SECTION 1. Section 1 of chapter 121B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of “Substandard area” the following definition:-
“Tenant member”, a member of the board of the housing authority who is directly assisted by that housing authority pursuant to this chapter.
SECTION 2. The first paragraph of section 5 of said chapter 121B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- Every member shall be a fiduciary of the housing authority.
SECTION 3. Section 5 of said chapter 121B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 8, the word “four” and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 3.
SECTION 4. Said section 5 of said chapter 121B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in lines 12 and 13 the words “, and the one receiving the next highest number of votes shall serve for one year”.
SECTION 5. Said section 5 of said chapter 121B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by adding the following paragraph:-
The department shall promulgate regulations establishing election procedures for tenants’ organizations to elect the tenant member in a town. If a tenant organization holds an election in compliance with the department’s regulations, the board of selectmen shall appoint the tenant elected as a member. Alternatively, a tenants’ organization may submit a list which contains not less than 2, but no more than 5 names to the board of selectmen who shall make the selection from among the names submitted; provided, however, that, where no public housing units are owned and operated by the housing authority and no such units are owned and operated on behalf of the housing authority, the board of selectmen shall appoint a tenant of the housing authority from lists submitted in accordance with this section. If no tenants’ organization is established, or if no list of names is submitted within 60 days after a vacancy occurs, the board of selectmen shall solicit applications from tenants and shall appoint any tenant of its choosing to the authority. The department shall notify in writing tenant organizations and the board of selectmen as specified herein not less than 90 days prior to the expiration of the term of a tenant member. Whenever a vacancy occurs in the term of a tenant member for any reason other than the expiration of a term, the housing authority shall notify in writing the department, the tenant organizations and the board of selectmen specified herein within 10 working days after the vacancy occurs.The board of selectmen shall make an appointment within a reasonable time after the expiration of 60 days after said notice. The department may grant a waiver of this requirement if a tenant has been elected pursuant to this section.
SECTION 6. Said chapter 121B, is hereby further amended by inserting after section 5 the following section:-
Section 5A. The department shall establish and implement a comprehensive training program for members. The training program shall be developed by the department in consultation with representatives of local housing authorities, municipal officials, public housing residents, public housing industry professional organizations and relevant state agencies.
The department shall provide instructions to members on the following laws and topics: (1) the open meeting law established pursuant to sections 18 to 25, inclusive of chapter 30A; (2) the public records law established pursuant to chapter 66; (3) the conflict of interest law established pursuant to chapter 268A ; (4) the uniform procurement act established pursuant to chapter 30B;, (5) state finance provisions established pursuant to chapter 29; (6) fraud prevention; (7) fiduciary responsibilities; (8) fair housing laws; and (9) tenant occupancy and tenant participation policies; (7) fiduciary responsibilities; and, (8) the laws prohibiting discrimination in publicly assisted housing established pursuant to Chapter 151B; section 4.6 through 4.7B, inclusive provided, that the department may include any other topics relevant to proper management of a housing or redevelopment authority. The department may consult with the attorney general and the inspector general in developing training programs on the duties of housing authority members.
The department shall provide independent technical assistance training to tenant members. The department shall develop said training with the goal of enabling tenant members and tenant members of local tenant organizations to participate fully in the oversight of the housing authority’s operation and capital planning. The department may permit tenants who are not members to attend technical assistance training.
Once appointed, all members shall complete the training program, as developed by the department, within 90 days of assuming the member’s position. Members shall complete a training program every 2 years. A member who does not complete the training program within the required time frame may be subject to removal proceedings pursuant to section 6.
SECTION 7. Said chapter 121B is hereby further amended by inserting after section 7 the following section:-
Section 7A The department shall promulgate guidelines for contracts to be executed by the housing authority and an executive director. The department shall have the authority to review all contracts between the housing authorities and executive directors, and all terms for payments or monetary remuneration relevant to state payments, and may strike any provisions that do not conform with said guidelines.
SECTION 8. Said chapter 121B is hereby further amended by inserting after section 26A the following 2 sections:-
Section 26B. (a) A housing authority shall participate in the performance-based monitoring program as established by the department in accordance with this section.
