Joseph Tringali: Cites need for affordable, accessible housing

  • seb_ra

Sunday, December 31, 2017
Cites need for affordable, accessible housing

Housing for people with disabilities has been a critical issue for years in Massachusetts and throughout the country.

The demand for affordable, accessible housing increases while the availability decreases. The situation becomes more and more important in light of a report that five Massachusetts nursing homes plan to close, leaving more than 600 residents to find new places to live.

Massachusetts legislators are faced with two bills that can rectify some of this problem, the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) and the Architectural Access Board bill (AAB). They both have the potential to alleviate some of the housing needs of the 600 residents being displaced from the nursing homes.

The AHVP provides rental vouchers to applicants with disabilities who are not elderly and who have been determined eligible for Chapter 667 (elderly and disabled) housing. If we consider this voucher program along with the AAB bill, the legislators could prevent homelessness of 600 individuals (and many more).

Massachusetts has been successfully creating affordable, accessible housing because of strong federal partnerships. Unfortunately, the tax reform legislation will either eliminate or seriously impact the programs Massachusetts needs to create affordable housing. The low-income housing tax credit, private activity bonds, the historic tax credit, and new markets tax credit, together with rental assistance, provide the resources necessary to produce and preserve homes for people with low and extremely low incomes. This includes seniors, families, people who have experienced homelessness, and persons with disabilities.

The prospect for the 600 individuals displaced from the nursing homes is currently unknown and many could be left homeless. The state and federal government have an opportunity to try to demonstrate their commitment to protecting elders and people with disabilities. Let’s hope they get it right.

Joseph Tringali


The writer is director of services for the Stavros Center for Independent Living in Amherst.