On January 15th, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) learned from experts about the housing crisis in Massachusetts. As part of this program, PILP heard from Eric Shupin, the Director of Public Policy for the Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), and Brad Kramer, the Director of Public Policy for One Family. CHAPA is a public policy oriented organization whose goal is to encourage the production and preservation of housing that is affordable to low and moderate income families and individuals and to foster diverse and sustainable communities through planning and community development. One Family is a service provider aiming to prevent family homelessness by promoting pathways to economic independence through advocacy, education, and innovation.
Eric gave an overview of the state of the housing crisis in Massachusetts and explained the dire need for action to counteract it. CHAPA focuses on solving the housing crisis through production of more homes that are affordable, preserving existing affordable housing and the ability of residents to stay in their communities, planning for more diversity in the state’s housing stock, and policies that provide everyone with opportunities to prosper. Eric also discussed emerging housing policy issues in the state, including zoning reform, new revenue for housing, and anti-displacement and tenant protections.
Brad discussed One Family’s approach to preventing family homelessness, which includes the One Family Scholars program as well as career coaching. One Family Scholars receive coaching and financial assistance to help them earn a higher education degree, which in turn makes it possible for them to become financially independent and more likely to be able to afford housing. 91% of the program’s alumni are stably housed. One Family also engages in public policy work to further the goal of preventing family homelessness through economic opportunity.
Meeting recap provided by PILP member Charlie Ahern (Massachusetts State Senate)