Sen. Moran Hosts Affordable Housing Roundtable

BARNSTABLE – Plymouth/Barnstable State Senator Susan Moran recently hosted a virtual and in-person roundtable in Plymouth to discuss a lack of affordable housing in Plymouth, Pembroke and Kingston.

Moran was joined by state and local leaders including Housing Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy and State Representatives Kathleen LaNatra and Matthew Muratore.

“You’re all familiar with the problem, housing is too expensive,” said Moran.

“Over 1,000 evictions for non-payment of rent have been filed in Plymouth County since January 2020, and over 80% of extremely low-income renters and 50% of households just under or at very median income are burdened by housing costs.”

“It’s constricting our workforce, forcing families into chronic instability, leaving seniors without options and limiting our workforce,” she said.

Moran noted that the problem isn’t town by town but statewide and advocated for broad action at the state level to address the issue.

Topics discussed included housing for the elderly and disabled, first time homebuyers, gaps in homeownership between white and non-white families, changes to zoning laws, obstacles in infrastructure, and decreases in housing production which have contributed to a rise in housing costs.

According to Kennealy, Massachusetts has had among the fastest growing rents and home values of any state in the country, with rents rising about 75% since the year 2000.

Kennealy suggested that help might be on the way in the form of federal funding, referencing a recent proposal by Governor Charlie Baker to invest up to one billion dollars out of the $5.3 billion the state received in the American Rescue Plan Act towards support for homebuyers and production of affordable housing units.

Kennealy added that open mindedness toward new projects and proposals at the local level is crucial toward building support for affordable housing.

“These are at the end of the day local decisions, and creating the political will at the local level to build more housing, I think, is critically important in getting proposals to move along in an expedited fashion,” said Kennealy.

The round table is expected to rejoin to further discuss the issue at a later date.

By, Matthew Tomlinson, NewsCenter

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