MAHT wins 25% rent reduction for up to 9,500 Low Income tenants in State MRVP Apartments

We did it!  MAHT has confirmed that the State Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has implemented a rent decrease from 40% to 30% of income for up to 9,500 low-income tenants who receive state Mass Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) subsidies. This amounts to a 25% reduction in the rent paid by low-income tenants who receive MRVP.  
Tenants who are in apartments "project based” MRVP will see the full rent reduction right away. Some of the 6,200 tenants with “mobile” MRVP Vouchers may be asked to pay more than 30% of income for the first year (up to 40%), if the Voucher payment amount is less than the “market” rent for their apartment, and a tenant voluntarily wishes to pay the extra amount to remain in that unit. But the vast majority of MRVP tenants saw a reduction in rental payments at the start of 2023, according to Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA).
Susan Strelec, 77, is a retired office worker and tenant in an MRVP apartment in Jamaica Plain. “The reduction in my rent from 40% to 30% of income, was more than $125 per month. I have a very small fixed income from Social Security.  For me, the MRVP rent reduction makes a huge difference and enables me to keep up with my bills”.  
The change was first proposed by MAHT tenants in 2016, in testimony by Mary Owens, David Nollman, Susan Strelec, Mort Berenson, and Sandi Padallero at Statehouse hearings and meetings with key legislative leaders and allies. Tenants testified to the onerous burden for extremely low-income people who had been forced to pay 40% of their income for more than 30 years in the state MRVP program, in contrast to the 30% ofincome rents paid by tenants in federal Section 8 apartments.   
MAHT tenant unions first negotiated the change with landlords at the building level since 2020, at Newcastle Saranac in the South End, Mercantile Wharf in the North End, and the Forbes Building in Jamaica Plain.  Over the years, MAHT tenants secured support from key allies at Homes for Families, Citizens Housing and Planning Association, Mass Law Reform Institute and the Building Blocks Coalition to extend the policy to all MRVP tenants. Our advocacy paid off when Governor Baker proposed the reduction in his FY 2023 budget request, and the legislature adopted it last year.  

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  • Cherai Mills
    published this page in Blog 2023-03-30 15:36:17 -0400