The stress of Massachusetts' housing crisis does great harm to its
economy, its families, and the fabric of its community life. Massachusetts
has enjoyed unprecedented economic prosperity over the past few years.
Unfortunately, many of the people who have helped achieve this prosperity
can no longer afford to live in the communities in which they work.
Many citizens - teachers, firefighters, nurses, police officers, small
business owners, clerks, cleaners, and countless others - find the
price of housing beyond their reach.
|"We must continue to preserve, protect,
and produce affordable housing to ensure that our citizens can
live within the communities in which they work."
-Speaker Tom Finneran
In response to this housing crisis, the Committee on Housing and Urban
Development conducted months of meetings across the state with housing
advocates, developers, tenants, and local and state leaders where
they solicited ideas and proposals to address the crisis. They then
proposed a bill that consolidated 78 bills from six legislative committees
to addresses the need to preserve and produce quality affordable housing
and to address homelessness throughout the Commonwealth. The House
then focused two formal sessions on housing and passed a $508 million
Omnibus Housing Bill which provides funding for public housing modernization,
housing stabilization and innovation, and infrastructure improvements,
and which created a task force to study homelessness statewide.
Throughout his career in the Legislature, Tom Finneran has worked
to create more opportunities for affordable housing and home ownership.
One of his proudest legislative accomplishments is his ongoing involvement
with the Community Reinvestment Act. In 1990, as House Chair of the
Joint Committee on Banks and Banking, he wrote the Nationwide Interstate
Banking and Community Reinvestment Act of 1990, the first interstate
banking law in Massachusetts. One provision of the law requires that
banks involved in an interstate merger place 9/10 of 1% of the assets
of the acquired bank on call to the Massachusetts Housing Partnership,
a quasi-governmental organization, for lending to affordable housing
developments. To date, the Massachusetts Housing Partnership has lent
over $300 million dollars. Tom Finneran was also the lead Legislative
supporter of the Soft Second mortgage program, which is the state's
most affordable home ownership program and has helped over 6,000 families
purchase homes in Boston since 1991. As Chairman of the House Committee
on Ways and Means and as Speaker, he led the House in passing the
Insurance Anti-Redlining Act of 1996, the nation's most aggressive
disclosure law governing property insurance companies. Since the law's
passage, the market share of private insurers has risen in the most
of the Commonwealth's underserved neighborhoods. More recently, in
1998, as part of "An Act Insuring Community Investment and the
Equitable Taxation of Insurance Companies in Massachusetts,"
Tom Finneran led the House to include a provision which offered tax
equity for the life and property/casualty insurance industries in
exchange for setting up a $200 million fund for investments in affordable
housing, small businesses, and child care centers.
Safe and affordable housing is one of the most basic human needs.
Massachusetts' severe shortage of housing exists at almost every price
level, threatening the quality of life and economic development throughout
this region. Through his work with the Committee on Housing and Urban
Development and as an individual legislator, Speaker Finneran is committed
to improving the quality of life and economic opportunities by increasing
affordable housing stock within Massachusetts.
Record: Affordable Housing
||Bill # and Explanation
||Amendment to H. 5100. This
amendment to the fiscal year 2003 budget appropriated funds
for housing and community development programs, low income housing,
and transitional assistance. House passed. (Y149 N0)
||H. 4284. This bill created
means to assist in and encourage the production and preservation
of quality affordable housing while also addressing the issue
of homelessness across the Commonwealth. House passed. (Y148
||H. 4866. This bill
gave communities a means to preserve and create open space,
historic structures, and community housing in the Commonwealth.
House passed. (Y141 N13)
||H. 4401. On passing
item 7004-3036, of section 2 of the fiscal year 2000 budget,
the House overrode the Governor's veto and provided funds for
community based housing service. House passed. (Y133 N25)