AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Amid the housing crisis, Governor Maura Healey visited western Massachusetts Wednesday to highlight the largest housing investment in state history.

Governor Maura Healey, getting a first hand look at affordable housing in western Massachusetts, joining a round table discussion in Amherst, to talk about just how critical the housing crisis has become. “I think we understand how desperate the need is for housing,” remarked Healey.

The announcement comes just weeks after the Healey Administration unveiled a $4 Billion ‘Affordable Homes Act’ in hopes to ramp up production of homes, and lower the cost of living.

Massachusetts Housing Secretary Edward Augustus, told 22News, “Figure out the tools necessary to do more housing and do it faster, because that is what the Commonwealth needs.”

The plan will fund or enable the creation of more than 40,000 homes, including 22,000 new homes for low-income households and 12,000 new homes for middle-income households,
funding such non-profit groups like Valley Community Development, to build those homes in western Massachusetts.

22News spoke with Alexis, Breiteneicher, Executive Director of Valley Community Development, about this funding, “Housing is a human right and we have an affordability challenge in the state of Massachusetts where we are not unique in that. Here in Amherst we need more affordable housing.”

$200 million would be authorized for the Housing Innovations Fund to support alternative forms of rental housing for people experiencing homelessness, housing for seniors and veterans, and transitional units for persons recovering from substance abuse.

“Affordable housing is really critical,” State Rep. Mindy Domb states. “We hear from young families who can’t afford to find a place in Amherst. We hear from folks who are currently homeless who can’t find apartments—and its not just Amherst. It’s the surrounding community throughout the valley.”

Governor Healey told 22News, “To get to where we need to go, we need far greater capital investments and find a way to leverage public dollars and private investment and just invent development for a range of income around the state.”

Among this funding, a total of $1.6 billion will provide for the repair, rehabilitation and modernization of the state’s more than 43,000 public housing units. This includes $150 million to begin “decarbonizing” public housing through the installation of heat pumps and electric appliances in 3,000 units and another $15 million for accessibility upgrades.

Healey adds this plan will strike at the root causes of unaffordable housing and even make progress on the state’s climate goals.

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