Priorities of Massachusetts Latinos Identified in First Survey of its Kind by Amplify Latinx

Priorities of Massachusetts Latinos Identified in First Survey of its Kind by Amplify Latinx

A First of its Kind Latino Focused Study

Recently, MassINC Polling Group released the results of the largest and most comprehensive Latino focused poll in Massachusetts history, commissioned by Amplify Latinx. A survey pool of 1,200 Latino residents from all over the state revealed their top priorities for elected officials. The main concerns were focused on affordability, with housing taking the lead, followed by healthcare, job creation and unemployment reduction, and access to high quality K-12 education. According to the latest US Census data, Latinos account for 12% of the state’s population, yet this was the first dedicated poll focused on Latino priorities. The results are fundamentally important for policymakers and elected officials to shape future initiatives and further understand the priorities of Massachusetts’ Latino population.

The Ongoing Conversation

The survey was the focus of GBH’s recent forum, The Latino Housing Crisis, as part of its larger series The State of Race, which examines race and inequality in Massachusetts. IBA’s chief executive officer, Dr. Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, was a panelist, participating in a dynamic discussion about the underlying issues that contribute to the housing crisis and lack of affordable options in Massachusetts. Occupational segregation, housing discrimination, zoning restrictions, and the overwhelming road to home ownership were some of the main points discussed.

Zoning restrictions and the all-too-common “not in my backyard” response to affordable housing developments also contribute to a disparity in education access. Low-income families get restricted to school districts with too few resources, which adds to the cycle of socioeconomic inequity.

Takeaways from The Latino Housing Crisis Forum

Affordable housing is a complex issue that requires more than a one-step fix. While 79% of Latinos support rent control in Massachusetts, not many are able to find affordable properties to rent nor begin their journey to home ownership. What can be done to support members of our community?

  • Increase Rent Control: protect everyday homeowners from exacerbated increases in property taxes driven by developments, allowing and protecting affordable rent prices.

  • Expand Acquisition Opportunity Programs: allow renters to buy their homes from their landlords through subsidies from the government.

  • Preserve and Maintain Rent Stabilized Homes: go through all the necessary measures to prevent the sale or demolition of affordable housing units and homes.

  • Expand Homeownership Resources: provide first-time homebuyers with the educational resources they need to plan before, during, and after the purchase of their first home.

Connecting Education and Housing

Access to quality, affordable education is a key concern of Latinos responding to the poll. That makes the case for a holistic approach to addressing the affordable housing crisis that includes a focus on education. The funding and creation of affordable housing must go hand in hand with the funding of educational programs. When communities are segregated by wealth, schools in lower income communities will underperform.

At IBA, our Early Education Program provides affordable, multicultural education. We believe that education is the foundation of community leadership and economic mobility. IBA’s Youth Development Program provides the educational resources our families need for success and financial empowerment. We recognize talking about money and finances at the dinner table is not usual practice. At IBA, our students are introduced to a healthy relationship with financial planning for their future. These programs prepare children years in advance and give them the confidence and tools to be ready to address their financial needs and goals in the future.

IBA’s Integrated Approach

The best approach to addressing housing affordability in Massachusetts is for local and state leaders to work together to address the socioeconomic issues that have continued to grow in the last five decades, such as affordable healthcare, job security, and educational equity.

At IBA, our new homeownership Moon Shot program will provide a range of tools and programs that support participant households to advance their goals, paving the way to greater resilience and achievement for current and future generations. Learn more about IBA’s financial resources and educational programs here!

*Photograph captured by John Tlumacki at the Boston Globe