(b) The department shall establish and implement the performance-based monitoring program and develop and provide uniform assessment standards for evaluating housing authority operations. The assessment standards may incorporate public housing industry standards and measures and federal monitoring standards as applicable. The monitoring program and assessment standards established by the department shall be structured to enable the department to identify housing authorities that are failing to meet minimum standards and to develop and implement corrective action plans and targeted assistance by the department to improve performance to a satisfactory level.
(c) The monitoring program and assessment standards established by the department under this section shall be developed and implemented by the department in consultation with representatives of housing authorities, municipal officials, public housing residents and public housing industry professional organizations. At a minimum, the department shall include assessment standards for: (i) executive director and senior staff training; (ii) board member training; (iii) senior staff certification in public procurement procedures; (iv) budget management; (v) minimum experience and education requirements to be used when hiring new executive directors; (vi) maintenance and repair of existing units; (vii) procedure and timeline for vacant unit turnover; (viii) capital project planning; (ix) resident services, including job training initiatives and family self-sufficiency programming; and (x) participation in the capital assistance team program established by section 26C.
(d) The department shall establish guidelines for designating a housing authority as “chronically poor performing” under the monitoring program. The department shall develop these guidelines in consultation with representatives of local housing authorities, municipal officials, public housing residents and public housing industry professional organizations. If a housing authority is designated as a chronically poor performing authority, the department shall also have the power to terminate the employment of the executive director and appoint a chief administrative and financial officer, hereinafter referred to as the CAFO, who shall be responsible for the overall administration of the housing authority. The department shall appoint the CAFO for a term of not more than 3 years. The CAFO shall be appointed solely on the basis of administrative and executive qualifications and shall be a person especially fitted by education, training and experience to perform the duties of the office. The CAFO shall not be required to be a resident of the same municipality as the housing authority to be administered or the commonwealth. The powers and duties of the CAFO shall include the following: (i) coordinating, administering and supervising of all financial services and activities; (ii) implementing and maintaining uniform systems, controls and procedures for all financial activities; (iii) reviewing all proposed contracts and obligations; (iv) reviewing the spending plan for each department; (v) evaluating the housing authority’s current annual plan under section 28A and implementing a written plan to meet the department’s assessment standards established pursuant to this section, including, but not limited to, merging with another housing authority or regional housing authority. Annually, on or before March 30, the CAFO shall submit a 4-year financial plan and a 5-year capital plan to the department that includes all capital needs of the housing authority. (e) The Department shall promulgate regulations requiring all housing authorities to post on the wall of the community center for each of its developments the names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, or other means of contact for all members and senior staff, and maintain a website that shall display the same information.
Section 26C. (a) The department shall establish a program to provide capital planning and technical assistance to housing authorities. The program shall include 3 capital assistance teams, which shall aid housing authority members and executive directors in developing and managing the housing authority’s capital program, including: (i) developing a capital plan as required in the housing authority’s annual plan under section 26B; (ii) preparing applications for special capital project funds; (iii) implementing capital improvement projects; (iv) managing updates to the department’s capital planning system; (v) facilitating coordination between housing authorities to ensure efficient use of capital and maintenance funds; and (vi) other functions related to capital planning, renovation, and redevelopment as the department deems necessary; provided however, that the capital assistance team shall provide services to the housing authority without requiring payment for said services by the housing authority. The capital assistance teams shall be located in regions to be designated by the department.
(b) Housing authorities with 500 or fewer state-aided units shall participate in the program. The department may grant a waiver of this requirement; provided, that a housing authority can demonstrate satisfactory performance under the assessment standards of section 26B.
(c) Each capital assistance team shall be located at a host housing authority. Three host housing authorities shall be selected by the department by developing and issuing a request for proposal; provided further, that the department shall select 1 host housing authority in each of the designated regions. The department shall promulgate regulations to increase the salary of the host housing authority director.
(d) Each capital assistance team shall have a director to be hired by the host housing authority in consultation with the department. The director shall hire project management and capital planning staff to work directly with housing authorities to provide the technical assistance described; provided, however, thatno staff member shall individually oversee more than 2,500 units on a permanent basis.
