Fair Housing

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, presence of children, or disability. Massachusetts further prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, military or veteran status, age, ancestry, or use of housing subsidy (like Section 8). 

In 2024, the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Center released Advancing Fair Housing in Greater Boston, Massachusetts: Voices from the Field based on interviews with folks living in the region along with those who work in the housing field. Some guidance worth highlighting for our member towns:

  • Ensure balance in the use of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds for both preserving open space and building more affordable housing
  • Continue exploring innovative strategies like community land banks to try to stabilize the cost of land
  • Become more creative in affirmatively marketing housing opportunities to people in protected classes
  • Pursue a more robust network of public transportation, which would support residential mobility
  • Recommend or require a mandatory course on fair housing for all members of housing-connected town boards (e.g. Planning, ZBA, Historic Preservation)
  • Educate local property managers and landlords and ensure they do not discriminate against Section 8 voucher holders who apply for vacant units
  • Provide oversight and regulation of speculative housing and Airbnb-type rentals