The intention of the law is for all communities in the Boston metro area to share in the creation of diverse housing options. By working jointly over time to create more housing, the region can begin to address its dire affordability issues as the aggregate increase in housing stock releases pressure in the housing market over the long-term.
The Reading Master Plan has the stated housing goals of promoting diversity in housing types and households, increasing affordable units, and developing proactive housing policies. Complying with the law will bring Reading closer to those goals. We encourage you to look at the current housing and demographic statistics for Reading, now on our Reading by the Numbers page. Home prices have increased far above the median salary in the community, indicating that future homeownership in the town will be increasingly out of reach for the average person or family.
Communities that fail to comply will not be eligible for funds from the Housing Choice Initiative, the Local Capital Projects Fund, or the MassWorks infrastructure program. In Reading over the years 2018-2022 this funding has equaled $290,000 in awards. In 2023, the Town was awarded a $2.6 million MassWorks grant and additional grant applications continue to be pursued under these programs. Because these are grant programs, the amounts awarded are highly variable based on the Town's applications.
In March 2023 State Attorney General Campbell additionally clarified that failure to comply may result in civil enforcement action or liability under federal and state fair housing laws e.g. the state will sue municipalities that do not comply. (Press release)