The economic competitiveness of a region depends on the ability of workers of all income levels to find reasonably affordable housing. The state’s Comprehensive Permit Law, alternatively called “Chapter 40B” was adopted in 1969 to address racial and economic segregation, shortages in decent housing, inner city poverty, and exclusionary zoning practices in suburban and rural communities. It compels communities to have at least 10 percent of all housing set aside as affordable housing that is protected by long-term affordability restrictions. Communities below 10 percent must allow a streamlined process for proposed housing developments on the condition that 25 percent or more of the proposed units are reserved for low or moderate income households. This indicator measures the percent of all housing units in a community that are designated as subsidized housing units. Not included in this indicator is housing that is affordable, but does not have established long-term affordability restrictions attached to the property.
In 2014, there were nine communities in the Pioneer Valley that met this requirement, including many of the larger municipalities. Two years later, in 2016, there were eight communities, making for an average annual decrease of about 5.6 percent.