SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, The Department of Housing and Community Development shall establish a program of rental assistance for five hundred extremely low-income, working families, consisting of one or more persons, through mobile and project-based vouchers; provided, that assistance shall be paid under a program to be known as the Massachusetts moving to economic opportunity housing program to be administered by the regional nonprofit housing agencies; provided further, that at initial occupancy a household’s gross annual income shall not exceed 30 per cent of the area median income as determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, adjusted for household size; provided further, that an adult member of the household must have a work history and be currently employed or seeking employment; provided further, that eligibility may continue for up to six months if the adult member of the household becomes involuntarily unemployed and meets work search or training participation requirements established by the department; provided further, that the initial voucher value shall be the difference between the approved monthly rent less the amount paid by the household; provided further, that a household shall pay thirty per cent of its gross income toward rent; provided further that a household shall receive assistance through this program until the tenant is paying the full amount of the rent without a subsidy for six months or the household’s gross annual income reaches 80 per cent of the area median income, adjusted for household size, or in the case of a project-based voucher attached to a unit subject to different restrictions, the restrictions imposed by such program; provided further, that project-based vouchers may be used to leverage capital funds provided by private foundations and shall be used to increase the affordability of units in any development; provided further, that the initial amount of a household’s voucher shall be reduced if the household’s income increases; provided further, that if the amount of the voucher is reduced, an amount equal to the reduction shall be placed in an escrow account to be held for the benefit of the household; provided further, that at the expiration of five years from the date of the first rental assistance payment or if the household voluntarily leaves the program prior to the expiration of five years from the date of the first rental assistance payment and the household’s program goals have been met, the funds placed in escrow shall be paid to the household; provided further, funds placed in escrow can be used by the household prior to completing the program in efforts to attain their program goals; provided further, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the release of the escrowed funds to a household, including interest earned thereon, shall not create any tax liability for the household, and the funds may be counted as the household’s contribution toward any match required from an existing individual development account, so-called, or similar program; provided further, that if the household is terminated from the program for cause, the escrowed funds shall revert to the department; provided further, that a household participating in this program shall remain eligible for state and federal assistance programs for which they otherwise qualify; provided further, that each household shall have a stabilization worker, and the department shall use funds provided for this program for stabilization workers who will link households to supports including job training, education, and childcare opportunities available to members of participating households or to facilitate a household’s participation in existing programs to the extent such programs are available and may enter into agreements with other public and private agencies for the provision of such services; provided further, that a mobile voucher whose use is or has been discontinued shall be re-assigned or converted to a project-based voucher within 90 days; and provided further, that the department shall pay agencies for the costs of administering the program.
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