Massachusetts enacted its most ambitious housing law in decades. Now the hard part is enforcing it.

Even more perplexing than the cuts, Gollinger says, is the reason for them: Waltham’s failure to comply with early procedural requirements of the state’s new MBTA Communities law, an ambitious effort to tackle Massachusetts’ housing crisis by mandating new multifamily zoning in communities served by the MBTA.

Zoning issues are typically a matter for planning departments and city councils, not housing authorities. If anything, Gollinger’s agency — which administers public housing and voucher programs for low-income renters — exists to deal with the fallout of Massachusetts’ sky-high housing costs, which have been fueled by restrictive local zoning rules.

“The question that we all have is, why are we involved in this?” he said.

Yet Waltham is one of six housing authorities that in late September received the same letter from the state Department of Housing and Community Development, a copy of which was obtained by the Globe. And that has

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Mass. enacted an ambitious housing law. The hard part is enforcing it.

The Boston Globe

The commuter rail station in Waltham. The city’s Housing Authority could have its budget cut by more than $300,000 because officials there have failed to comply with the early procedural requirements of the MBTA Communities law. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

John Gollinger is scrambling.

Two months ago, Gollinger, the executive director of the Waltham Housing Authority, learned that the state is cutting its contribution to his budget next year by more than $300,000.

That will almost certainly mean a reduction in services for people who live in public housing in Waltham, many of whom are disabled, elderly, or extremely low income. Maintenance requests could go unheeded. Much-needed renovations could fall to the wayside.

Even more perplexing than the cuts, Gollinger says, is the reason for them: Waltham’s failure to comply with early procedural requirements of the state’s new MBTA

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