(e) An advisory board shall be created for each capital assistance team, which shall consist of 11 members. The host housing authority shall appoint 1 of its own board members to the advisory board; the department shall promulgate regulations establishing election procedures for the selection of the remaining 10 members. The department shall limit eligibility for election to members of participating housing authorities in the region. The advisory board shall meet on a quarterly basis with the capital assistance team director, host housing authority director and the director of the department, or a designee and shall discuss issues of program performance and coordination.
SECTION 9. Said chapter 121B is hereby further amended by inserting after section 28 the following section:-
Section 28A. (a) Each housing authority shall submit to the department an annual plan, which states the housing authority’s goals and objectives to meet the department’s assessment standards under section 26B. The annual plan shall include the housing authority’s capital improvement plans for the following year and address any deficiencies in meeting applicable performance standards.
(b) The housing authority shall make the annual plan available for public review and comment through an annual public hearing. Not later than 45 days before the date of any public hearing the housing authority shall publish a notice informing the public of the agenda items, which shall be covered at the hearing, including, but not limited to: (i) the housing authority’s proposed operating budget; (ii) the housing authority’s proposed capital plan; and (iii) the housing authority’s specific plan to meet the assessment standards under section 26B.
(c) The department shall promulgate regulations to implement the provisions of this section.
SECTION 10. The first paragraph of section 29 of said chapter 121B, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following 5 sentences:- The members of a housing authority shall annually, at a time to be determined by the department, file with the department a written report for its last preceding fiscal year. Such report shall be filed in the manner prescribed by the department and shall contain an audited financial statement, an annual plan as provided for pursuant to this chapter and other information as the department may require. Each housing authority shall contract with an external auditor to prepare the audited financial statement; and provided further, that the audited financial statement shall be prepared in accordance with such generally accepted accounting principles and reporting practices as may from time to time be prescribed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or its successor organization. An external auditor shall perform no more than 3 consecutive audits for a housing authority. The department may grant a waiver of this requirement to a housing authority; provided, that the housing authority is unsuccessful in procuring bids from multiple external auditors qualified to perform the housing authority’s state and federal audit. The report, including the audited financial statement and the annual plan, shall be made available to the public on the department’s website, as well as the housing authority’s website required under section 26B. A member who does not submit the written report as required by the department may be subject to removal proceedings pursuant to section 6.. Additionally, housing authorities shall be subject to audit by the state auditor, in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards, as often as the auditor determines is necessary. In determining the audit frequency of housing authorities, the state auditor shall consider the materiality, risk and complexity of housing authority activities, as well as the nature and extent of prior audit findings. Each housing authority may be audited separately or as a part of an audit covering multiple housing authorities.
SECTION 11. Section 34 of said chapter 121B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the eighth paragraph.
SECTION 12. Said section 34 of chapter 121B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in lines 208 to 209, the words “by the state auditor or”.
SECTION 13. Said chapter 121B is hereby further amended by inserting after section 38B the following 2 sections:-
Section 38C. The department shall establish and implement a program for the purpose of conducting annual surveys of public housing residents. The department shall develop the annual survey in conjunction with stakeholders, including public housing residents. The survey shall be conducted by the department and shall preserve the anonymity of the residents. The survey shall be conducted in languages which reflect the tenants in residing in the housing authorities and the survey respondents shall be allowed to respond in their native language. The survey shall include, at a minimum, questions about maintenance and repair of units, housing authority communication to residents, resident participation in housing authority governance, resident safety and resident services, such as job training programs. The department shall establish procedures to conduct physical inspections of a representative sample of units in conjunction with the survey; provided further, that the results of the survey shall be used to evaluate the housing authority’s performance under section 26B. Local housing authorities shall have the right to respond to the results of the surveys in writing within 60 days of the results being transmitted to the local housing authority by the department.
Section 38D. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-
“Affordable housing”, homeownership or rental housing which is restricted to occupancy by low or moderate income households of 1 or more persons and for which the sale price or rents are affordable as defined by the criteria for inclusion in the department’s subsidized housing inventory or consistent with funding sources.
“Affordable housing development”, a development of new or rehabilitated affordable housing, which may include market-rate housing if such market-rate housing is reasonably necessary for the financial feasibility of construction or operation of the affordable housing.
