House and Senate approve Reading’s request to update its Affordable Housing Trust Fund

BOSTON – Legislation allowing the Town of Reading to replace its existing Affordable Housing Trust Fund with a more streamlined program has been approved by the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate and is now before Governor Maura Healey for her review and signature.

House Bill 1341, An Act authorizing the town of Reading to dissolve its Affordable Housing Trust Fund, was enacted in both legislative branches on January 22. Filed on the town’s behalf by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn), and State Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester), the home rule petition was previously engrossed in the House on December 7, 2023, and in the Senate on January 18.

Governor Healey now has until February 1 to sign the bill into law.

Reading established its Affordable Housing Trust Fund in 2001, making it one of the first Massachusetts communities to do so. Although this fund has helped the Town pursue its affordable housing goals for more than two decades, the current structure is cumbersome and is not working as effectively as it could be to promote more affordable housing production.

Initially approved at Reading’s November 14, 2022, Town Meeting, House Bill 1341 authorizes Reading to replace its Affordable Housing Trust Fund with a new fund established under the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Fund Law, which is outlined in Section 55C of Chapter 44 of the Massachusetts General Laws. Once the current trust fund is dissolved, approximately $400,000 will be transferred from it and deposited into the new fund.

“Reading has long been at the forefront of efforts to create more affordable housing for its residents,” said Representative Jones. “The streamlined trust fund structure offered under Chapter 44 will enable Reading officials to more easily and effectively pursue these housing goals and will encourage more affordable housing production in the community.”

“This important legislation provides Reading officials with a valuable tool in their efforts to pursue affordable housing opportunities for residents in this current climate of rising housing costs,” said Representative Haggerty. “Furthermore, it will help promote more affordable housing production in the community, through a streamlined trust fund structure enabled under Chapter 44.”

“Housing access and affordability is one of my top priorities in the legislature this session,” said Senator Lewis. “I am glad to see Reading doing its part to promote more affordable housing production in the community through this restructuring, and I’m ready to continue lending my support to fight the housing crisis in Massachusetts.”