[act-ma] Legislative Action Alert! July 7, 2009 Save Our Homes!

Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants maht at saveourhomes.org
Tue Jul 7 06:42:12 PDT 2009

42 Seaverns Avenue  Jamaica Plain  MA  02130  617  267  2949 www.saveourhomes.org/maht
July 7, 2009

Expiring Use Legislation Action Alert

For the past 12 years, the Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants (MAHT) has led the fight
 for legislation to preserve affordable housing for the 27,000 families facing expiration
of HUD subsidy contracts on their apartments.
Despite strong tenant pressure, the Joint Committee on Housing has reported out 
only a "Right of First Refusal" bill,  re-filed by Sen. Tucker and Rep. Honan as
S 666/H 4132.
But this bill will not solve the "expiring use" crisis, or save our homes.

Here's why the Tucker/Honan bill is an inadequate response to the "expiring use"

* S 666 will affect only a small fraction of the state's at-risk housing.
* The Right of First Refusal would only apply to HUD buildings offered for sale.
  It does not apply to the vast majority of buildings where the owners are converting
to market and not selling.
* At present, there is not a single subsidized apartment building in Massachusetts
that would be affected by the Right of First Refusal in the Tucker/Honan Bill.

* By contrast, two big owners (First Realty Management and Beacon Properties) have
begun to convert several thousands of apartments to market rate.  The Tucker/Honan
bill will not save these homes.

* Even if a HUD building were offered for sale, the City would have to come up with
full market purchase price within 6 months under the Right of First Refusal----more
than $165,000 per apartment!  With the State budget crisis, neither the City nor
 the State can afford to buy Georgetowne Homes for $160 million, for example, if
 it were up for sale.

* Tucker/Honan  will do nothing for the 5,800 apartments already converted to market,
such as High Point Village and Camelot Court in Boston and Rockdale West in New 

* These tenants need your help to save their homes!

Action Needed:  Amend S 666 with the Statewide Enabling Act to Save Affordable Housing
(S 617) or the Home Rule Petitions to SAVE OUR HOMES!

Is there a NO COST way to save 100% of the units at Georgetowne and 25,000 other
 apartments at risk through 2012? Yes!
The legislature can amend S 666 to allow cities and towns the right to do more, 
if they choose.  The Enabling Act to Save Affordable Housing (H 3689 or S 617) would
"enable" any city or town to save expiring use housing.   The related Home Rule 
Petitions (HRPs) would do the same, for the five cities that have filed them (Boston,
H 3812; Salem, S 618; New Bedford, H 3810; Quincy, S 655; and Lowell, HD 3776).
Only these local option bills save at-risk apartments at NO COST to the State or
localities by allowing cities to:

* Require renewal of expiring Section 8 contracts to preserve apartments for future
low income families and seniors;

* Regulate rents when federal "use restrictions" expire to prevent displacement 
and keep rents low for moderate income tenants;

* Prevent conversion to condominiums;

* Allow cities to restore affordable rents to the 5,800 apartments already converted
to market rate; and,

* Promote sales to nonprofits who pledge to keep the property affordable, when they
can assemble the funds.

If you're in the district, contact your senator listed below.  She/he has sponsored
the Enabling Act or Home Rule Petitions. Thank them for their support.  Ask her/him
to amend S 666 with S 617 when S 666 comes up for a vote in the Senate or in the
 Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Frederick E. Berry  (D-Salem/Peabody)     617.722.1410     Frederick.berry at state.ma.us
Scott P. Brown (R-Needham/Wellesley)    617.722.1555     scott.p.brown at state.ma.us
Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester)        617.722.1544     harriette.chandler at state.ma.us
Robert L. Hedlund (R-Weymouth)             617.722.1646     Robert.hedlund at state.ma.us
Mark Montigny (D- New Bedford)             617.722.1440    mark.montigny at state.ma.us
And/or contact your own Senator especially the following members of Senate Ways 
and Means -urge them to amend S 666 with S617:
Steven Panagiotakos, Chair (D-Lowell)        617.722.1630      steven.panagiotakos at state.ma.us
John Hart (D-Boston)                                        617.722.1150      john.hart at state.ma.us

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Mass Alliance of Hud Tenants | 42 Seaverns Avenue | Jamaica Plain | MA | 02130
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