“Extremely low income household”, a household with a gross income at or less than 30 per cent of area median household income as most recently determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, adjusted for household size; provided further, that “low or moderate income household” shall mean persons and households earning less than 150 per cent of Nantucket or Dukes county median household income as reported from time to time by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Housing authority”, a housing authority established pursuant to section 3.
“Low or moderate income household”, a household with gross income at or less than 80 per cent of area median household income as most recently determined by the United States. Department of Housing and Urban Development, adjusted for household size.
“Market-rate housing”, homeownership or rental housing which is not restricted to occupancy by low or moderate income households. Market-rate housing may be made available for occupancy by households without regard to income, and it may also include housing subject to maximum income limits to be occupied by households with gross income greater than 80 per cent but not more than 150 per cent of the area median household income as most recently determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, adjusted for household size.
“Program”, the regional public housing innovation program under this section.
“Public housing”, state-assisted housing developed through funds provided under chapter 200 of the acts of 1948, chapter 667 of the acts of 1956, chapter 705 of the acts of 1966, chapter 689 of the acts of 1974 and chapter 167 of the acts of 1987.
“Regional housing authority”, a housing authority established pursuant to section 3A.
“Very low income household”, a household with a gross income at or less than 50 per cent but greater than 30 per cent of area median household income as most recently determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, adjusted for household size.
(b)(1) A regional housing authority may apply to the department for approval to participate in the program. Participation shall be limited to applicants that have the ability to plan and carry out activities under the program, as evidenced by prior performance in the operation and maintenance of public housing, demonstrate a need to redevelop and repair occupied and vacant public housing units and other appropriate factors as determined by the director of the department.
(2) The department may determine the housing authorities participating in the program; provided that, the total number of authorities may not exceed 4 authorities. To be eligible to participate in the program, a housing authority shall be a regional housing authority under section 3A; 3 of the participating housing authorities shall have no fewer than 7 participating communities and portfolios of no fewer than 750 state-aided public housing units; And 1 of the 4 authorities shall have a portfolio of between 250 and 700 state-aided public housing units and no fewer than 10 participating communities; and (iii) nothing in this section shall prohibit participation by an otherwise eligible housing authority on Nantucket Island or Martha’s Vineyard. In selecting participating authorities, the department shall establish criteria that provides for representation of housing authorities having various characteristics, including housing authorities serving urban, suburban and rural areas, and housing authorities in various geographical regions throughout the commonwealth; provided, however, that the department shall create a position within the department to provide assistance to housing authorities during the process of becoming a regional housing authority under section 3A.
(3) The department shall require program applicants to describe how tenants shall be provided with independent technical assistance sufficient to allow them meaningful and informed input and shall encourage applications that demonstrate, create or seek to achieve, with respect to public housing: (i) innovative models for the redevelopment and repair of public housing including, for the elderly and frail elderly; (ii) innovative models for improved management; (iii) coordination among several housing authorities; (iv) economic efficiencies; and (v) expansion of economic opportunities for tenants and the commonwealth. Additionally, the department shall encourage applications that achieve the development of affordable housing.
(4) The department shall act on the application within 90 days of its submission and shall approve applications that meet the criteria established by the director, up to the number established by this section. The department and the participating housing authority shall enter into a program participation agreement summarizing the terms of participation, voluntary withdrawal and termination for material default and a timetable for achieving objectives of the program. The initial term of participation shall be 10 years, which shall be extended in whole or in part by the department so long as: (i) the housing authority has made satisfactory progress toward its goals; (ii) the extension will meet the original objectives of the program; and (iii) the housing authority has not received a negative evaluation pursuant to subsection (n).
(5) Upon expiration, withdrawal or termination of an agreement, the department shall work cooperatively with the housing authority in a transition process. The transition process may provide for retention of elements of the program implemented during participation, including, but not limited to, contractual agreements with third parties that contain terms that extend beyond the term of participation that were referenced in the program participation agreement, approved annual plan or approved annual report.
(c) The department, subject to appropriation, shall disburse all funding for a participating housing authority or regional housing authority on a predictable schedule to permit and encourage planning and efficiency by the housing authority. Further, the department shall increase participating regional housing authorities annual operating subsidy by providing an additional subsidy which is equal to 20 percent of the regional housing authority’s annual budget for elderly and family state public housing, minus the cost of utilities .
