State Senators Susan L. Moran (D-Falmouth) and Julian A. Cyr (D-Truro) partnered to file and pass several amendments that direct millions of dollars toward housing initiatives to Cape Cod and the islands. This came after the Senate debated and passed a bill to address COVID-19 recovery needs with funding coming from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, also known as ARPA, the legislators said in a press release.
“The situation on Cape Cod has reached a point where young people and working families are being completely shut out of the market because we have such a severe lack of affordable housing,” Sen. Moran said. “The Cape senatorial delegation unanimously recognizes the need to create more housing for our communities.”
“If we do not fundamentally change our course on housing, year-round working communities on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket will continue to erode,” Sen. Cyr said. “The price of housing in this special place has climbed exponentially so that working families who do not have a foothold here simply cannot make it.”
Sens. Cyr and Moran filed several amendments to the ARPA bill totaling $3.5 million in funding. Most of the dollars are directed to Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC), a Cape Cod-based nonprofit that assists residents across the entire region in accessing housing, operates homeless shelters and develops new housing.
The Senate adopted Sen. Moran’s amendment that allocates $2 million to enable HAC to finish two shovel-ready housing projects, one in Bourne and a second in Orleans. The two projects together will provide 56 units of housing for families on Cape Cod.
Sen. Cyr’s amendment allocates $1.5 million for several targeted initiatives to spur the development of accessory dwelling units, provide short-term rental subsidies to early educators and those who provide services to the developmentally disabled, and convene a housing advocacy coalition.
The $3.5 million Senate investment builds upon $1.3 million allocated by the state’s House of Representatives for housing initiatives on the Cape and islands, including $1 million secured by Representative Sarah K. Peake (D-Provincetown) for housing efforts on the Outer and Lower Cape and $300,000 secured by Representative Dylan A. Fernandes (D-Woods Hole) for a women’s homeless shelter on Martha’s Vineyard. If sustained in conference, the Cape and islands legislative delegation will bring $4.8 million to stem the housing crisis.
The bill will now be reconciled with the House before going to Governor Charles D. Baker Jr. for his signature.