News Briefs

MAYOR Arrigo Encourages Residents to Apply for New Federal Funding

Mayor Brian Arrigo is calling on Revere residents to apply for millions in new federal funding available to Massachusetts residents through several new and expanded government programs.

SNAP: Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP provides money for food. It is currently easier than ever to apply for SNAP, and the benefit amount is at an all-time-high. For example, a family of four with an annual household income below $53,000 is eligible for $782 every month. Over the past year, over 6,000 Revere students received additional food benefits through the Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, program. As many as half of those students may also be eligible for SNAP. A recent survey conducted by the MassINC Polling Group of over 10,000 families in Massachusetts showed that a full 48% of participants did not know that you can receive both P-EBT and SNAP benefits at the same time. With P-EBT ending at the end of this summer and temporary increases in SNAP, there’s no better time to apply. You can use your SNAP benefits at the Revere Farmers Market to earn money back to your EBT card through the HIP program. For every $1 you spend, you’ll get the $1 automatically loaded back onto your EBT card. To learn more and to receive free SNAP application assistance, visit https://www.map-ebt.org/snap.

Tax Credits: Low or no-income families with children are eligible to receive monthly payments of $250-$300 per child, per month through the expanded Child Tax Credit. The IRS estimates that around 700 children in Revere between the ages of 1-5 are at risk of missing these payments right now because they are not in their system. In addition, hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents are eligible for up to $3,200 in federal stimulus checks if they did not already receive them. And thousands of dollars in additional benefits are available through the Earned Income Tax Credit. To receive all of these benefits, Revere residents should file a 2020 tax return. To learn more and to receive free application assistance, visit https://www.findyourfunds.org.

“We want to make sure our residents have access to all resources available to them,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo. “With the passing of the Urban Farming Ordinance as well as the food justice work being done with the Revere Food Hub, I am proud of all the work Britney Sao and the entire food justice team are doing in our city. By adding SNAP benefits to our toolbox, our residents are in good hands.”

Mayor Arrigo was joined by Britney Sao, Food Justice Manager and SNAP Coordinator for the City of Revere, and Danielle Osterman, Community Development Program Manager for the City of Revere and VITA Site Coordinator at the Community Action Agency of Somerville, for a Facebook Town Hall last week to discuss the importance of applying for these programs. A video of that event is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8c7NUAxX40.

Gov. Urged to Sign Bill Creating New MBTA Oversight Board

The Transit is Essential Coalition recommended the legislature for passing a proposal creating a new MBTA oversight board, and urged Gov. Charlie Baker to swiftly sign the bill.

“We have no time to lose in getting a new MBTA governing board in place,” said Stacy Thompson, Executive Director of LivableStreets Alliance. “The proposed Board’s composition and responsibility centers equity, affordability and accessibility while giving riders a stronger voice. We urge the governor to sign this bill into law.” 

“We thank the legislature for listening to rider advocates in creating a governance framework that strikes the right balance of perspectives and priorities,” said Josh Ostroff, Interim Director of the Transportation for Massachusetts advocacy coalition. “The governor must act now to get the new board in place so we can seize this moment to create a more equitable and reliable T than ever before.”

The Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB), the MBTA’s governing board since 2015, expired on June 30. Key MBTA decisions hang in the balance at a critical moment in which the Commonwealth is reopening and the federal government is advancing a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure package. Since the FMCB has expired, MBTA governance has reverted to the MassDOT board, which juggles multiple statewide priorities, including oversight of all state highways and bridges.

RMV Announces 2021 Low-Plate Lottery 

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is announcing that applications for the 2021 Low Number Plate Lottery are now being accepted online at Mass.Gov/RMV using the Online Service Center. Applicants must apply by Aug. 27, and, if selected for a low number plate, will be notified after the virtual drawing takes place on Sept. 8.

