The online application is available for the 2019 round to designate Housing Choice Communities, according to the Housing Choice webpage on Mass.gov and the Mass. Municipal Association. This initiative presents an opportunity for communities seeking to become more Age-Friendly that identify “housing” as an area of need.
The Housing Choice Initiative assists local governments to expand housing production by providing new grants, coordinating technical assistance across various housing agencies, and promoting regulatory innovation.
A Housing Choice Designation rewards communities that are producing new housing and have adopted best practices to promote sustainable housing development.
Housing Choice designations provide exclusive access to Housing Choice Capital Grants – communities received $4 million for capital projects in fiscal 2019 – and bonus points or other considerations for certain Commonwealth funding programs (such as Clean Water Trust loans, MassWorks, Seaport Council Grants, Complete Streets, MassDOT capital projects, Energy and Environmental Affairs Planning, LAND and PARC grants).
The application must be submitted using the online form by 3 p.m. on March 14th, found at www.mass.gov/forms/form-apply-for-the-housing-choice-designation.
The online application contains detailed information about the criteria for designation and submittal requirements.
Because small towns face different challenges, the Housing Choice Initiative set aside funding for a competitive capital grant program exclusively for towns with population under 7,000. The program awarded $1 million in capital grants to small towns for capital projects. Small towns can also apply for Housing Choice Designation. (In 2018, five Housing Choice Communities had populations under 7,000.)
To help municipalities achieve Housing Choice status, the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Housing Choice program director coordinates existing technical assistance and provides “one-stop shopping” for information about technical assistance grants for local governments.
For more information about the program, visit www.mass.gov/housingchoice.
• Housing Choice Initiative Summary Sheet (2M PDF)