Section 26: Powers of a housing authority
Section 26. A housing authority shall have the following powers in addition to those set forth in section eleven or elsewhere in this chapter:?
(a) To make studies of housing needs and markets, including data with respect to population and family groups and their distribution according to income groups, the amount and quality of available housing and its distribution according to rentals and sales prices, employment, wages and other factors affecting housing needs and markets, and surveys and plans for housing related to community development, including desirable patterns for land use and community growth, and to make such studies, surveys and plans available to the federal government, the department and other state agencies, other operating agencies, the public and the building, housing and supply industries;
(b) To conduct investigations and disseminate information relative to housing and living conditions and any other matter deemed by it to be material in connection with any of its powers and duties;
(c) To determine what areas within its jurisdiction constitute substandard, decadent or blighted open areas;
(d) To prepare plans for the clearance of such decadent, substandard or blighted areas and to clear open areas whenever necessary or desirable to provide for the equivalent elimination of substandard buildings in accordance with section thirty-three provided that no housing authority in any city or town in which a redevelopment authority has been organized shall initiate such a clearance project without the approval of such redevelopment authority and the approval of the municipal officers of the city or town;
(e) To provide housing projects for families of low income;
(f) To provide projects or parts thereof for elderly persons of low income;
(g) To provide housing for families of low income in rural areas in accordance with provisions set forth in section twenty-seven;
(h) To undertake and provide relocation projects in order to house for a limited period families who are displaced by an urban renewal project or other public improvement involving the elimination of dwelling units whenever such project or public improvement is determined upon and it or an urban renewal agency finds that there exists in the city or town an acute shortage of housing and that there are no adequate means available for immediate relocation of persons and families displaced from that project area;
(i) To lease, operate and, subject to section thirty-two, establish or revise schedules of rents for any project or part thereof undertaken by it; and
(j) To undertake as a separate project the renovation, remodeling, reconstruction, repair, landscaping and improvement of an existing housing project or part thereof, including the reduction of undesirable unit densities in an existing housing project as deemed necessary by the department for the improvement of an existing housing project assisted by the commonwealth pursuant to section thirty-four or forty-one; provided, that an equal number of low-rent relocation units are provided to replace those occupied units which are removed in the reduction of an undesirable unit density; and provided, further, that the plans for each such project shall be undertaken in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the department for such projects; and provided, further, that notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, where the funding for such project or any similar state or federally funded undertaking with respect to low-rent housing exceeds fifteen million dollars, the number of households living on the original site when funds are or were committed exceeds two hundred and a receiver has been appointed for the housing authority pursuant to section one hundred and twenty-seven H of chapter one hundred and eleven, the award of construction, reconstruction, installation, demolition, maintenance, alteration, remodeling or repair contracts shall be governed by the provisions of section thirty-nine M of chapter thirty, and shall include a requirement for certification of ability to furnish labor that can work in harmony with all other elements of labor employed or to be employed in the work, and shall not be subject to the provisions of sections forty-four A to forty-four H, inclusive, of chapter one hundred and forty-nine; and provided, further, that notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, where the funding for such project or any similar state or federally funded undertaking with respect to low rent housing exceeds fifteen million dollars, the number of households living on the original site when funds are or were committed exceeds two hundred and a receiver has been appointed for the housing authority pursuant to section one hundred twenty-seven H of chapter one hundred eleven, the receiver shall award contracts for construction, reconstruction, installation, demolition, maintenance, alteration, remodeling or repair of any building as provided in sections forty-four A to forty-four H, inclusive, of chapter one hundred and forty-nine and the receiver shall not only prequalify general bidders as set forth in section forty-four D but shall also prequalify sub-bidders for all classes of work for which sub-bids are required in accordance with prequalification requirements the receiver shall establish. The receiver shall also include as a prequalification requirement for both general bidders and for sub-bidders for each such contract that each general bidder and each sub-bidder be able to furnish labor that can work in harmony with all other elements of labor employed or to be employed on each contract.
