Rep. Vargas Discusses Haverhill Housing Success and State Plans at White House Conference

State Rep. Andy X. Vargas. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill Rep. Andy X. Vargas was one of two Massachusetts representatives to take part last week in a White House meeting with state legislative leaders on housing affordability.

The conversation centered on the severity of the housing shortage across states and how state legislatures have worked to decrease living costs in recent years. The group included 18 state legislators from across the country. Vargas and Rep. Kevin Honan of Boston sponsored and passed in 2021 the MBTA Communities legislation that mandated zoning of housing near MBTA stations.

In a statement yesterday, Vargas said he also discussed the Commonwealth Builder Program, made possible by the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, which creates subsidized homeownership opportunities for first-time homebuyers, particularly low-income people and communities of color.

As WHAV reported in June of 2021, the first Commonwealth Builder home was built in Haverhill.

Vargas also discussed the state’s Housing Choice law which passed last year and is aimed at lowering the threshold for housing project approvals in communities. Honan discussed Massachusetts’ affordable housing law 40B and Chapter 40R, the state law aimed at producing more housing and smart growth.

In a statement, the White House reported “State leaders also discussed actions to reduce regulatory barriers for affordable housing, increase funding for affordable housing, protect tenant rights, ensure fair housing access and address homelessness.”

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