Housing Equity and the Realtors

It was a mostly sunny, fairly warm Sunday afternoon, yet 1700+ people packed into the ISBCC at Roxbury Crossing to talk about the housing crisis. The community organizing body, GBIO organized the event.

There were three issues discussed (and a summary):

  • Leaking ceiling in public housingSupport for funding to repair and maintain Massachusetts Public Housing. Speakers from all over the state reported that public housing maintenance is under-supported. There are empty units that are not habitable and uninhabitable units where people are living. The Affordable Homes Bond Bill by Governor Healey includes a large sum to correct these problems. Support that bond bill.

Sample Massachusetts IDs

  • Require a State Identification Card be supplied to every person being released from prison. Prisoners who are released without an ID are handicapped in their ability to find housing and a job so that they can fully return to society. Providing an ID can be easily (inexpensively) done if there is a will to do it. Support requiring ID to be issued to all prisoners before release. 
  • Support allowing local (municipal) option to create a transfer fee on high end property sales. The revenue would support affordable housing. Support local control to develop local transfer fees on high end property sales.

I support all three: however, I spoke on the third issue, the local option to create a transfer fee. I’ve done this a few times. This was the biggest crowd, ever.

The massive support that I saw this past Sunday is not the end of the story. If everyone who sees this can spend 5 minutes to contact the decision-makers in the State Legislature, it will go a long way to bringing housing justice to Massachusetts.

Here are the actions I am asking you to do:

Call Senate President Spilka and House Speaker Mariano!

(They hold the most power to ensure that the items we’re advocating for get passed.)
o President Spilka’s information
o Speaker Mariano’s information

Call YOUR local senator and representative.

Tell them to reach out to President Spilka and Speaker Mariano and encourage them to support our platform!
o Find your legislators’ contact information

Lobby day:

Join us for a Lobby Day at the State House! Wednesday, April 17th at 10am – 12pm
o Meet us at the State House steps to remind our legislators of their commitments from our In-District Meeting campaign and show them we won’t back down!

Here is what I said on Sunday, March 3, 2024

Rona speaking at GBIO, March 2024

“My name is Rona Fischman, I am GBIO Temple B’nai Brith in Somerville. I have been a Realtor since 1992.

I got into this field because I wanted to work with people who were doing something good for their lives. I will be leaving this field broken-hearted.

Who is buying now? It’s the privileged folk, with intergenerational wealth or super-high paying jobs. This has got to change.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors lobbies to block the real estate transfer fees. They do not speak for me when they oppose housing equity. Real estate transfer fees are just that: They take a small percentage of sale profits and use it to support basic housing affordability.

In my career, I have seen a larger and larger pool of people struggle to find reasonable housing. When I started, about half my clients were single people. Now it is less than 20%.

In 1992, my very first client, ever, was a single guy who used a wheelchair. It was hard then, it’d be impossible now.

By 2000, Boston area hospitals had problems recruiting for nurses. Why? Housing cost.

Then it got worse: By 2013, Nantucket hospitals couldn’t retain young doctors.

If you cannot find a good place to live within your budget, it is not a personal failure. It is a societal one.

A dozen towns have asked the Legislature for the local option transfer fees on high end sales. The housing crisis is decades in the making. We are overdue for a way to increase housing equity and support affordable housing.

Is it time for a real estate transfer fee? Oh Yes!”

Here are links to further information:

Update on the transfer fee, summer 2023

Underlying economic factor that is making the housing crisis worse

The Affordable Homes Act

Boston Public Housing,  article from Boston Globe

Prisoner ID

Leave a Reply