(k) To undertake as a separate project the demolition, clearance, preparation for sale, including the payment of relocation costs for occupants of such existing housing projects, and sale or other disposition of any of all of any existing housing project or part thereof assisted by the commonwealth, pursuant to section thirty-four, notwithstanding the provisions of clause (d) or section thirty-four, provided, that the department shall first have:
(1) found that all or a substantial portion of such existing housing project or part thereof no longer provides decent, safe and sanitary housing, as determined by the department of public health or the department of public safety, and, in the judgment of the department, such project or part thereof cannot feasibly be operated or renovated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter;
(2) approved the proposed project, including a relocation plan for occupants of the existing project and a plan to make housing available on the land where the existing project is situated, at least twenty-five per cent of the units of which shall be for low income persons or families, which project may include plans to use a portion of such land for a public purpose ancillary to such development and approved by the department;
(3) approved the sale and the terms thereof, if the land is to be sold, which shall be at the fair market value for the proposed reuse, as determined by MHFA and approved by the department, and in accordance with the cooperation agreement referred to below;
(4) determined that the availability of funds to the housing authority for such project is conditioned upon the occurrence of the initial mortgage loan closing for the development of new or rehabilitated housing on the land where the existing project is situated; and the execution of a cooperation agreement by the MHFA and the department which shall establish a procedure for selection of a developer best qualified to develop, own and operate the new or rehabilitated housing on the existing land, for providing for such development of the new housing within a reasonable time in accordance with MHFA-approved contracts, and for assuring continued occupancy of at least twenty-five per cent of the dwelling units in the new development by families of low income;
(5) determined that the proceeds of such sale or other funds available to the housing authority for such project, or both, shall not be less than the amount necessary to pay in full the principal of and interest on the outstanding obligations of the housing authority with respect to such existing project if the whole is sold or not less than that percentage of such obligations which the original cost of the part sold bears to the total original cost of the entire existing project if a part is sold. Such amount of proceeds or other funds necessary to pay in full such obligations or percentage thereof shall be deposited in trust for the benefit of the holders of such outstanding obligations and until and unless all such obligations are paid and discharged in full said proceeds and other funds shall be expended solely for payment of principal and interest thereon.
(6) found that representatives of all occupants of such existing housing project, selected by the occupants in a manner approved by the department, have fully participated in the development of the project proposal and that all occupants of such existing housing projects have adequate notice and an opportunity to review the proposed project and relocation plan and an opportunity to present their views at a public hearing which shall be held by the department.
(l) To provide housing projects or specific parts thereof, or cooperative apartments, community residences and such other forms of congregate housing, or housing in separate dwelling units, for low income handicapped persons or low income families, of which one or more than one person is handicapped, or persons whose mobility, flexibility, coordination and perceptiveness are significantly reduced by aging; provided, that such housing may be provided in newly constructed buildings, or in buildings purchased or leased, and that may be made renovated as necessary, or in buildings already owned by local housing authorities that may be made accessible; and to provide living facilities for persons essential for the well-being of such handicapped persons or families; and to provide other such facilities as are necessary to the well-being of the handicapped residents of such housing; and to contract with various corporations for the provision of services to the handicapped residents, including but not limited to staffing, management and maintenance of such housing; provided further, that such contracting shall be in accordance with guidelines and directives or rules and regulations, or either, promulgated or issued by the department, and that such contracting shall be approved by the department.
(m) To participate in the development of low and moderate income housing undertaken or assisted pursuant to federal legislation and to finance mortgage loans for the construction or rehabilitation of low and moderate income housing, which may include ancillary commercial facilities to the extent permitted by the then applicable regulations of the department, and to purchase, or participate in the purchase of, securities which are secured by such mortgage loans. A local housing authority may create, designate or approve agencies or instrumentalities to provide such housing and do all other things necessary or desirable to secure financial or other forms of assistance from the federal government including the exemption from federal income taxation of interest on bonds or notes of such housing authority issued with respect to such housing. Low and moderate income housing shall be financed under this paragraph only after the housing authority shall, pursuant to regulations adopted by the department, have found (A) that persons and families whose annual incomes are less than eighty per cent of the median income in the area in which such housing is to be constructed or rehabilitated, as determined by the department, can afford the rentals, including the provision of heat, electricity and hot water, set for twenty per cent of the units in the project on the basis of the use of not more than thirty per cent of their annual income or such greater portion of their annual income as may be required by laws or regulations applicable to any housing subsidy program of any agency of the United States government or the commonwealth to be used in connection with the proposed project or any laws or regulations applicable to the exemption of the interest on the bonds or notes of the housing authority from federal income taxation and (B) either (1) that the other tenants occupying the project shall pay a rental not less than one-seventh of their annual income but in no event greater than the maximum rental which could be obtained for such unit in light of the rentals charged for comparable units within the same market area; or (2) that the project is located in a blighted open area, or any decadent area, or any substandard area. Any bonds, notes or other securities issued by any local housing authority, or any agency or instrumentality designated or approved by any such authority, pursuant to the provisions of this paragraph, shall not create or imply any obligation or indebtedness of any kind on the part of any local housing authority, the commonwealth, or any political subdivision thereof. The department may promulgate such rules and regulations as it may deem necessary to further the purposes of this paragraph.
