Project Updates: Survey of Proposed Legislation Related to Housing in Boston and MA

Written by: Dayle Duran. Research by:  Daniel Espinoza, Mark Martinez, Dayle Duran.

Date: 2/16/18


The Stable Ground Legal Designers undertook a survey of housing-related bills currently proposed in the state of Massachusetts. The team identified roughly 90 proposed bills within the state of Massachusetts related to housing, as of February 9, 2018.


Just under 90% of the proposed bills deal with housing on a state level, while just over 10% of identified bills relate to housing in the City of Boston. Among the proposed bills, language analysis shows that the phrase “Affordable Housing” appears most frequently within the titles of housing-related bills, accounting for 33.8% of bills targeting Massachusetts as a whole and 37% of bills focused on the City of Boston. This data suggests that among currently proposed housing-related bills surveyed, affordable housing is the most repeatedly addressed issue on both a state and city level. On a state level, “Public Housing” is the second most frequent housing-related phrase appearing in titles of surveyed bills, accounting for 15.6% of surveyed bills. Among bills centered on the City of Boston, “Housing Stability” is the second most frequent phrase appearing within titles of housing-related bills. It accounts for 25% of surveyed bills. This suggests that affordable housing, public housing, and housing stability are issues receiving legislative attention at the state and city level. It is important to note that the below visualizations are based on proposed legislation, and so the inferences from the compiled data is limited because there is no guarantee these issue-specific bills will be signed into law in the same proportions which they have been proposed.


Image A:

Image A Credit: Research by Daniel Espinoza, Dayle Duran, Mark Martinez. Visualization by Dayle Duran. All rights reserved 2018.


Image B: 

Image B Credit: Research by Daniel Espinoza, Dayle Duran, Mark Martinez. Visualization by Dayle Duran. All rights reserved 2018.


Finally, the Legal Designers identified two pieces of legislation to keep an eye on: the Jim Brooks Community Stabilization Act. The Jim Brooks Community Stabilization Act requires landlords owning a certain number of rental units to notify the City of Boston when the landlord commences the eviction process. From there, the City of Boston will provide information to tenants facing eviction in order to connect tenants to resources and tenant organizing groups.


As a whole, there is a good deal of pending legislation that touches on housing and housing-related issues. The top issues being addressed by legislators are affordable housing, public housing, and housing stability. The Stable Ground team hopes the above analysis and information is helpful to individuals either involved with the Stable Ground project or housing stability as it impacts the City of Boston.


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