There are no cut and dry solutions to affordable housing; however, there are steps the Commonwealth can take to create more housing opportunities for first-time home buyers, the disappearing middle-class, low-income families and seniors who cannot afford million dollar homes or luxury rentals.

Education around affordable housing and its benefits to the community is a critical part of the conversation. Stigma associated with affordable housing often leads to communities fighting against these projects, not realizing the positive benefits these housing opportunities bring. This epidemic is not just affecting the poor; it is directly affecting the middle class and elderly.

As a standard under 40B, communities are required to make at least 10 percent of their housing stock affordable. Many cities and towns are not reaching that benchmark. Our legislature should be working with communities to keep them accountable to meeting this goal.

In our district and around the Commonwealth, we are experiencing an issue of supply and demand. Lack of housing stock, increased property values and stagnant paychecks are leaving many of our residents struggling. Smart zoning, collaboration between towns and developers and rent-restricted housing for middle income individuals is a great way to start.

The answer is not easy, but our legislature has a responsibility to stem the tide. I will work with community groups, banks, developers, local officials and housing advocates to find creative solutions around access and education on this issue. I will promote a smart growth policy that will help keep our communities thriving for generations.