While it is usually not efficient or feasible for communities to directly develop affordable housing, communities often contribute financially. This has become especially true in recent years as competition for limited federal and state resources has increased. As a result, many municipalities have developed local funding mechanisms. These resources can:
- Make it possible for communities to tailor their assistance to locally identified priorities
- Make it easier to leverage state and federal funds as applicants who can provide a local match usually have a competitive advantage in seeking tax credits and other public funding.
Local assistance can take a variety of forms, including providing direct funding or indirect assistance in the form of tax relief and/or fee reductions and waivers. Private donations and fundraising can also provide critical assistance to local projects. In Massachusetts, one of the most widely used local funding tool is the Community Preservation Act. Another popular tool is creating an affordable housing trust fund. To use these programs most effectively, it's important to understand how they work.