Robert A. Fishman, Esq., Partner, Nutter, McClennen & Fish LLP (Boston)
  • Bob Van Meter, Executive Director, Boston LISC

The Committee heard about how CITC is supporting an eco-innovation district in Dorchester, healthy housing in Springfield and workforce development in the Quaboag Valley region. The Committee heard from donors who are leveraging CITC to increase the power of their philanthropy and to forge new partnerships. Several speakers noted that the competition for the credits among both CDCs and donors was growing more intense and raising the statewide and organizational caps would enable the program to have more impact in more communities.  The Joint Revenue Committee will be considering the bill in the coming weeks and determining whether to give it a favorable report.  The Legislature has until July 31, 2018 to act on the legislation, although MACDC hopes to see the bill enacted by the end of this year.

To read testimony and review highlights in the proposed legislation, CLICK HERE.

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Governor’s Housing Capital Budget Includes Funding for MACDC Priorities

May 15th, 2017 by Don Bianchi

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker released his capital budget for Fiscal Year 2018, and the affordable housing capital budget increased by $9 million to a total of $221 million.

In just two years, the housing capital budget has increased by almost $25 million.  Most of this increase is in funding for preservation of affordable housing in projects where affordability is at risk of being lost.  The Governor is supplementing state bond funds with additional dollars from MassHousing and the new National Affordable Housing Trust Fund to boost total capital spending for affordable housing.

Other MACDC priorities also received support in the capital budget.  The budget includes $2.65 million for the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, administered by MassDevelopment, for the assessment, remediation, and redevelopment of environmentally contaminated sites.  Unfortunately, this funding level is less than half what MACDC believes is necessary to meet demand.  The Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) will have $250,000 in new dollars to provide grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to match federal or private dollars in support of small business development.  Through the Massachusetts Food Trust, CDFIs will also receive $1 million in grants to support loans to ventures that increase access to healthy foods.

CLICK HERE for a spreadsheet with the details of the FY18 housing capital budget, along with a comparison of how the budget has varied over the past five years.

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High Cost of Affordable Housing is Not CDCs’ Fault

May 15th, 2017 by Miriam Axel-Lute

It’s expensive to build housing. And we need more of it. Figuring out ways to reduce costs reasonably is something on everyone’s agenda.

We’ve talked about it recently in our roundtable on zoning and regulation, and in Alan Mallach’s provocative piece “Don’t Build Mixed-Income Communities, Buy Them.” There are ongoing conversations about how green building affects affordability, depending how long term you look.


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DHCD Awards National Housing Trust Funding for Supportive Housing

May 9th, 2017 by Don Bianchi

On March 29, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) announced funding for 177 affordable units in seven supportive housing projects, providing project funding coupled with rental assistance and funding for support services for these projects targeted to serving Extremely Low Income and homeless individuals and families.

MACDC Members again figured prominently in the Commonwealth’s efforts to serve the neediest households.  Two projects, including 38 affordable units, were sponsored by MACDC Members: The Neighborhood Developers and Worcester Common Ground.

DHCD has held three prior Supportive Housing Rounds since 2014; through these targeted funding rounds, DHCD has now awarded funding to over 900 homes for low-income individuals and families needing housing and support services.  In this round, DHCD provided almost $17 million in subsidies and low income housing tax credits, along with $3.1 million from the National Housing Trust Fund, a newly authorized federal program that supports the development of affordable housing for individuals and families with the greatest needs.  With funding for this and other federal housing programs at risk, the DHCD awards underscore the need to continue federal support for housing vulnerable populations.

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A CITC Donor Highlights Power of the Program

May 5th, 2017 by Kathy McGilvray

Kathy McGilvray's remarks were originally shared during MACDC's 2017 Lobby Day on May 2nd at the State House.

I was introduced to CITC through MHIC, the non-profit I work for. Though we’re a non-profit, since the CITC is a refundable tax credit, we’ve been active donors, supporting our CDC partners since the beginning of the program. In the 3 years it’s been around, we’ve donated just under $575K to CDC’s throughout the commonwealth. Without CITC we would have given less than ½ that. In fact, in 2013 we gave just over $30,000 to our CDC partners. Many of our partners had never come to us for donations in the past, but CITC has given them a platform upon which to build a donor base.
But I’m not here to talk about MHIC. I’m thrilled be Treasurer of the SCC board and happy to talk about my personal experience as a CITC donor, as well as SCC’s achievements under the program. Shout out to staff/Danny.

I grew up in a family of modest means. There was no model for charitable giving because there was no extra money to give. It pretty much ended at school bake sales. At work, I have the pleasure of partnering with lots of amazing non-profits, not just CDC’s but sponsors of our New Markets projects, Girls, Inc., YMCAs, Project Place, Community Servings just to name a few. As my career progressed at MHIC, my charitable contributions over the years were small, $25 here and $50 there. I wasn’t particularly strategic, it was more about the right place at the right time, a silent auction, a friend running the marathon. When I thought about a $1,000 CITC donation for me personally, it seemed, frankly crazy. Then I started thinking that maybe CITC was the model that made sense. I could invest locally, impact my community, get a tax credit, plus a deduction on my federal taxes. Ultimately, I’d be out of pocket for only about a quarter of the money I invested up front. And SCC would have all that money to invest. So, at about 5PM on December 31, 2014, I made my first CITC donation to SCC and have given each year since. I’ve even co-hosted 2 house parties that have raised over $32K for SCC. Just to be clear, without the tax credit, I never would have contemplated a four-figure gift. And definitely wouldn’t have asked friends and neighbors for money.  In the CITC, I have found my model for charitable giving.

