Gov. Charlie Baker has announced that the South Shore Chamber of Commerce is being recognized for its leadership in promoting housing and economic development.
During his remarks at a business breakfast before over 550 South Shore business leaders, Gov. Baker announced that the chamber will be the first business organization to receive a Housing Hero Award from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP), a quasi-public finance organization that annually recognizes groups and individuals for their work in helping to create housing and economic opportunity.
“The South Shore Chamber recognizes the import role housing plays in economic prosperity across the Commonwealth and is certainly deserving of the Massachusetts Housing Partnership’s Housing Hero Award,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We applaud the South Shore Chamber for dedicating its resources to building consensus on policies that will lead to greater opportunity for all South Shore residents and the entire region.”
The South Shore Chamber is being recognized for its “South Shore 2030” initiative, a multi-year effort dedicated to crafting a comprehensive economic and community development plan. The initiative is focused on bringing jobs to the region and addressing potential workforce shortages in key industries. Central to the effort is a 30-person housing working group that is expected to release a report this fall that will pinpoint how much and the type of housing the region needs to grow its economy.
“The Chamber appreciates the recognition from Governor Baker and MHP about our perspective on housing and its relationship to our economy,” said Peter Forman, president and CEO of the South Shore Chamber. “South Shore leaders are surprised when they hear that our economy and local services may suffer if we don’t actively attract more young people to the area. I think they will be surprised when they read a report from a business organization like ours that says more homes – and different housing than we are accustomed to – are critical to preserving our communities and growing our economy.”
MHP uses bank lines of credit and other capital sources to create affordable housing. Since 1990, it has provided technical assistance to over 300 communities and over $4.5 billion in financing to support 22,800 apartments and more than 20,000 home purchases through the ONE Mortgage Program.
Each June, MHP sponsors a Housing Institute, a two-day training for local officials and volunteers. In 2011, it decided to use the event to recognize municipalities and volunteers for outstanding work in creating housing and economic opportunity. The South Shore Chamber is the first business group to receive MHP’s Housing Hero Award. The chamber will be presented the award at the Housing Institute’s Awards Luncheon on Thursday, June 8, at the Devens Conference Center, Devens MA.
“We commend the South Shore Chamber of Commerce for taking an honest and comprehensive look at what key factors affect the region’s economic health and recognizing that increased housing production is one of these factors,” said Clark Ziegler, MHP’s executive director. “We also commend the chamber for engaging stake-holders to create actionable items to change the dynamics that hinder well-planned regional growth.”