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Build More or Manage Better? Subsidized Housing in Massachusetts

A recent Pioneer Forum titled “Build More or Manage Better? Subsidized Housing in Massachusetts” marked the release of a Pioneer White Paper of the same title. The paper’s co-author, Howard Husock, director of case studies at Harvard’s Kennedy School Government, summarized the study’s findings. Commentary was provided by Thomas M. Finneran, speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives; Aaron Gornstein, executive director of Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association; and Sandra B. Henriquez, administrator of the Boston Housing Authority. The remarks of each are excerpted below.

Build More or Manage Better? Public Housing in Boston and Massachusetts

Increases in the price of rental housing in Massachusetts during the economic boom of the 1990s have spurred a push to construct additional subsidized housing.1 This report presents alternatives to construction that could significantly increase the available supply of subsidized housing. The study compares public and subsidized housing in Boston and the Commonwealth to other cities and states in terms of subsidized units per capita, vacancy rates, overhousing rates, and average tenancy tenure. The data indicate opportunities for both state and city housing authorities to manage more effectively the existing stock of public and subsidized housing.