Housing (Supply Crisis & Public Policy)

Stand-alone housing secretariat moves forward

Senate approves Healey reorganization; House yet to act

“GOV. MAURA HEALEY’S plan to create a new Cabinet-level post on housing got the green light from the Senate on Thursday, bringing the administration one step closer to an adjustment it says will help address the state’s severe housing production and affordability crisis.

Splitting the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development in two has been an early priority for the new governor, who hits her 100th day in office on April 15. The administration has already started the search process for a housing secretary, Healey said.

Creating the new Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, and renaming the existing secretariat as the Executive Office of Economic Development, is a “first step in what I expect will be a continuing collaboration with the Legislature, municipal officials, and key stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth to increase the production of new housing over the long term,” Healey wrote in a letter accompanying the reorganization bill.

The pitch has been well-received by lawmakers and advocates alike over the past months. In remarks before the 39-0 vote approving the change, Sen. Lydia Edwards, who co-chairs the Joint Committee on Housing, said she hoped the separation would give the Healey administration a “tool” to create “integrated, equitable communities.”