Abundant Housing Names Vargas Legislator of the Year for Housing Efforts

State Rep. Andy X. Vargas and his son Rubén. (WHAV News photograph.)

State Rep. Andy X. Vargas of Haverhill was recently awarded Abundant Housing’s Legislator of the Year Award for his “Yes in My Back Yard” and other efforts to boost both affordable and market-rate housing statewide.

Abundant Housing is described as a “statewide coalition of pro-housing activists standing up for housing for all in Communities across Massachusetts.” According to the organization, the award recognizes a “state or local legislator who went above and beyond to push the pro-housing agenda forward.” They called Vargas one of the “most outspoken pro-housing legislators.”

“Our current housing situation is decades in the making, and it will require bold action to sustainably address the problem,” Vargas said, adding, “Abundant Housing is doing the grassroots organizing work necessary to create the long-term solutions on housing. The housing shortage is affecting individuals, families and even our economic competitiveness as a state. I look forward to continuing to partner with Abundant Housing and others to make Massachusetts a leader in housing production.”

Vargas sponsored the MBTA Communities law that passed in 2020. The legislation requires 177 municipalities serviced by the MBTA to zone for multi-family housing near transit.

Vargas was also the sponsor of An Act to promote Yes in My Back Yard, which aims to boost both affordable and market-rate housing production statewide. The YIMBY Act would, amongst other things, legalize accessory dwelling units statewide, lower the voting threshold for municipalities to pass inclusionary zoning, bans parking minimums near transit zones and sets a statewide housing production goal.

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