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Massachusetts may help homeowners whose foundations are crumbling

Massachusetts Senate approves funds to help homeowners with crumbling foundations
Massachusetts Senate approves funds to help homeowners with crumbling foundations 00:41

BOSTON - Homeowners across the state who rallied on Beacon Hill asking for help to pay for their crumbling foundations may soon see some relief.

Why are foundations crumbling?

Thursday night, state senators approved an amendment to the Affordable Housing Act that will create a fund for Massachusetts residents whose foundations are failing. The problem is a natural mineral called pyrrhotite, which eventually causes concrete foundations to crumble - and insurance doesn't cover the costs. The state now mandates quarries to test their product for pyrrhotite.

"The next step is finding the best methods for funding this effort," State Sen. Peter Durant, R-Spencer, said. "This is a long-term problem that will require us to be creative so as not to place a large burden on taxpayers while also helping residents to repair their homes which, in turn, helps their local economy."    

Members of Massachusetts Residents Against Crumbling Concrete gathered outside the Statehouse again on Thursday to call for help fixing their foundations.

Massachusetts Residents Against Crumbling Concrete are asking the state to help fix their crumbling foundations. CBS Boston

Homeowners face financial hardship

"This slow-moving mineral has created a financial hardship for thousands of families in my district and across our state, is not covered by homeowners' insurance and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket to fix," said State Sen. Ryan Fattman, R-Sutton.  

The problem is expected to hit more than 40 cities and towns, which have identified homeowners with crumbling foundations due to pyrrhorite. Replacing the foundation in a home can cause a homeowner as much as $250,000.  

"Faulty foundations are putting the homes and life savings of thousands of Massachusetts families across the Commonwealth at risk, through no fault of their own," said Sen. Michael Moore, D-Millbury.  

The amendment is now before a conference committee. 

"This is essentially a natural disaster," Durant said. "It is caused by the failing of a natural element and it was unforeseen by the concrete industry, builders and homeowners."

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