This year, there are 200 plates available through the low plate lottery. Some of this year’s low plate characters are 210, 2762, 1H, 24L, F1, J25 and X25. The complete list is online at Mass.Gov/RMV.

Applicants should note that there is no fee to apply. However, should the applicant be selected as a winner, there is a fee that will be required, as the fee is required of all new license plates, as well as a standard registration fee.

Customers are encouraged to visit the RMV’s website or follow @MassRMV on Twitter for upcoming details on the virtual low plate drawing.  The drawing will be live-streamed and a link to the event will be made available soon.  In addition, applicants will be sent a notification via email. The lottery results will be posted on the RMV’s website. 

Lottery Rules and Eligibility Requirements

The 2021 Low Number Plate Lottery is online submission only.

Only one entry per applicant will be accepted, regardless of the number of active registrations the applicant has.

An applicant must be a Massachusetts resident with a currently active, registered, and insured passenger vehicle. 

Companies/corporations may not apply. 

MassDOT (Registry of Motor Vehicles, Highway, Mass Transit, and Aeronautics) employees, including contract employees, and their immediate family members are not eligible. (“Immediate family member” refers to one’s parents, spouse, children, and brothers and sisters.)

Requests for specific plate numbers will not be honored. Eligible applicants will be considered for all plates listed. Plates will be awarded in the order in which they are listed on Mass.Gov/RMV.

An applicant’s registration and license cannot be in a non-renewal, suspended, or revoked status at the time of entry, the time of the drawing, or the time of the plate swap. As such, an applicant must not have any outstanding excise taxes, parking tickets, child support, warrants, or unpaid E-ZPass/ Fast Lane violations.

Online entries must be completed by the end of day on Aug. 27. 

By law, lottery winners must be announced by Sept. 15. Lottery results will be available on the RMV website: Mass.Gov/RMV  

All winners will be notified by the RMV in writing with instructions on how to transfer their current registration to their new lottery plate. Winners will have until Dec. 31, to swap their plates. Unclaimed plates will be forfeited after Dec. 31 and the 25 selected alternate winners will then be notified as to what lottery plate they won. Plates will be registered to the winning applicant only.

All plates remain the property of the RMV even after registration.

All information received, including names of all applicants and the list of winners, is subject to release in accordance with the Massachusetts Public Records law.

Low Number Plate Lottery rules and eligibility can also be found here – https://www.mass.gov/2021-low-plate-lottery.

Median Housing Prices Continue to rise

The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS (MAR) reported that this month’s data supports the sustained 2021 trend of increasing sale prices for the few homes available on the market. Closed sales on single-family homes rose a total of 27.1 percent while sales on condominiums increased 60.4 percent, compared to June of 2020. 

MAR data provided the following key indicators for June:

Median sales prices hit record levels again in June; The median price for single-family homes was $578,500, an increase of 27.1 percent, and condominium prices rose by 25 percent to $500,000 as compared to June 2020 sales. 

Inventory for single-family homes are down 51.6 percent, a record low, and condos are down 37.9 percent from June of the previous year. 

With the steady decline in available properties, home builders are trying to meet demand; new residential construction projects housing starts are up 3.6 percent from April to May, according to the Commerce Department, indicating that relief may be in sight in the post-pandemic future.

Buyers are desperate to get into homes and while some are forced to wait this market out, those who are able to often bid thousands over asking. Low interest rates and limited inventory continue to fuel record high sales prices. 

“The current market is creating barriers for first-time homebuyers, who are new to this process and find themselves making multiple offers before securing a home,’’ said Steve Medeiros, 2021 President of MAR and REALTOR at Keller Williams Realty. “For reasons such as the market conditions listed above, MAR is a strong advocate for wider adoption of First-Time Homebuyers Savings Accounts (FHSAs), which can save homebuyers an average of $50,000 and encourage prospective buyers to be safe when making offers and avoid settling due to minimal choices. This record low affordability is precisely why MAR lobbies for fair legislation and home buyers’ rights.”

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