A Haverhill couple received special recognition Wednesday night when Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey cited their success in buying a home as an example of how the state is addressing the shortage of affordable housing.
During her first State of the Commonwealth speech before a joint session of the House and Senate, Healey introduced Abelardo Corona and Gabriela Amezcua. The governor noted they were connected with a MassHousing mortgage and MassDreams grant, which enabled them to buy a home in Haverhill.
“Abelardo and Gabriela are here tonight from Haverhill, with their two beautiful children. He works in a factory and she’s an early educator. They love Haverhill and they wanted to buy their first home there. But with prices what they are, it didn’t make sense—and they started looking at other parts of the country. Then they got connected with state programs that helped—and now they are homeowners in Haverhill,” Healey said during the live address.
The couple ultimately benefitted from a MassHousing mortgage and MassDreams grant. The governor used the Haverhill success story to push for passage of her proposed $4 billion Affordable Homes Act, described as “the most ambitious housing plan in Massachusetts history.”
“The Affordable Homes Act will create thousands of opportunities just like theirs. It would inject hundreds of millions of dollars into building programs and first-time homebuyer programs. It will reduce barriers to housing production and give communities the tools to develop more housing where they need it. It would bring down housing costs for everyone.”
Specifically, the plan would make more money available for MassDreams and the Commonwealth Builder Fund, which creates housing for first-time homebuyers, to make these opportunities available to even more families. Healey’s office explained the proposal will “create middle-class housing, make homeownership a reality for families that have been priced out, build affordable homes at every income level, repair public housing, create supportive housing for seniors, veterans and people with disabilities and support good construction careers with strong labor standards.”
Among the guests present at the speech were former Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, who holds Haverhill ties; former Gov. Jane Swift; former House speakers Charles F. Flaherty, Salvatore Francis “Sal” DiMasi and Robert A. DeLeo; and former Senate Presidents Robert E. Travaglini and Stanley C. Rosenberg.