Providing strong leadership in advocating for affordable housing resources, policies and programs, and for protecting the rights of all residents, has long been a hallmark of the work of the Planning Office for Urban Affairs. From its tireless advocacy for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Comprehensive Permit Law in the early 1970s, to its current work to address homelessness and home foreclosures, POUA continues to be at the forefront of the struggle to advocate for fair housing and decent, affordable homes for all people. To that end, the Planning Office and its staff have been involved with several advocacy initiatives including sustainable solutions to the problem of homelessness, protecting families from unnecessary displacement in foreclosure, advocating for improved policy and resources and strengthening progressive state development policies like Chapter 40B and Chapter 40R.
As a regional developer, the Planning Office builds in very diverse communities, whether providing for the underserved in affluent communities or leveraging housing investment for larger community revitalization in older or disinvested neighborhoods and cities. Some of the communities where the Planning Office has worked, like Lowell, Haverhill and New Bedford, are Gateway Cities, what Massachusetts has termed its older mill cities for the role they have played as vital economic centers and escalators to the middle class. Such cities have been the focus of recent investment and creative strategy on the part of the state, for the purposes of economic development and neighborhood preservation. Read MassInc's policy brief, Going for Growth: Promoting Residential Reinvestment in Massachusetts Gateway Cities, which highlights policy innovations and gives context for cities like Lowell and Haverhill, where the Planning Office has made housing investments.