Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Citizens' Guide to State Services

Published by
William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Citizen Information Service

Housing/Community Development: Housing Programs

J12 Division of Public Housing

J13 Housing Development

J14 Division of Community Services

J15 Energy Programs


J12 Division of Public Housing
Department of Housing and Community Development
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 300
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: 617-573-1150
www.mass.gov/dhcd/

This division has the responsibility for administrative oversight of all state-aided public and private housing programs, which address the housing needs of low and moderate-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities. The division is comprised of the Housing Management, Construction and the State and Federal Rental Assistance Programs. Housing Finance has fiscal oversight of the financial records and capital expenditures of local housing authorities. They provide substantial assistance to local housing authorities to modernize and upgrade state-aided public housing developments and, to a lesser degree, federally aided housing developments. Repairs and renovations can address health and safety needs, code compliance, or energy efficiency. This office also oversees and regulates the day-to-day operations of the more than 254 local housing authorities to assure that they use sound management practices, follow the general laws of the Commonwealth, and enforce compliance with the regulations of the department, which cover a variety of areas including tenant selection, admission and eligibility criteria, and affirmative action. The office also provides funds to housing authorities to build or buy structures for public housing. Programs to assist publicly funded housing are as follows: Chapter 667, the Elderly Low-Income Housing Program, provides grants to local housing authorities to develop housing for lower income elderly residents for new construction, purchase of existing apartments or condominiums, or major rehabilitation of existing buildings. Grants are also available for the development of congregate housing for older persons who require supportive services to maintain their independence or for those who prefer a shared living environment, see Senior Citizens. Chapter 689, Housing for People with Special Needs, provides housing for the physically and mentally disabled as well as battered women and their children, pregnant and parenting teens, and the homeless. Programs are administered jointly with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, which provide support services. Grants are for new construction and in limited circumstances for acquisition of existing buildings or adaptive reuse of non-residential sites. Both transitional and permanent housing are eligible for grants under this title. Under Chapter 705, the Family Low-Income Housing Program, funds are granted to local housing authorities to develop family units on scattered sites. Grants are made for new construction, for adaptive reuse, and for purchase of units. The office oversees the state rental assistance program, known as the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) as well as the federal rental assistance program, Section 8, which remains unchanged. Under MRVP, the office allots money to housing authorities and non-profit agencies to subsidize rents for private apartments. Rental subsidies are assigned to the tenant based on income, household size, and the size and location of the unit. Clients are given a monthly voucher representing a certain amount of money, which they present to the landlord; the tenant pays the remainder. The goal of the MRVP is to empower individual tenants by allowing them to use the marketplace to their advantage while affording them rental assistance to supplement their limited assets. The state's role is reduced by providing tenants with the opportunity to negotiate their own leases with landlords with minimal state intervention.


J13 Housing Development
Department of Housing Community Development
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 300
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: 617-573-1300
Fax: 617-573-1330
www.mass.gov/dhcd/

Formerly the Division of Private Housing, this office provides affordable homeownership and rental opportunities in the private sector. Among the programs that are administered by the office are those that fund and encourage the development of mixed-income projects sponsored by community housing partnerships and developers, that make housing overstock and foreclosure properties available to the first time homebuyers, and that provide advantageous home financing terms for low and moderate-income families. Also, information on comprehensive permits is available at this office. A comprehensive permit is an all-encompassing permit, which subsumes all permits normally, issued by other local boards. It is issued to a developer proposing to build housing in which at least 25% of the units are affordable to low-income residents. Municipal Development.


J14 Division of Community Services
Department of Housing and Community Development
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 300
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: 617-573-1400
Fax: 617-573-1460
www.mass.gov/dhcd/

Formerly the Bureau of Neighborhood Services, the division serves as the state's anti-poverty agency and coordinates the state's anti-poverty efforts. A service network of community-based development programs and local non-profit organizations funded and supported by the division links housing, energy, job creation, and social services for the most deprived citizens of Massachusetts. Additionally, through many grant programs, the division provides community action agencies and local non-profit organizations with a wide range of development and service opportunities. The programs are as follows: Community Development Block Grant; Community Service Block Grant; Economic Development Fund; Individual Development Account; Massachusetts Downtown Initiative; Neighborhood Stabilization Program; and the Peer to Peer Technical Assistance Program. The office also oversees the 40B planning and permitting process.


J15 Energy Programs
Division of Community Services
Department of Housing and Community Development
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 300
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: 617-573-1400
Toll Free: 1-800-632-8175 (within Mass. only)
Fax: 617-573-1460
www.mass.gov/dhcd/

Energy Programs provides extensive training and technical assistance to the community-based agencies and subcontractors, which provide weatherization services, as well as the fuel assistance program during the heating season. Some of the programs are: the Weatherization Assistance Program ( WAP) for low-income households; the Heating Energy Assistance Retrofit Task Weatherization Assistance Program (HEARTWAP), funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides services, which range from an annual cleaning and evaluation of the heating system to its repair or complete replacement; and the Massachusetts Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP assists income-eligible owners and renters in meeting the high cost of home heating.


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