The purpose of this glossary is to provide an accessible dictionary of housing-related terms that may be used throughout the HPP process and plan.
Deed-restricted housing for low- (at or below 80% AMI) or moderate- (between 80% to 100% AMI) income households at a cost that does not exceed 30% of their monthly gross income.
The median family income within a given metropolitan area as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. AMI is used to determine household eligibility for most housing assistance programs.
M.G.L. Ch. 40B, § 20-23, is a Massachusetts State law administered locally by the Board of Appeals in order to create affordable housing. In communities below the 10% statutory minimum, it provides eligible developers the ability to supersede local zoning if 20% to 25% of units are Affordable.
M.GL. Ch. 40R, § 1-14, provides for “Smart Growth” overlay districts with increased densities for residential development and multifamily housing by right (subject to site plan review). At least 25% of the units in a Chapter 40R district have to be Affordable Housing for low- or moderate-income households. Municipalities that adopt a 40R Smart Growth Overlay District (SGOD) can receive $10,000 to $600,000 in State funding, as well as $3,000 for every new housing unit created in the district. Communities can also receive State assistance with writing 40R zoning and adopting design standards. Additional funding to address any increases in school enrollment that result from adoption of the SGOD can be accessed through Chapter 40S.
M.G.L. Ch. 40S, § 1-4, provides funding to municipalities that establish a 40R district to cover the costs of educating any school-age children who move into such districts.
M.GL. Ch. 44B, § 1-17, allows communities to establish a Community Preservation Fund for open space, historic preservation, and Affordable Housing by imposing a surcharge of up to 3% on local property tax bills. Certain households can be exempted from this surcharge, including income-eligible households. The State provides a partial match to these local funds from the Community Preservation Trust Fund, generated from Registry of Deeds fees.
The permit authorized by Chapter 40B for Affordable Housing development.
A household is considered cost burdened if more than 30% of monthly income is spent on housing costs.
The State’s lead housing agency. DHCD oversees state-funded public housing and administers rental assistance programs, Affordable Housing funds, and the administration of Chapter 40B.
Established under Title VII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, the federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.
M.G.L. Ch. 151B, the State Fair Housing Act, prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, children, ancestry, marital status, veteran history, public assistance, or physical or mental disability.
A mechanism used by HUD to control costs in the Section 8 rental assistance program. HUD sets FMRs annually for metropolitan and non-metropolitan housing market areas. The FMR is the 40th percentile of gross rents for typical, non-substandard rental units occupied by recent movers in a local housing market.
Gross rent is the sum of the rent paid to the unit’s owner plus any utility costs incurred by the tenant. Utilities include electricity, gas, water and sewer, and trash removal services, but not telephone service.
A zoning ordinance or bylaw that encourages or requires developers to build Affordable Housing in their developments or provide a comparable public benefit, such as providing Affordable Housing in other locations (“off-site units”) or paying fees in lieu of units to an Affordable Housing trust fund.
Construction on vacant lots or underutilized land in established neighborhoods and commercial centers.
Massachusetts housing program created by DHCD. LIP allows developers to work with municipal officials to build mixed-income housing with deed-restricted Affordable Housing units. This differs from typical 40B developments where developers oftentimes override local approvals if a community has less than 10% of housing stock on the Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI). LIP allows financing, design, and construction decisions to be made by the municipality, with technical support from state agencies.
A public non-profit Affordable Housing organization established by the legislature in 1985. MHP provides technical assistance to cities and towns, permanent financing for rental housing, and mortgage assistance for first-time homebuyers.
A quasi-public agency that provides financing for subsidized rental housing developments.
A quasi-public state agency that provides financing for subsidized rental and for-sale housing.
Under M.G.L. Ch. 40B, § 24, MAPC is the regional planning agency serving the people who live and work in the 101 cities and towns of Metropolitan Boston.
A residential development that includes market-rate and Affordable Housing.
A development with more than one use on a single lot. The uses may be contained within a single building or divided among two or more buildings. Typically includes residential above other land uses, like ground-floor retail.
Under M.G.L. Ch. 44, § 55C, an AHT is an entity created to provide for the creation and preservation of Affordable Housing in municipalities for the benefit of low-and moderate-income households. Any community can establish an AHT following adoption of M.G.L. Ch. 44, § 55C, by simple majority vote of the local legislative body.
A HUD-administered rental assistance program that subsidizes “mobile” certificates and vouchers to help very-low and low-income households pay for market-rate housing. Tenants pay 30% of income for rent and basic utilities, and the Section 8 subsidy covers the balance of the rent. Section 8 also can be used as a subsidy for eligible rental developments, known as Section 8 Project-Based Vouchers (PBV), which are not “mobile” because they are attached to specific units.
Smart growth is development that protects natural resources, enhances quality of life, offers housing choices, reduces energy consumption, and improves municipal finances by considering the location, design, and long-term costs of development. The Commonwealth has adopted Smart Growth through the State’s ten Sustainable Development Principles.
A list of deed-restricted Affordable Housing units in each municipality in Massachusetts documenting progress towards their 10% statutory minimum under Chapter 40B.
A housing unit that DHCD finds eligible for the Subsidized Housing Inventory because its affordability is secured by a long-term use restriction and the unit is made available to low- or moderate-income households through an approved affirmative marketing plan.
A household is considered severely cost burdened if more than 50% of monthly income is spent on housing costs.
Housing made affordable to low- or moderate-income people through public financing or other assistance.
America’s lead federal agency for financing Affordable Housing development and administering the Fair Housing Act.