(d) The sections of this chapter which conflict with the powers granted under this section or substantially restrict a housing authority’s ability to achieve the goals specified in its application or plan shall not apply to a housing authority or regional housing authority approved by the department to participate in the public housing innovation program, sos called, to the extent the department determines it is necessary, except for the provisions in subsection (g).
(e) Regional housing authorities participating in the program shall, in addition to those powers conferred in this chapter, have the following powers:
(1) to combine all forms of assistance received from the commonwealth and other sources, including, but not limited to, public housing operating subsidies appropriated by the commonwealth through a general appropriations act and public housing modernization funds authorized by the commonwealth to be funded through the sale of general obligation bonds, other funds or grants; provided that, a housing authority shall not receive diminished assistance by virtue of participation in the program under this section;
(2) to establish a reasonable rent policy, which shall be included in the annual plan required by subsection (i), that shall: (A) provide for rents that are affordable to tenants throughout the term of the program; (B) be designed to provide incentives to improved employment and training and self-sufficiency by participating families; (C) include transition and hardship provisions; (D) include in the transition period a limit on rent increases in any 1 year related solely to the change in the rent policy to no more than 10 per cent for the duration of the transition period; ((E) provide a rent cap for tenant households at or below 50 per cent of area median income, adjusted for family size, of not more than the maximum tenant rental payments including, if applicable, minimum rents, permitted by section 32 ; and (F) provide a rent cap for elderly and handicapped persons of low income of not more than the maximum tenant rental payments including, if applicable, minimum rents, permitted by said section 32 and subsection (e) of section 40 ; (3) to establish, and include as part of the annual plan required by subsection (h), local methods of tenant or homeowner selection; provided that, the method is fair, objective, public and does not discriminate against any applicant based on any protected category in chapter 151B or violate any other fair housing laws or department policies and provides admissions preferences for homeless households, veterans and victims of domestic violence;
(4) to create efficient, fair and open procurement policies for supplies, services and real property, designed to reduce costs and to meet local need, which shall be included in the annual plan required by subsection (h);
(5) to participate in a mixed public-private affordable housing development or create any legal entities or instrumentalities necessary to participate in mixed public private affordable housing development designed to rehabilitate, repair, replace or develop affordable housing, including public housing developments and projects developed pursuant to sections 26, 34 and 40.
(6) to create partnerships or consortia with other public or private entities for the operation, financing or development of any program otherwise authorized by law;
(7) to acquire any property to carry out its purposes, and to dispose of any property of the local housing authority without repayment of bonds to the commonwealth notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, unless otherwise required by law or contract; provided, that the proceeds of any such disposition shall be applied to acquisition, operation, development, rehabilitation or repair of public or affordable housing consistent with the limitations on use of proceeds in clause (E) of subsection (g); and
(8) to enter into energy services contracts in accordance with section 11C of chapter 25A for a period of up to 20 years.
(f) Projects pursuant to this section may include a mix of extremely low income households, low or moderate income households and market-rate housing, and may utilize any available source of rental subsidy or financial assistance; provided, that operating subsidies appropriated by the legislature and bond funds authorized by the legislature for the benefit of low rent housing projects operated pursuant to sections 32 and 40 shall not be used to fund capital or operating costs other than those for the redevelopment, repair and operation, including services benefitting the tenants, of such housing.
(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (d), the local housing authority shall:
(1) comply with the provisions of section 12, related to wages, labor requirements and the Social Security Act;
(2) comply with the provisions of section 29 , related to wage rates and collective bargaining;
(3) to retain the same number of public housing units as existed before participation in this program to the greatest extent possible, shall: (A) provide for full tenant participation, including public hearing, on adoption or material amendment of its annual plan as required under subsection (h); (B) provide for a tenant lease and grievance procedure substantially similar to that in effect prior to entry into the program under this section; (C) provide that evictions shall be only for good cause; (D) assure that housing assisted under the program in this chapter is decent, safe and sanitary, and that, excepting any market-rate housing, the housing is deed restricted to occupancy by extremely low, very low, or low and moderate income households at affordable rents or sales prices, in perpetuity or for such other term as may be approved by the department, consistent with funding sources; and (E) assure that proceeds from the disposition of public housing and funds generated from new affordable and market housing created to replace public housing, unless restricted to a particular use, shall be allocated to the reconstruction, rehabilitation or repair of public housing developments;
(4) assure that if a participating housing authority redevelops its public housing units, all households residing in the units at the time of planned redevelopment shall receive relocation assistance, if eligible, under this chapter or other applicable statutes. Said households shall have the right to return to the redeveloped public housing, unless such household is determined to be in unlawful occupancy prior to the approval of the housing authority’s application, has materially breached the lease agreement or has been evicted for cause, under applicable law, subject to units of the appropriate size and requirements being available. Such households shall have priority for placement over new applicants;
(5) comply with chapter 334 of the acts of 2006; and
(6) comply with the audit requirements of section 29.