(n) to disseminate to and receive from other housing authorities information, including personal data as defined in section one of chapter sixty-six A, which could have a direct bearing on a determination as to whether an individual or household is qualified for selection or placement in accordance with state or federal eligibility or tenant selection regulations; provided, that in instances where the department of housing and community development or a nonprofit corporation is administering a state or federal housing program, a housing authority may disseminate to and receive such information for the aforementioned purpose from the department of housing and community development or a nonprofit corporation. Such information may be disseminated for the aforementioned purpose among the department of housing and community development and any nonprofit corporations administering a state or federal housing program. Any personal data, as defined in section one of said chapter sixty-six A, which is received by a housing authority, the department of housing and community development, or a nonprofit corporation pursuant to this paragraph, shall be used, maintained and disseminated further in accordance with the provisions of said chapter sixty-six A and this paragraph. Whenever such information is disseminated by a local housing authority, the department of housing and community development, or a nonprofit corporation, a copy of all such information and the names of the agencies which received it shall be sent to said individual or household. The department of housing and community development shall promulgate such rules and regulation as it deems necessary to further the purposes of this paragraph.
(o) To provide in the case of a unit in a housing project occupied by an elderly person of low income or a handicapped person of low income, for the installation, removal, or maintenance of air conditioner units, stoves, and such other personal property of said elderly person or such handicapped person as the housing authority may determine necessary to maintain the building and to protect the safety of tenants residing therein.
(p) Notwithstanding this section or section 34 to the contrary, to dispose of or demolish any part or all of an existing housing project assisted by the commonwealth pursuant to chapter 689 of the acts of 1974, chapter 167 of the acts of 1987 or chapter 705 of the acts of 1966, if: (1) the department and the housing authority have determined that it is not financially feasible to bring the units up to a reasonable program standard for occupancy or permissible to convert the units to another low-rent housing program; (2) the inventory of available housing units remaining in the surrounding community is not substantially diminished as a result of such demolition; and (3) for units financed pursuant to chapter 705 of the acts of 1966, the units were vacant as of November 1, 2012, or, for units financed by the chapter 689 of the acts of 1974 or chapter 167 of the acts of 1987, the department has received written confirmation from both the department of developmental services and the department of mental health that those units are obsolete and inappropriate for housing their respective clients. Upon approval by the department, the authority may dispose of the property by sale, ground lease or other transfer of its interest in the property; provided, that the department shall review and approve of any appraisal and request for proposals related to the disposition, as well as the selection of the selected bidder. The request for proposals shall provide that, in reviewing responses to the request for proposals, first priority for selecting from among the responsive and responsible bidders shall be those bidders that offer a feasible plan to provide housing on the site that is permanently affordable to households under 80 per cent of area median income as defined by the department. Those bidders shall obtain the property for $1, subject to an enforceable agreement to meet the requirements of its proposal. If no responsive and responsible bidder meets the above standard, the property shall be sold to the bidder offering the highest price for the property. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this chapter, proceeds from the disposition, after paying for the costs of the disposition, shall be deposited in an expendable trust controlled by the department, the purpose of which shall be to fund capital improvements that the department determines are necessary and appropriate at existing housing developments that serve households that would have been eligible for occupancy of the units that had been sited on the property.