.GOVERNOR PATRICK SIGNS LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS GAS LEAKS

 July 2014

Governor Deval Patrick hosted a ceremonial bill signing for H. 4164, “An Act Relative to Natural Gas Leaks.” The law aims to ensure public safety, protect the environment, reduce costs and create jobs by reducing potentially hazardous gas leaks in Massachusetts.

“This legislation will ensure public safety, protect the environment and reduce the cost of utilities for the citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick. “I thank the Legislature for their work on this important issue.”

The legislation establishes a uniform natural gas leak classification standard for the Commonwealth and requires all Grade 1 leaks, which are the most serious, to be repaired or receive continuous surveillance until the hazard is eliminated. Grade 2 leaks are now required to be repaired within 12 months, while Grade 3 leaks require reevaluation. Gas companies will file an initial plan that includes a timeline for removing all leak-prone infrastructure on an accelerated basis. Every five years, gas companies will provide a summary of its replacement progress to date and a summary of work to be completed during the next five years.

The bill further increases public safety by requiring strong communication between municipalities and gas companies regarding projects exposing gas infrastructure. Gas companies are also required to prioritize any repairs detected within school zones.

The bill also calls for the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to design and offer programs that will increase the availability, affordability and feasibility of natural gas service for new customers at the local level.

Massachusetts has some of the oldest gas infrastructure in the country with some pipeline estimated at more than 150 years old according to a recent study. This study indicated that of the approximately 21,000 miles of gas pipeline, more than one-third was prone to leaks. This leakage is environmentally detrimental, costly to customers, and can be a public safety risk.

“This legislation continues the Patrick Administration’s efforts to not only ensure public safety, but save consumers millions of dollars,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett. “This legislation will also help the Commonwealth meet its aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets by reducing the amount of gas leaked into the environment.” 

The bill also amends DPU’s ability to fine gas companies for violations of gas pipeline safety rules, making it consistent with federal law. Companies can now be fined from $100,000 to $200,000 per violation up to $2 million. 

Other highlights of the bill include:

•           Requiring gas companies, as part of their annual service quality standards report, to report to the DPU the location of each leak, the date the leak was classified and the date of repair; and

•           Directing the DPU to report to legislative committees on the prevalence of gas leaks in the natural gas system, including the number of leaks and estimates for lost and unaccounted for gas and methane emissions as a result. 

The Patrick Administration has set some of the most ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets in the nation. Through the Global Warming Solutions Act, the Commonwealth aims to reduce GHG emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.  

“This piece of legislation will go a long way in improving public safety and help to ensure gas leak explosions in communities like mine never happen again,” said Senator Barry Finegold. “Consumers can take comfort knowing that potentially dangerous leaks will be prioritized and repaired, and energy costs will be reduced through efficiency and increased access and conversion to natural gas.”

"This law is a big step forward on public safety in nearly every neighborhood in Massachusetts,” said Representative Lori Ehrlich. “As this flammable gas travels under our streets in often archaic pipes, I'm thrilled we are compelling gas companies to track their known leaks in a more transparent and uniform way. History has shown that without oversight most leaks are merely monitored. The stakes are too high to let that continue. Compelled by catastrophic and sometimes fatal explosions throughout the Commonwealth, I have worked for years to raise awareness of the need for action. I applaud my colleagues and many stakeholders outside of the legislature for stepping up and making this bill a reality."

"This new law will enhance public safety, expand gas service, and lead to better coordination between the state, municipalities and utility companies across the Commonwealth," said Representative Mark J. Cusack. "The new grading system for gas leaks and the mandated repair schedule will end the days of band aids being put on band aids and lead to full replacement of pipes ensuring the safety of our residents and businesses."

“I would like to thank Governor Patrick for signing this important piece of legislation,” said Representative John Keenan, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. “This law is an important public safety initiative which acts to both decrease gas leaks in our infrastructure, and to improve our environment by reducing greenhouse emissions through replacement of the most leak-prone pipes in our state. Additionally, the legislation encourages the expansion of natural gas distribution in our Commonwealth, which will help many households and small businesses lower their energy bills by taking advantage of a cleaner, cheaper energy source.”


GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR SPRINGFIELD BUSINESS ACCELERATOR

 Tour of Growing ‘Springfield Innovation District’ Highlights Organizations Driving Business Growth and Entrepreneurship in Region

July 2014

Governor Deval Patrick joined leaders of city and regional organizations that are growing entrepreneurship across the Pioneer Valley for a walking tour of the emerging innovation district in downtown Springfield. During the tour Governor Patrick announced a $100,000 grant from the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech) to Valley Venture Mentors (VVM), to support the construction and development of VVM’s accelerator, aimed at bolstering entrepreneurs in the region.

 The grant will be overseen by MassTech, a public economic development agency charged with managing grant programs aimed at boosting startups in the Commonwealth and providing entrepreneurs with the support they need to innovate and grow their businesses.

The emerging innovation district in downtown Springfield is concentrated along four blocks on Main Street, from the MassMutual Center to 1550 Main St, where there are significant new developments focused on education, innovation and entrepreneurship. During the tour, Governor Patrick joined with leaders from his Administration, industry and the local community to tour the VVM and Tech Foundry.

At the site of VVM in Tower Square, Governor Patrick announced the $100,000 grant to VVM to support the launch of its first class in January 2015. While at the site, Governor Patrick and Secretary Bialecki heard a presentation from Scott Foster, co-founder of VVM, and executives from MassMutual, the Springfield-based insurance company that recently pledged $1.5 million to help support the construction of the accelerator and another $5 million to help create the Springfield Venture Fund, a financial resource aimed at boosting local startups. The VVM accelerator, modeled after MassChallenge, will work to expand their private sector-led entrepreneur mentorship program with the aim of increasing the number of active start-ups, improving the quality of new enterprises, and building out programs to support the innovation economy in the Pioneer Valley.

“Massachusetts is an innovation incubator and Springfield’s Innovation District will be a high-tech haven for the leading ideas and businesses fueling our innovation economy,” said Senator Edward Markey. The Commonwealth's economy is fueled by the entrepreneurs, businesses and technologies at the cutting edge of the industries of the 21st century, and Springfield is poised to foster and grow the companies that are creating jobs and helping American compete in the global marketplace. I thank Governor Patrick and Mayor Sarno for their leadership and look forward to continuing to work to make Massachusetts a national leader in the 21st century innovation economy.”

During the tour, Governor Patrick also spoke with leaders from Baystate Health Systems, who are constructing the Baystate Innovation Center, a state of the art co-working and business accelerator space focused on health informatics & healthcare technology which is expected to open later this fall. This project is funded by a $5.5 million grant from the Massachusetts Life Science Center which was previously announced last year.

Governor Patrick finished the walking tour with a visit to at Tech Foundry, a nonprofit based in Springfield that hosts classes for local workers, high school and college students to train them in business skills such as entrepreneurship, IT and computer coding.

Other innovative developments in the area include: UMass Center at Springfield, which will unlock a range of degree opportunities to students of all ages that will be tailored to meet the region’s workforce needs; and the WFCR/New England Public Radio Studios, which in September will open its new headquarter studios at a storefront location in the innovation district.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has organized several grant programs over the last few years focused on supporting startups and bolstering regional economic development.

In February 2014, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts announced the winners of the Massachusetts Innovation Mentoring Initiative, a program established by the 2012 Jobs Bill and run by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborate. In February 2014, Valley Venture Mentors received one of three $150,000 awards from MassTech under the Massachusetts Innovation Mentoring Initiative, a program aimed at strengthening entrepreneur and startup mentoring activities across underserved populations, regions and industries in the Commonwealth. In addition, the MassTech Intern Partnership has utilized funds to support the placement of over 160 interns at 100+ startups across Massachusetts, including companies in the health IT, robotics, big data, and advanced manufacturing spaces.

