Affordable Housing

JALSA, and our predecessor organization, the American Jewish Congress, New England Region, have a very long history of protecting affordable housing and the rights of people who live in housing.

  • In the 1960’s, our members drafted the state law adopting minimum housing standards, such as heat, water, and plumbing, as non-negotiable requirements of residential leases, and defended the first tenants to test these laws.
  • Our members also drafted the legislation which created the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, helped establish the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (including its responsibilities in housing discrimination), and were part of the original group of activists which founded CHAPA.
  • During the 1980’s, in response to the bank failure crisis, we established a joint task force with CHAPA to develop ways in which to stabilize the condominium market.
  • We have more recently been involved in organizing support for 40B development proposals to create new affordable housing options for families and seniors.  Recent projects for which we have organized support include B’nai B’rith Housing’s 33 Commonwealth and Coolidge at Sudbury developments and the Austin Street project in Newton.
  • JALSA took a lead role in organizing the interfaith coalition in opposition to the question threatening to eliminate Chapter 40B on the statewide ballot.
  • Several of our members have also been active in the foreclosure defense clinic in Chelsea, counseling tenants and owners about their rights, and working on efforts to increase pre-foreclosure mediation.
  • In the Fall of 2016, JALSA successfully participated in the campaign to adopt the Community Preservation Act for Boston, winning in the ballot by over 70%.

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