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Affordable Housing and Your Bank Across the United States, families are struggling to find and keep affordable housing. The pandemic exacerbated these challenging conditions, and today, every state lacks the housing it requires for its citizens. This affordable housing deficiency impacts our economy as well as our social progress as a country.

Cambridge Trust is committed to building up our communities by increasing access to affordable housing through our operations and philanthropic activities.

A National Shortage

In the U.S., 70% of extremely low-income families are severely cost-burdened, paying more than half their income on rent.

This national shortage of affordable solutions has significant implications. Studies have shown clear linkages between economic mobility, intergenerational poverty, and housing. In particular, children who moved to better, safer neighborhoods saw higher earnings later in life and were more likely to succeed in school.

Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition

More affordable housing also has strong connections to our national economic growth. Research has shown that our lack of affordable housing costs the American economy $2 trillion per year in lower wages and productivity.

A Local Challenge

Housing in our communities is particularly problematic. In Massachusetts (MA), it takes an average of 107 hours a week at minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom rental. This income-to-housing ratio makes MA the 3rd most expensive US state to live in, following California and Hawaii. New Hampshire isn’t far behind as the 13th most expensive state in the US.

The inflated housing costs plaguing our communities often force workers to move out of high-demand urban centers and away from their work. The financial burdens brought on by the summer’s increases in gas prices paired with upsets to our MBTA lines created an even starker pressure for families to choose between higher-paying jobs and shorter, less expensive commutes.

A Community Commitment

Cambridge Trust has worked with the Massachusetts Housing Project (MHP) for almost 30 years to address some of our housing shortages.
We’re particularly invested in ONE+Boston. This program was designed to help Boston residents, especially people of color, find financial solutions that will allow them to afford to stay and buy in the city. We were delighted to be at the table with MHP, helping to imagine the program. This allowed us to create a strong partnership that addresses the cost and supply challenges of our affordable housing problem.

Strengthening our relationship even further, in 2021, Cambridge Trust made a $110 million voluntary commitment to MHP as part of our obligation to help create more affordable housing in our communities.

This commitment was one of the largest of its kind in US history, and we are thrilled that it’s helping MHP advance its mission of working with communities to create innovative policy and financing solutions that provide affordable homes and better lives for the people of Massachusetts.


 Our housing market is one of the most expensive in the country for both rentals and for home ownership. As a practical matter, we want to retain and encourage the next generation of workers to live here, to stay here, to put down roots here and start families here. That ultimately requires affordable homeownership.

– Clark Ziegler, Executive Director, Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP)


In its 30 years of operation, MHP has provided $1.2 billion in financing for thousands of rental apartments in MA out of its bank-funded loan pool. Our commitment to the Multifamily CRA Funding Program allows MHP to use funds more flexibly than it could under traditional agreements.

Expanding beyond Massachusetts, in November of 2022, we recognized a similar affordable housing shortage in New Hampshire. To help address this challenge, we committed up to $30 million to finance affordable housing construction. For more on this commitment please read our Press Release).

Looking Forward

We are committed to helping create vibrant, equitable, and inclusive communities where we work and live. The housing challenges of Massachusetts and New Hampshire run deep. However, with the incredible work of organizations like the MHP, we look forward to a future where all families can find the housing they need to ensure the safety and success of generations to come.