Massachusetts Governor's Corner


GOVERNOR PATRICK VISTS QUINCY CAREER CENTER TO CELEBRATE RESIDENTS ACROSS THE STATE GETTING BACK TO WORK

Commonwealth’s 33 Career Centers Have Served 1.6 million job seekers 

August 2014

Governor Deval Patrick today toured the Quincy Career Center to promote the range of programs and services offered by the Commonwealth’s 33 one-stop career centers to job seekers across the state. Since Governor Patrick took office, nearly half of the 1.6 million job seekers served by these 33 centers across the state have found gainful employment.

“Massachusetts’ competitive edge lies in our highly-skilled workforce and our willingness to work together to connect workers with employment opportunities,” said Governor Patrick. “The Quincy Career Center, alongside centers from across the state, is an example of how we are choosing to invest in every one of our residents, for today and the future.” 

Career centers deliver to job seekers the grants and programs put together by the Commonwealth’s workforce development system. The Patrick Administration’s strategy for creating jobs through targeted investments in education, innovation and infrastructure has paid off and resulted in the creation of more than 100,000 jobs, leading to the highest level of employment in Massachusetts in nearly 25 years. In June, the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent, the lowest rate since 2008. 

“Our career center programing really reflects the changes that today’s job seekers face when they look for 21st century jobs,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rachel Kaprielian. “Our free seminars, workshops, personal counseling, job fairs and other services help job seekers translate their job skills into new career paths, leverage technology and social media to make personal connections to employers and overcome barriers that can lead to long-term unemployment.” 

During the tour of the Quincy Career Center, Governor Patrick sat in on one of the seminars that connect the newly unemployed to services available for job seekers. Quincy is one of the many career centers that offers specialized services for veterans and job seekers with disabilities.  The Quincy Career Center also serves a large Asian population by providing specialized translation services. Last year, more than 4,600 of the Center’s job seekers found employment.  

“Career center staff is trained to provide professional career counseling, but more importantly our service representatives know how to deal compassionately with someone who has just lost their job,” said Alice Sweeney, Director of Career Center Services. “It can be the most devastating time in a person’s working life and the first thing we need to do is help build up their confidence in their skills and experience.”

Among the resources provided by the Patrick Administration and made available to businesses and employers are workforce training grants. These grants enable large and small businesses to retrain their workers and create new jobs. Under Governor Patrick, more than $89.1 million in general workforce training fund grants went to 1,149 projects and 1,217 businesses throughout the Commonwealth.

“One of the reasons our career centers can be so helpful to job seekers is because of the connections we make to local businesses in understanding their labor needs and matching them to people looking for work,” said Don Uvanitte, Chairman of the South Shore Workforce Investment Board, which partners with the Commonwealth in running career centers on the South Shore. “We not only help businesses recruit and hire employees, but we also guide them to state resources that will help their businesses prosper.”


GOVERNOR PATRICK SIGNS LEGISLATION PROHIBITING POSSESSION, SALE, TRADE AND DISTRIBUTION OF SHARK FINS 

August 2014

Governor Deval Patrick today signed H. 4088, “An Act Prohibiting the Possession, Sale, Trade and Distribution of Shark Fins.” With this legislation, the Commonwealth prohibits the commercial possession and sale of shark fins in Massachusetts, although licenses can be issued to possess shark fins for scientific research. Additionally, the possession and sale of fins from several locally caught species such as skate, smooth hound sharks and spiny dogfish is not prohibited.

"With the passing of this law Massachusetts builds upon its long history of animal protection and environmental stewardship," said Governor Patrick. "I congratulate the passionate animal welfare and ocean conservation leaders who worked together to ensure the conservation of sharks and our oceans for generations to come." 

Punishment for violating this provision would include fines ranging from $500 to $1,000, imprisonment for up to 60 days and the suspension or revocation of fishing licenses. 

The bill primarily affects distributors and retailers of imported shark fins, including markets and restaurant, and will have a minimal impact on Massachusetts commercial fishing and processing due to the exemption of locally caught species.  

