The Commonwealth Housing Task Force (CHTF) is a broad coalition of business and civic leaders, housing advocates, and developers.

The Commonwealth Housing Task Force

In 2005, the Dukakis Center’s growing expertise in housing research led its inclusion in the Commonwealth Housing Task Force (CHTF), a broad coalition of business and civic leaders, housing advocates, and developers.


As the Boston Foundation’s CHTF website explains, “Young adults who grew up in the Commonwealth cannot afford to raise their families in their old neighborhoods. Low- and moderate-income families are being priced out of their rental units and feel the dream of homeownership slipping away. And most serious for the economic health of the Commonwealth, Massachusetts employers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit new workers – and to retain existing highly-skilled staff – because of the very high cost of housing. The Commonwealth Housing Task Force (CHTF) was convened to address these issues.”

For more information on the ongoing activities of the Commonwealth Housing Task Force, please see its website,‎.


Building on our Heritage: A Housing Strategy for Smart Growth and Economic Development

October 2003

With the support of this coalition, the Dukakis Center was charged with producing model legislation that could meet the housing needs of the Commonwealth. Building on our Heritage: A Housing Strategy for Smart Growth and Economic Development

The approach has two components:

  • a new initiative aimed at changing the underlying structure of the housing delivery system in Massachusetts in order to moderate housing price inflation for all homebuyers and renters throughout the Commonwealth
  • an increased State commitment to provide the funds needed to produce more affordable housing for low and moderate income families.

The proposed initiative uses the concept of Overlay Zoning Districts to direct higher density growth into Smart Growth locations. Communities that voluntarily participate in the new housing program will be substantially rewarded for their participation. The program will directly address the problem of accelerating sprawl in the Commonwealth.



Chapter 40R: School Cost Analysis and Proposed Smart Growth School Cost Insurance Supplement

May 2005

The Commonwealth Housing Task Force engaged the Center for Urban and Regional Policy to gather data and provide an analysis for submission to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to provide background and assist it and other departments in complying with Section 367 of the Commonwealth’s FY2005 Budget, that calls for a study of the impact on educational systems in cities and towns as a result of adopting Ch40R Smart Growth Zoning Districts.

The Problem

Chapter 40R, as enacted, does not include provisions to provide financial assistance for school costs in circumstances where new property tax revenues do not cover the costs of educating the public school students in Smart Growth Districts.  As a result, this analysis demonstrates that most communities in the Commonwealth are currently financially penalized if they allow modest-priced single family homes to be built in 40R districts. Under these circumstances, this analysis concludes that few communities will enact Smart Growth Districts that allow modest priced single family homes.

The Proposed Solution

The report recommends that the provisions of Chapter 70 be amended to provide for a Smart Growth School Cost Insurance Supplement to be paid to communities which pass Chapter 40R Smart Growth Districts.

It is proposed that the Legislature pass and the Governor sign an amendment to Chapter 70 that would protect communities from net education costs arising from students living in new homes located in 40R Smart Growth Districts. The amount to be paid to the community will be called the “Smart Growth School Cost Insurance Supplement.”




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