It is safe to say that the first ever Massachusetts Housing Week was a major success! Beginning with a proclamation by Governor Patrick last Monday in Dorchester, Housing Week took me, DHCD Undersecretary Gornstein, Division of Banks Commissioner Cotney, DHCD Deputy Undersecretary Jemison and a host of non-profits all across the state to highlight innovative and successful housing initiatives contributing to the continued growth of the Massachusetts housing market.
Governor Patrick announced Monday a new Housing Compact, creating a partnership with Massachusetts banks to originate 10,000 mortgages for first-time homebuyers across the state. The Massachusetts Homeownership compact will help accelerate economic recovery and neighborhood stabilization initiatives in the Commonwealth and retain and attract a competitive workforce.
We held an event at Springfield College on Tuesday, where Commissioner Cotney presented HAPHousing with a $140,000 grant check to continue their foreclosure prevention efforts in the area. Undersecretary Gornstein spoke that morning at an event at the Tapley Apartments, a historic school converted and renovated into new affordable housing units. We also spoke with Mayor Sarno and thanked him for his continued advocacy for affordable housing projects in the Springfield area.
Wednesday brought us to Framingham, where I presented a $28,000 check to South Middlesex Opportunity Council to continue their incredible housing efforts in the region.
Thursday took Commissioner Cotney and Undersecretary Gornstein to Brockton, the hardest-hit city by the housing and foreclosure crisis. Commissioner Cotney presented NeighborWorks Southern Mass., one of our longtime housing partners, with a check for $98,000 to continue foreclosure prevention efforts and housing education programs. Undersecretary Gornstein was also able to announce a $2.7 million award to Brockton for a vital development project, a project made possible thanks to a close partnership with Mayor Linda Balzotti.
On Friday, Undersecretary Gornstein joined me at my office for a Twitter Town Hall, where we sat down and answered housing questions submitted live via Twitter. By the end of the hour we had reached thousands of consumers and answered more than a dozen questions. This was an exciting new way to engage with consumers and we hope to engage in more of these types of conversations in the future.
A strong housing market is vital to the success of Massachusetts, providing safe homes for our families and a foundation for communities, two ingredients that both the local and statewide economy to grow and thrive. It was truly inspirational to hear stories of success and to see incredible grassroots efforts making such differences in local communities. While there is still work to be done, the housing market seems to have turned the corner and is showing strong signs of growth. Let’s keep that momentum going.
Thanks to all who participated in Massachusetts Housing Week 2013.
If you have a question or complaint, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs Consumer Hotline, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at 617-973-8787 or toll-free in MA at 888-283-3757.
May/June Scam Log Analysis posted on Jul 28
The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation compiles publicly-available scam, identity theft, and fraud complaints from around the Commonwealth via police logs and news outlets, as well as through the Office’s Consumer Information Hotline.
How to Combat Illegal Robocalls posted on Jul 25
Robocalls have become an all-too-common nuisance for consumers. Robocalls are unsolicited, pre-recorded phone calls, often scams, which are made to consumers without their permission, as opposed to calls solicited by the consumer, such as those from pharmacies and childrens’ schools. Robocalls are illegal in Massachusetts under M.G.L. c. 159C. While consumers can, and should, sign-up -for both the state and national Do-Not-Call lists, unfortunately this does not always stop many unscrupulous solicitors and scammers from making these calls.
Summary of the 2015 Consumer Federation of America Annual Consumer Complaint Survey posted on Jul 22
The Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators recently released the results of the 2015 Consumer Complaint Survey. This report is based on consumer information, complaints, and suggestions for increased consumer protections from 33 consumer agencies in 21 states.