The law is the product of two separate bills that were filed by Representative David Nangle and Senator Jason Lewis on behalf of 9-year-old Sean Lesniak, a Lowell native who has loved sharks since he was 3. Sean wanted to do something to try to stop the practice of shark finning, the removal and retention of shark fins while the remainder of the living fish is discarded in the ocean leaving the shark unable to move and ultimately causing death from a predator or suffocation.  

After writing a letter to his local elected official, Representative Nangle, the Representative filed a bill on Sean’s behalf to ban shark finning in the Commonwealth. Last summer, Sean testified in support of the legislation before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, explaining that shark finning has decimated shark populations around the world. He emphasized to the committee that these marine fish are essential to maintaining a healthy ocean ecosystem, and that the extinction of sharks can lead to the collapse of fisheries.

“I am glad that the Representatives, Senators and Governor realized how important this bill is to the preservation and conservation of sharks,” said Lesniak. “Sharks are needed to keep our oceans balanced and healthy. I really want to thank all parties that worked so hard to make this a reality.” 

The final bill passed the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support.

“Taking steps to diminish this unspeakably inhumane practice isn’t just a moral issue about preventing cruelty to animals,” said Senator Lewis. “This is also an important environmental and economic issue. Healthy shark populations are vital for a functioning ecosystem in our oceans. Removing Massachusetts from participating in the cruel shark fin trade is the right thing to do morally, environmentally and economically.”

“It has been truly an honor to watch the progress of this legislation, and to watch how Sean has grown throughout the process,” said Representative Nangle. “He was already quite the expert on sharks when we first met, and now he is an expert on the legislative process. I am extremely proud of him; his involvement in the passage of this bill is a great testament to the civics education the youth of the Commonwealth have available to them. Massachusetts can now join the ranks of the growing number of states that are taking a stand against this inhumane practice. Sean took a stand for what he believes in - I hope this inspires others to make their voices heard on issues that are important to them.”


GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES NEW SUPPORT FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS ACROSS THE COMMONWEALTH

Over $83 Million Will Build or Preserve 1,328 Units of Housing, Create Over 2,000 Construction Jobs

July 2014

Governor Deval Patrick today announced $83.6 million in funding to create 24 affordable housing projects across the state, building on the Patrick Administration’s commitment to improving housing infrastructure to support growth and opportunity throughout the Commonwealth. In all, the projects will create 1,328 units of housing and over 2,000 jobs. 

“Affordable housing helps to generate jobs, grow local businesses and strengthen our communities” said Governor Patrick. “Government’s role is to help people help themselves, and sustainable affordable housing will create growth and opportunity in our communities that will last for generations to come.”

 Since 2007, the Patrick Administration has invested over $1 billion in state and federal resources to create 24,000 units of housing, of which approximately 22,000 are affordable. 

Last week, Governor Patrick released his Fiscal Year 2015 Capital Investment Plan, which builds upon the Administration's successful efforts to stimulate job creation and support long-term economic growth by making record level investments in higher education, innovation and infrastructure projects. The FY15 Capital Plan continues to make investments in low-income housing development, including increased levels of funding for programs that support the production and preservation of affordable housing for low-income families and individuals, as well as community-based housing for clients of the Department of Mental Health and Department of Developmental Services.

“Providing quality housing to those who need it must be a priority,” said Congressman Mike Capuano. “I commend the Patrick Administration for its commitment to creating housing for families most in need.” 

“Even as our economy continues to improve, more and more families are having difficulty finding safe, affordable housing,” said Congressman Jim McGovern.  “I’m particularly pleased to see the investments in Northampton and Greenfield announced today. I commend the Patrick Administration for their continued commitment to this important issue.”

“These funds will help provide affordable and secure housing to families in Fitchburg, Haverhill, and Lunenburg, with economic ripple effects across the Third District,” said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. “Projects such as these prioritize the reuse of historic buildings, boost the local economy and help put people back to work, making them a valuable investment in our communities.” 

