United Way applauds MA House of Representatives for addressing critical issues of affordable housing, economic development and early education

January 25, 2018

Housing Bond Bill passed today includes extension of successful Community Investment Tax Credit program and fund for early education facilities

BOSTON – United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley today praised the Massachusetts House of Representatives for passing the Housing Bond Bill and taking an important stand on increasing the supply of affordable housing in Massachusetts, promoting economic and community development in cities and neighborhoods and improving the quality of early education for low-income children.

“Individuals and families need access to safe housing, quality child care and jobs that allow them to support themselves,” said Michael K. Durkin, President and CEO at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “But high housing costs, a lack of affordable housing production, and low wages create significant barriers to opportunity and jeopardize our future workforce and economy.  The Housing Bond Bill is essential to efforts to produce, preserve and modernize affordable housing in communities across the state.”

The Housing Bond Bill passed today also includes two provisions that are key to advancing economic and community development and improving the quality of learning environments in early education and out-of-school time programs.

The legislation extends and expands the successful Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) to support critical economic and community development.  Currently set to sunset in 2019, the CITC, which provides a 50% state tax credit for private donations to support the work of Community Development Corporations (CDCs) across Massachusetts, is providing critical resources that many cities and neighborhoods would not have received, or be able to further leverage, without the tax credit. In 2017, United Way raised over $2.1 million to support the work of CDCs in low-income neighborhoods.  

“Recent tax reform legislation will bring changes to the ways that many individuals claim deductions for charitable giving on their federal tax returns,” said Durkin. “By supporting efforts to extend and expand the CITC in Massachusetts, the House is helping to preserve and enhance critical state tax incentives for charitable donations to strengthen our local communities.”  Since its enactment in 2014, funds raised by the CITC program have:

-Created 600 new affordable housing units.
-Prevented more than 1300 foreclosures.
-Provided more than 11,600 individuals with financial coaching and education.
-Generated $1.2B over the past two years in economic activity while using about $9.3M in tax credits to raise$18.6M – a leverage ratio of 130-1.

The Housing Bond Bill passed today also reauthorizes the Early Education and Out of School Time (EEOST) program to help improve quality learning environments.  The EEOST program is a unique source of funding for early education and care and afterschool programs throughout the Commonwealth. It supports major renovation and construction projects for facilities serving low-income children. There is a strong demand for additional capital, with new projects emerging every year. Since 2014, 24 organizations, which collectively serve 3,500 low-income children, have applied to EEOST but were not funded. Since its original passage, this fund has:

-Distributed over $15M to 21 projects since 2013 to help organizations modernize their spaces and improve the quality of the learning environments for children.
-Primarily served children from primarily low-income families (more than 86%) and added 448 slots to the early education and care system.
-Improved the quality of learning for 2,036 children.
-Created an estimated 34 full-time educator jobs and 360 construction jobs.
-Leveraged $44M in additional investment from foundations, banks, and other sources.

“Simply put: space matters,” Durkin said.  “High-quality learning environments build the foundation for future learning.  The EEOST Fund will help improve and expand facilities to meet the demands of families across the state who are looking for convenient, high quality centers for their children, and will allow the Commonwealth to best compete and retain top tier educators.”

The Housing Bond Bill will now advance to the Senate Committee on Bonding.