On Wednesday, March 30, Mayor Garcia, Community Development Director Alicia Zoeller and Mayor’s Aide Stephen Fay traveled to Brockton (population 106,000) to attend a mayors’ conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Mayors’ Association (MMA).
The topics discussed were housing, homelessness and ARPA. Mike Kennealy, Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, talked about the lack of affordable housing and rentals in Massachusetts compared to other states.
Linn Torto, Director of the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, gave a presentation on strategies for dealing with the homeless.
This was followed by a Mayors’ Roundtable to discuss ARPA spending and projects. ARPA is the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 — also known as the COVID-19 Stimulus Package.
After the conference, a small group of us was taken on a tour of Brockton’s ambitious housing construction program. The program uses an array of government grants, loans and investments to convert abandoned or tax-taken old buildings into residential structures with spiffy new dwelling units.