In November 2012, Governor Patrick announced the Commonwealth’s goal of creating 10,000 multi-family housing units per year. By creating this type of housing, which is attractive to young families and individuals, Massachusetts is better prepared to keep in state the skilled, young workforce which employers are seeking.  

Last fall, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki accepted a national “workforce housing” award from the Urban Land Institute, recognizing the Patrick Administration’s leadership in pursuing a strategy to increase the supply of housing needed, and in the places needed, for its workforce. 

Improving the housing stock at all levels is a priority for the Patrick Administration. Along with creating new housing, the Administration has made significant investments in the Commonwealth’s public housing stock, by preserving and improving the 46,000 housing units in the system through increased capital funding, increased operating subsidies and changes in management of those resources.

“Housing is the cornerstone to economic success in the Commonwealth,” said Undersecretary of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Aaron Gornstein. “Through key initiatives and collaborations across state government and with our local partners, we continue to ensure a stable and robust housing market for our neighbors and our communities. Expanding and preserving affordable housing opportunities for families and seniors with modest incomes is especially important.” 

“This investment in affordable housing is critical for families living in the high-cost, Metro-Boston area,” said State Senator Sal DiDomenico. “These developments are vital to keeping Massachusetts’s competitive edge in our current economy, keeping valuable workers from moving out of state, and will give average residents the ability to live, work, and send their children to schools in the cities and communities that they call home.” 

“These investments will make sure high quality affordable housing is within the reach of working families,” said State Senator Benjamin B. Downing. “I applaud the Patrick administration for maintaining their commitment to investing in communities across Massachusetts.”

“I am thrilled by Governor Patrick's announcement today about continued investments in affordable housing," said State Senator James T. Welch. "Preserving and creating affordable housing is essential to the success and stability of families here in Western Massachusetts and throughout the Commonwealth." 

“The Fitchburg Yarn Mill is a historic complex of buildings on the Nashua River,” said Representative Stephen L. DiNatale. “This revitalization project is a beautiful example of an effective public-private partnership and a successful redevelopment project.”

“This will be a great help in restoring a significant number of housing units in one of the City’s oldest, and more substantial, complexes,” said Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi.

“The City of Greenfield, a “green” community, has been a staunch supporter of Governor Patrick’s call to rebuild affordable housing for all levels of the wage scale,” said Greenfield Mayor William Martin. “As an active participant evidenced by new and substantial rehabilitation of the 55-year-old Oak Courts Veterans family housing of 72 units and single family home developments in several locations, Greenfield will provide additional modern and energy efficient housing at Leyden Woods for working families. This housing, coupled with the availability of new jobs in surrounding industries, will continue the momentum toward our economic development goals. I thank the Governor and Secretary Bialecki for recognizing Greenfield as a partner on their team.” 

“This funding for Highland Woods is crucial to Williamstown's goals of increasing affordable housing and relocating residents of The Spruces mobile home park decimated by Tropical Storm Irene,” said Williamstown Town Manager Peter L. Fohlin. “Governor Patrick and Secretary Bialecki have been steadfast supporters of our recovery efforts to provide homes for as many Spruces families as possible, as well as other deserving seniors. “This project is only possible thanks to the committed partnership of private developers, town funding, and State financial and technical support.”

The following projects were announced today:

75 Amory Avenue, Boston, is a new construction project located in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood and sponsored by Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC).  DHCD will support the project with federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, federal HOME funds and state bond subsidies; the City of Boston also will support the project. When completed, 75 Amory Avenue will offer 39 affordable units for families, with eight units reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income. 

RTH Riverway, Boston, is a new construction project located in the Longwood Medical Area and sponsored by Roxbury Tenants of Harvard (RTH).  DHCD will support RTH Riverway with federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits, federal HOME funds and state bond subsidies; the City of Boston also will provide funds to the project. When completed, the project will include 60 affordable units for families, with 14 units reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income.

Whittier-Lyndhurst-Washington, Boston, is a part preservation, part historic re-use and part new construction project located in the Dorchester neighborhood  and sponsored by Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation. DHCD will support the project with federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, federal HOME funds, and state bond subsidies; the City of Boston also will support the project.  When completed, Whittier-Lyndhurst-Washington will offer 44 affordable units for families, with 13 units reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income. 