Through the CITC program, SCC’s Social Equity Campaign has grown from just over $100,000 in donations from 31 donors in 2014, to over $385,000 from 88 donors in 2016. This has been essential for SCC’s work to ensure that Somerville remains accessible to its diverse and vibrant population. One of the key programs SCC supports with the Social Equity Campaign funds is our First Source Jobs Program. It is a workforce program building a career pathway system for Somerville’s residents and businesses. Launched in 2014, SCC has served close to 400 Somerville residents through employment readiness workshops, one on one coaching, and job placement assistance. We have placed over 40% of First Source participants into jobs. We actually reached out to a number of First Source graduates hoping to bring someone here to talk with you today. Unfortunately, none could come. Fortunately, it’s because they were all working. In my mind, that’s what the CITC is all about. Neighbors helping neighbors succeed.

Thank you.

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22 News (WWLP) Highlights Franklin County and their work thanks to CITC

May 5th, 2017 by

22 News (WWLP) reporter Mike Masciadrelli visited Franklin County CDC to highlight how the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) is helping them do more in the community. A great segment that details the value of the Franklin County CDC to the community and how the CITC program is driving critical resources to residents in Northwestern Massachusetts.

CHECK OUT the video and share it!

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2017 CITC Awards Announced!

May 3rd, 2017 by

MACDC is honored that on Tuesday, May 2nd at our annual Lobby Day, Lietentant Governor Karyn Polito announced the 2017 Community Investment Tax Credits (CITC) awards to 46 CDCs across the Commonwealth.  A total of $6 million credits were awarded to state-certified CDCs who are helping lead the continued revitalization of the neighborhoods and towns in which they work.

The CITC program provides a 50 refundable state tax credit for donations of $1,000 or greater to participating organizations. In addition to individuals, businesses and other tax paying entities, organizations, such as nonprofits or donor advised funds, that have limited or no Massachusetts tax obligation can participate becuase the tax creidt is refundable.


Community Partners Awarded 2017 Community Investment Tax Credits:

ACT Lawrence (Lawrence, MA):  $50,000

Allston Brighton CDC (Allston, MA):  $150,000

Asian CDC (Boston, MA):  $135,000

Codman Square NDC (Dorchester, MA):  $150,000

Community Development Partnership (Eastham, MA):  $120,000

Community Teamwork, Inc. (Lowell, MA):  $129,615

Dorchester Bay EDC (Dorchester, MA):  $79,615

Downtown Taunton Foundation (Taunton, MA):  $50,000

Fenway CDC (Boston, MA):  $150,000

Franklin County CDC (Greenfield, MA):  $129,615

Groundwork Lawrence (Lawrence, MA):  $150,000

Harborlight Community Partners (Beverly, MA):  $150,000

Hilltown CDC (Chesterfield, MA):  $150,000

Housing Assistance Corp. Cape Cod (Hyannis, MA):  $150,000

Housing Corp. of Arlington (Arlington, MA):  $129,615

Housing Nantucket (Nantucket, MA):  $150,000

IBA (Boston, MA):  $129,615

Island Housing Trust (Vineyard Haven, MA):  $150,000

Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp (Jamaica Plain, MA):  $150,000

Just-A-Start (Cambridge, MA):  $125,000

Lawrence CommunityWorks (Lawrence, MA):  $150,000

Lena Park CDC (Dorchester, MA):  $50,000

LISC Boston (Boston, MA):  $129,615

MACDC (Boston, MA):  $150,000

Madison Park DC (Roxbury, MA):  $150,000

Main South CDC (Worcester, MA):  $125,000

NeighborWorks Southern MA (Quincy, MA):  $129,615

NewVue Communities (Fitchburg, MA):  $150,000

NOAH (East Boston, MA):  $150,000

North Shore CDC (Salem, MA):  $129,615

Nuestra Comunidad (Roxbury, MA):  $150,000

Oak Hill CDC (Worcester, MA):  $129,615

Quaboag Valley CDC (Ware, MA):  $129,615

Revitalize CDC (Springfield, MA):  $150,000

SMOC (Framingham, MA):  $150,000

Somerville Community Corp. (Somerville, MA):  $150,000

South Boston NDC (Boston, MA):  $79,615

Southwest Boston CDC (Hyde Park, MA):  $60,000

The Neighborhood Developers (Chelsea, MA):  $150,000

Urban Edge (Roxbury, MA):  $150,000

Valley CDC (Holyoake, MA):  $150,000

WATCH CDC (Waltham, MA):  $129,615

Way Finders (Springfield, MA):  $150,000

WHALE (New Bedford, MA):  $129, 615

Worcester Common Ground:  $150,000

Worcester East Side CDC (Worcester, MA):  $100,000

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