(h) Each housing authority participating in the program under this section shall prepare an annual plan. Tenants assisted by the housing authority and the wider community shall be provided with adequate notice and opportunities to participate in the development and preparation of the plan. Said tenants shall be provided an opportunity to comment and make recommendations on the plan which shall include not less than 1 public hearing held at a time and location that the participating housing authority reasonably believes will facilitate attendance by, and input from, tenants.
The annual plan shall:
(1) state the housing authority’s goals and objectives under the program for its fiscal year;
(2) describe the housing authority’s proposed use of assistance for activities under the program for the fiscal year;
(3) describe how the housing authority will achieve the repair and redevelopment of public housing;
(4) state the housing authority’s proposed income mix for its housing portfolio of: (A) extremely low income households; (B) very low income households; (C) low or moderate income households; and (D) market rate housing;
(5) explain how the housing authority’s proposed activities will meet its goals and objectives;
(6) include appropriate budgets and financial statements; and
(7) describe the tenant participation procedure and what independent technical assistance will be made available to tenants.
Any plan submitted pursuant to subsection (i) shall be deemed approved unless the department, within 60 days of submission, issues a written disapproval. The department shall disapprove the plan if the department reasonably determines, based on information contained in the plan or other reliable information available to the department, that the plan does not comply with the provisions of this section or other applicable law or cannot reasonably be expected to achieve the purposes set out in this section. The housing authority shall notify tenants of such approval or disapproval.
(i) In place of all other planning and reporting requirements of the department, each housing authority participating in the program under this chapter shall submit to the department annually a single annual report, in a form and at a time specified by the department. The annual report shall be the primary means by which the housing authority shall be required to provide information to the department, to tenants and the public on the activities assisted under this section during a fiscal year, unless the department has reason to believe that the housing authority has violated the terms of the program.
Each annual report shall:
(1) document the housing authority’s use of assistance under the program, including appropriate financial statements;
(2) describe and analyze the effect of assisted activities in addressing the objectives of this section, including the effect of rent and tenant selection policies;
(3) state the previous year’s income mix of residents in the housing authority’s public housing and affordable housing developments under this program;
(4) include a certification by the housing authority that it has prepared an annual plan that was prepared in accordance with subsection (h);
(5) describe and document how the housing authority has provided tenants assisted under the program and the wider community with opportunities to participate in the development or material modification of the annual plan, and an opportunity to comment on the annual plan which shall include not less than 1 public hearing;
(6) include a report on the annual incomes of persons served in the previous year; and
(7) include other information as may be required by the department pursuant to subsection (k) to determine the effectiveness of the program.
(j) Any report submitted pursuant to subsection (l) shall be deemed approved unless the department, within 60 days of submission, issues a written disapproval because the department reasonably determines, based on information contained in the report or other reliable information available to the department, that the housing authority is not in compliance with the provisions of this section or other applicable law.
(k) Each housing authority shall keep such records as the department may prescribe as reasonably necessary to document the amount of funds and the disposition of funds under this program, to ensure compliance with the requirements of this section, and to measure performance.
(l) The department shall have access, for the purpose of audit and examination to any books, documents, papers and records that are pertinent to assistance in connection with, and the requirements of, this section; provided, however, that reporting shall be conducted solely through the annual report unless the department has reason to believe that the housing authority is not in compliance with this program.
(m) The auditor of the commonwealth shall have access for the purpose of audit and examination to any books, documents, papers and records that are pertinent to assistance in connection with, and the requirements of, this section.