Port Landing, Cambridge, is a new construction project located in Kendall Square sponsored by Capstone Communities and Hope Real Estate.  DHCD will support the project with Housing Stabilization Funds, Commercial Area Transit Node Program Funds, Affordable Housing Trust Funds; the City of Cambridge will also support the project.  When completed, the project will include 20 affordable units for families, with two reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income.

Chapin School Veterans Housing, Chicopee, is the adaptive re-use of a historic school building.  The project is jointly sponsored by Soldier On, Inc. and the O’Connell Development Group, Inc.  DHCD will support the project with federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits.  It will also be supported by funding from the City of Chicopee.  When completed, Chapin School will offer 43 units of housing for veterans, all of which will be affordable.  Nine of the 43 units will be reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income. 

Village at Lincoln Park, Dartmouth, is a new construction family housing project to be built on the site of a former amusement park.  It is the first of several phases to be built on the site which received a 40R designation.  Other planned phases include an elderly rental project, as well as single family homes.  The Town is very supportive and has contributed $100,000 from the Dartmouth Affordable Housing Trust Fund to this phase of the project.  This phase will consist of 36 family units, of which four will be reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income.

Island Creek Village North Age Restricted, Duxbury, is a new construction project sponsored by Beacon Communities. DHCD will support the project with federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Affordable Housing Trust Funds.  When completed, Island Creek Village North Age Restricted will offer 94 units of affordable housing for residents aged 55 and older.  The sponsor is reserving 19 of the 94 units for households earning less than 30 percent of the area median income.

Fitchburg Yarn Mill Phase III, Fitchburg, is the adaptive re-use of a historic mill building sponsored by Winn Development. DHCD will support the project with federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits, federal HOME, Housing Stabilization Fund, Community Based Housing, Facilities Consolidation Fund and Affordable Housing Trust Fund subsidies.  When completed, Fitchburg Yarn Mill will offer 38 units of affordable housing for families.  The sponsor is reserving 10 of the 94 total units for households earning less than 30 percent of the area median income.

Leyden Woods Apartments, Phase I, Greenfield, is a new construction and preservation project sponsored by The Community Builders.  DHCD will support the project with federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, state Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Capital Improvement and Preservation Fund, Community Based Housing, Facilities Consolidation Fund and Affordable Housing Trust Fund subsidies.  When completed, Leyden Woods Apartments Phase I will offer 113 units of affordable housing for families.  The sponsor is reserving 23 of the 113 units for households earning less than 30 percent of the area median income. 

Tenney Place Apartments Phase I, Haverhill, is a new construction project sponsored by Dakota Partners.  DHCD will support Tenney Place Apartments with federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits, federal HOME funds and state bond subsidies; the City of Haverhill also will support the project.  When completed, Tenney Place Apartments will offer 72 affordable units for families; 56 units will be affordable, with eight units reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income.

Tritown Landing Phase III, Lunenberg, is a new construction project sponsored by Great Bridge Properties. DHCD will support the project with federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, federal HOME, Housing Stabilization Funds and Affordable Housing Trust Fund subsidies.  When completed, Tritown Landing Phase III will offer 32 units of affordable housing for families.  The sponsor is reserving four of the 32 units for households earning less than 30 percent of the area median income. 

Shoe Shop Place, Middleborough, is the adaptive re-use of a historic mill building.  The project is jointly sponsored by The Neighborhood Corporation and Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, Inc.  DHCD will support the project with federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Affordable Housing Trust Fund subsidies.  It will also be supported by funding from the Town of Middleborough and the Greater Attleboro and Taunton HOME Consortium.  When completed, Shoe Shop Place will offer 24 units of housing for families, all of which will be affordable.  Five of the 24 units will be reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income.

