Public Housing Officials Voice Appreciation for Legislators’ Local Support at State House Event

Officials from the Revere Housing Authority met with State Sen. Joseph Boncore and State Rep. RoseLee Vincent to discuss the need for increased state support of public housing at the 36th Annual Legislative Information Day sponsored by the Massachusetts Chapter, National Association National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials (MassNAHRO) at the State House on April 30.

At the event’s luncheon, the Revere Housing    Authority expressed its appreciation for the past support it has received from Sen. Boncore and Rep. Vincent for improving public housing for the residents of the communities they represent, and especially for their support of the $600 million in capital funds for public housing authorities in the Housing Bond Bill. The Authority urged the legislators to consider an increase in the state subsidy for local public housing, so it can better serve the residents of its properties.

“The state subsidy for public housing has been frozen at $64.5 million since FY2013, making it more difficult for us to adequately meet the maintenance and service needs of our residents,” said George Anzuoni, chairman of the Revere Housing Authority. “We want to thank Senator Boncore and Representative Vincent for their past commitment to providing safe and decent affordable housing to the residents of Revere, and  we hope they will continue to support our efforts to preserve and sustain locally owned and operated low-rent public housing.”

The current $64.5 million state subsidy for public housing, which is intended to close the gap between rental income and actual operating costs, has not increased in the last seven state budgets. That is essentially a 6.9 percent cut given cumulative inflation. MassNAHRO has asked the Legislature for a subsidy appropriation of $67 million for fiscal 2019; even this slight increase to the line would allow housing authorities to augment staffing levels, provide more resident services, and more quickly turnover units.

Local public housing is the state’s most cost-effective housing for low-income seniors, families and the disabled. The average subsidy currently is $128 per unit per month. The cost of a shelter is approximately $3,000 per person per month.

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