The General Laws are hereby amended by inserting after Chapter 121G the following chapter:-
THE STATE-AIDED PUBLIC HOUSING REVITILIZATION TRUST FUND.
Section 1. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:-
“Department”, the department of housing and community development.
“Fund”, the State-Aided Public Housing Revitalization Trust Fund established by section 2.
Section 2. (a) There shall be within the department a separate fund to be known as the State-Aided Public Housing Revitalization Trust Fund. The department shall administer the fund for the purpose of improving the living environment for state-funded public housing through the demolition, rehabilitation, reconfiguration, or replacement of obsolete housing projects or portions thereof; revitalize sites on which such state-funded public housing projects are located and contribute to the improvement of the surrounding neighborhood; and build sustainable communities. The fund shall be an expendable trust fund and shall not be subject to appropriation.
(b) There shall be credited to the fund, revenue from general obligation bond appropriations or other monies authorized by the general court and specifically designated for the fund and any gifts, grants, private contributions, repayment of loans, fees and charges imposed relative to the making of loans or grants, subsidies, credit enhancements and other financial assistance, investment income earned on the fund’s assets and any other sources. Money remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund.
Section 3. The fund shall finance revitalization grants and other financial assistance to municipalities and local housing authorities to encourage public-private partnerships to transform severely distressed public housing into mixed-income communities that assist residents in becoming self-sufficient. Activities eligible for assistance from the fund shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) demolition of severely distressed public housing;
(2) acquisition of sites for off-site construction;
(3) capital costs of major rehabilitation;
(4) new construction and other physical improvements;
(5) costs for mobility counseling and relocation; and
(6) community and supportive service programs for residents, including those relocated as a result of revitalization efforts.
Section 4. The department shall develop and administer a competitive grant process and shall not approve any project unless it shall have found that:
(1) The project area is a decadent, substandard or blighted open area.
(2) The project will be of public benefit, in the public interest and for a public purpose, consistent with the sound needs of the community as a whole, and any benefit to private entities or individuals will be indirect and incidental and not the purpose of the project.
(3) The project area would not by private enterprise alone and without either government subsidy or the exercise of governmental powers be made available for revitalization.
(4) The amount of the grant to be provided appears to be the minimum amount necessary to make the project feasible.
(5) The project will have a significant impact on the economic condition of the city or town.
(6) There exist, or it is anticipated that there will exist within a reasonable time after award of a grant, firm commitments of private or other public resources in amounts sufficient, when added to the amount of the proposed grant, to render the project financially sound.
Within a reasonable time after application of a grant, the department shall give written notice to the applicant of its decision with respect to the application.
Section 5. The department shall promulgate regulations for the implementation, administration and enforcement of this chapter including, but not limited to:
(1) minority and women business enterprise participation;
(2) the comparative degree of economic distress among applicants;
(3) the comparative degrees of physical deterioration of the areas in question;
(4) the extent of financial participation by other public or private entities;
(5) the maximization of the number of public housing units to be constructed or preserved relative to the grant amount;
(6) the feasibility of accomplishing the proposed project in a timely fashion within the grant amount available.
Section 6. The department shall give priority to applications for grants which, in addition to meeting the other factors in this chapter, promise to: (1) provide substantial employment or other direct benefit for low-income persons; (2) significantly improve the condition of a low-income neighborhood; (3) provide reinforcement for other housing or other community development-related investments by the commonwealth; or (4) combine the aforementioned characteristics.
Section 7. Subject to replacing the maximum number of units that are feasible and with the approval of the department, a project receiving a grant shall not be required to provide an equal number of low-rent relocation units to replace those occupied units that are removed in the reduction of an undesirable unit density pursuant to subsection (j) of section 26 of Chapter 121B of the General Laws.
Section 8. The department shall annually file a report with the house and senate committees on ways and means, the joint committee on housing and the house and senate committees on bonding, capital expenditures and state assets detailing all expenditures from the fund, including, but not limited to, the recipients of grants from the fund, the cost of administration, and the number of units constructed, acquired and rehabilitated.
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