 Christopher Heights, Northampton, is a new construction project sponsored by The Grantham Group.  DHCD will support the project with federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Affordable Housing Trust Fund subsidies.  It will also be supported by funding from the City of Northampton.  When completed, Christopher Heights will offer 83 units of Assisted Living housing for seniors, 43 of which will be affordable.  Seventeen of the 43 affordable units will be reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income.

Leeds Transitional Housing, Northampton, is a new construction project sponsored by Soldier On, Inc.  DHCD will support the project with Housing Innovation Funds and Affordable Housing Trust Funds.  When completed, the project will include 16 units for women veterans and their children, with four units reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income. 

Dalton Apartments, Pittsfield, is a preservation project and sponsored by the Berkshire Housing Development Corporation and Rees-Larkin Development.  DHCD will support the project with federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits and state bond subsidies; the City of Pittsfield also will support the project.  When completed, Dalton Apartments will offer 100 affordable units for families, with 10 units reserved for families earning less than 30 percent of area median income. 

Stable Path Rental Housing, Provincetown, is a new construction project sponsored by the Community Housing Resource, Inc.  DHCD will support the project with federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, federal HOME, and state Housing Stabilization and Affordable Housing Trust Fund subsidies.  It will also be supported by funding from the Town of Provincetown and the Barnstable County HOME Consortium.  When completed, Stable Path will offer 23 units of housing for families, 18 of which will be affordable.  Five of the 23 units are reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income. 

Kendrigan Place, Quincy, is a preservation project located in Quincy and sponsored by NeighborWorks of Southern Massachusetts.  DHCD will support the project with Low Income Housing Tax Credits, state Low Income Housing Tax Credits, federal HOME, Community Based Housing, Capital Improvement and Preservation Fund and Affordable Housing Trust Fund subsidies.  It will also be supported by Quincy HOME, the Community Preservation Coalition and City of Quincy Affordable Housing Trust funding.  When completed, 78 units of affordable housing will be preserved. Eight of the units will be reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income.\

189 Broadway, Revere, is a new construction project for seniors sponsored by The Neighborhood Developers.  DHCD will support the project with federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Facilities Consolidation Fund and federal HOME funds. The development will also receive funding from the North Suburban HOME Consortium. When completed, 189 Broadway will offer 39 units of affordable housing for adults aged 55 and older.  The sponsor is reserving four of the 39 units for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income.

Kenwyn Quadrangle, Springfield, is the preservation of two historic buildings that currently house low and moderate-income families.  Each property has been owned and managed by HAPHousing for over 15 years.  Kenwyn Apartments completed its 15-year Low Income Housing Tax Credit compliance (LIHTC) period in 2010; Quadrangle Court completed its 15-year LIHTC compliance period in 2013.  The buildings need recapitalization and additional historic, life and safety improvements.  Together they comprise 60 units of housing, of which six will be set aside for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income.

Outing Park II, Springfield, is a preservation and new construction project located in the Outing Park Historic District and is sponsored by the First Resource Development Company.  DHCD will support the project with federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits, federal HOME funds and state bond subsidies; the City of Springfield also will support the project. When completed, Outing Park II will offer 118 affordable units for families, with 12 units reserved for families earning less than 30 percent of area median income.

Cranberry Manor & Carpenter’s Glen, Wareham and Taunton, is the restructuring of two projects that will bring needed capital improvement and continued affordability to these two affordable housing resources on the South Shore.  The project is sponsored by the South Shore Housing Development Corporation, which is the current owner of the project.  DHCD will support the project with Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Housing Stabilization Fund and Community Based Housing funds.  Six of the units will be reserved for families earning less than 30 percent of area median income. 

Highland Woods, Williamstown, is a new construction project sponsored by Berkshire Housing, Inc.  DHCD will support the project with federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Housing Stabilization Fund and Affordable Housing Trust Fund subsidies.  It will also be supported by funding from the Town of Williamstown.  When completed, Highland Woods will offer 40 units of housing for seniors, all of which will be affordable.  Eight of the 40 units will be reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income. 

