Housing Choice designation online application now open

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The online application is now available for communities seeking the state’s Housing Choice Initiative designation, which rewards communities for producing new housing and adopting best practices to promote sustainable housing development.
 
Housing Choice Communities will receive bonus points or other priority consideration for certain grant programs with awards between May 2018 and April 2019, and may apply for the Housing Choice Grant Round, which is anticipated to open in the second half of 2018.
 
Recognizing that small towns face different challenges, the Housing Choice Initiative will set aside funding for a competitive capital grant program exclusively for rural towns with populations under 7,000 as of July 2016 (U.S. Census Population estimates). An expected $1 million in capital grant funding will be available in the first year and grow thereafter. Small towns can also apply for Housing Choice Designation.
 
Housing Choice Communities will also receive priority access to existing state grants such as MassWorks, Complete Streets, MassDOT capital projects, and Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) and Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grants.
 
Link to Housing Choice website for Designation online application
 
The application contains detailed information about the criteria for designation and submittal requirements. The application period will close on April 30 at 3 p.m.
 
The Housing Choice Initiative is designed to build on progress being made by cities and towns in the housing field, while providing more tools and flexibility for municipal leaders, and to create a one-stop shop for information about technical assistance grants for local governments.
 
Gov. Baker has also filed legislation (H. 4075) that would, among other provisions, reduce the threshold for certain zoning changes from two-thirds of the voting body to a simple majority, as a way to help cities and towns advance local housing priorities.
 
For more information about the program, visit www.mass.gov/housingchoice.
 
See related MMA article about the Housing Choice Initiative
 
Housing Choice Initiative overview (600K PDF)
Housing Choice Designation criteria (250K PDF)
An Act to Promote Housing Choices summary (380K PDF)