(n) Each authority shall be evaluated by an independent evaluator twice during the initial term of participation and periodically thereafter, in accordance with standards adopted by the department, to determine the success of initiatives undertaken under this program in achieving the purposes set forth in this section and the housing authority’s plan.
(o) The department shall establish a manner in which to post the housing innovations plan, annual report, independent evaluation and other public records pertaining to each housing authority’s public housing innovations program established pursuant to this chapter so that the progress of each public housing innovations program is publicly available and free to access.
(p) The department shall establish a 9 member advisory committee whose members shall include the director of the department or a designee, 1 representative selected by Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, 1 representative selected by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, 1 representative selected by the Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants, 1 representative selected by the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, and 4 additional members chosen by the director of the department to provide advice and recommendations to the department regarding regulations to implement the provisions of this section and to provide ongoing assistance in determining the effectiveness of the program.
(q) The department shall adopt regulations implementing the provisions of this section.
(r) The department shall annually report to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on housing on the participation of housing authorities in the public housing innovations program, so called.
SECTION 14. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, each capital assistance team established by the department of housing and community development pursuant to section 26D of chapter 121B of the General Laws shall complete a survey of all surplus land within 1 year of the effective date of this act. The department shall report the results of the survey to the joint committee on housing within 90 days of the completion of the survey. The capital assistance teams shall use the results of the survey to coordinate communication and resources between local housing authorities and the department for the purpose of encouraging development of the land for new units of affordable housing.
SECTION 15. Within 1 year of the effective date of this act, the department of housing and community development shall establish and implement a single statewide centralized wait list for state-aided public housing, after consultation with representatives of local housing authorities, municipal officials, public housing residents and public housing industry professional organizations. Such centralized wait list shall enable public housing applicants to submit a standardized application through a centralized internet website or through any housing authority. An applicant for tenancy in a housing authority may designate a preference by naming housing authorities. All housing authorities shall use the centralized wait list for selection of public housing tenants, with all local preferences and other preferences applied as required by law.
SECTION 16. There is hereby established a special commission consisting of the undersecretary for housing and community development or designee, who shall serve as chair, the chair of the board of building regulations and standards; the chair of the architectural access board; the western region coordinator for the green communities division of the department of energy resources; the executive director of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Western Massachusetts, or a designee; the executive director of the Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, or a designee; the executive director of Franklin County Home Care Corporation, or a designee; 2 members to be appointed by the governor that are registered architects and reside in either Berkshire, Dukes, Franklin, or Hampshire County; 1 member to be appointed by the governor that is a tenant residing in elder public housing, 1 member to be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; and 1 member to be appointed by the senate president for the purpose of making an investigation and study relative to the feasibility of a pilot program for rural congregate micro-housing, hereinafter referred to as RCMH housing.
SECTION 17. Such investigation and study shall include: (1) an evaluation of the current rural congregate elder housing models in Massachusetts, including but not limited to (a) an analysis of the business models and management structures of such housing; (b) an examination of rules and requirements governing design and potential public financing of RCMH housing; and (c) an analysis of the best practices currently in existence for developing net zero energy consumption, LEED-certified congregate elder housing in Massachusetts; and (2) an evaluation of the feasibility of establishing a pilot program for developing congregate micro-housing in four municipalities with populations fewer than 4,000 residents.
Said commission shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study, together with its recommendations and drafts the legislation necessary to carry said recommendations into effect, by filing the same with the clerk of the senate and the clerk of the house of representatives and the house and senate chairs of the committee on substance abuse and mental health on or before January 1, 2013.
SECTION18. Notwithstanding any general or special law or regulation to the contrary, a tenant member in a town shall be selected at the option of the town by one of the following methods as determined by a vote of the town meeting within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this legislation: 1) one of the four members of the board elected by the town pursuant to Chapter 121B, Section 5; or 2) the town may expand the board membership to seven members, one of whom shall be a tenant.
SECTION 19. Section 32 of chapter 121B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-
Notwithstanding any general or special law or regulation to the contrary, an applicant for assisted housing under this chapter who is not eligible for federal assisted housing under 42 U.S.C. section 1436a shall not displace or be given priority over any applicant who is so eligible.
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