John Howland Jr. House, New Bedford, is the adaptive re-use of a historic building in New Bedford.  The project is sponsored by the Waterfront Historic Area League.  DHCD will support the project with federal HOME funds.  It will also be supported by funding from the City of New Bedford.  When completed, Howland House will offer seven units of housing, five of which will be affordable. 

181 Washington Street, Somerville, is a new construction project located in Union Square, Somerville and sponsored by the Somerville Community Corporation.  DHCD will support the project with federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits, AHTF, CBH and HSF.  The development will also receive funding from the City of Somerville.  When completed, 181 Washington will offer 35 units of affordable family housing.  The sponsor is reserving eight units of the 35 units for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income.  


GOVERNOR PATRICK SIGNS DOMESTIC WORKERS BILL OF RIGHTS LEGISLATION

Bill Provides Basic Labor Protections for Home Workers 

July 2014

Governor Deval Patrick today hosted a ceremonial bill signing for S.2132, “An Act Establishing a Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights.” The bill extends basic work standards and labor protections to approximately 67,000 nannies, housekeepers, care givers and other home workers. The Governor officially signed the bill into law on June 26. 

“Domestic workers represent an important segment of our workforce and are important to the Massachusetts economy,” said Governor Patrick. “This bill ensures they have the same basic workplace rights that we guarantee other workers in Massachusetts.”

“I am proud of the Legislature for taking action to extend the same rights and protections to all workers in the Commonwealth,” said Senate President Therese Murray. “This bill makes the necessary changes to cut down on potential for abuse and clarify responsibilities in the workplace. As a result, we are closer to achieving our standards of ensuring a more fair environment for our domestic workers.” 

The bill guarantees that domestic workers get breaks for meals and rest, termination notices, and work evaluations. It also clarifies their work duties and state laws regarding what deductions employers can make for food and lodging. The Attorney General’s Office has been charged with enforcing the bill of rights once it goes into effect April 1, 2015. 

“Domestic workers by the very nature of their jobs are isolated, and are often unaware of their rights,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley. “All workers deserve to be paid fairly and to enjoy basic workplace standards. This law will help to ensure that these workers and their employers are aware of the rights now afforded to them.”

“Domestic workers often are poorly paid and vulnerable to discrimination and poor working conditions,” said Labor and Workforce Secretary Rachel Kaprielian. “This bill ensures they have at the very least, basic workplace rights.”

The law also ensures that domestic workers are protected from discrimination and sexual harassment and brings their employers under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

“Today, we take another step forward by signing into effect legislation that will provide both a necessary and comprehensive set of rights and privileges for our Commonwealths’ Domestic Workers,” said Senator Anthony Petruccelli. “I am honored to have had the opportunity to assist in the passage of this bill.”

“The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights ensures that nannies, house cleaners and personal care attendants are treated with respect,” said Representative Michael Moran. “I’ve been personally touched by the stories of abuse that have been shared with me. I am proud the Commonwealth is able to make history today and ensure this type of abuse never happens again in our state. 

“The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights corrects a long-standing injustice by extending essential protections to the workers who care for the homes and loved ones of Massachusetts’ residents,” said Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. “My mother did domestic work as a young immigrant, and I am all too aware of the way that existing law devalued the work of women, immigrants, and people of color. The new law recognizes that these workers do vital, skilled, productive work that our economy depends on. I’m grateful for the leading role that Boston’s legislators played in advancing this bill.”

“On behalf of the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers, we are so appreciative that the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights law will guarantee domestic workers basic workplace standards including 24 hours off per 7-day calendar week, maternity leave, and enforceable protection from discrimination, sexual harassment, illegal charges for food and lodging, eviction of live-in domestic workers without notice and from retaliation for asserting wage violations,” said Monica Halas, Greater Boston Legal Services Lead Attorney.

Massachusetts joins three other states, New York, California and Hawaii, in passing labor protections for domestic workers. The Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards will develop a multilingual outreach program to educate the Commonwealth’s domestic workers about their rights.

Evan Falchuk

Independent Candidate for Governor of MA