I wanted to share with you a news release from the Mayor's office describing an exciting affordable housing initiative that the Curtatone Administration is undertaking, and invite you to the meeting this Wednesday evening, October 15th at 6 PM in City Hall when the Mayor will present it to the Board of Aldermen's Housing and Community Development Committee, which I chair. There will be discussion following the Mayor's presentation, and as Chair I will allow members of the public to share their thoughts, reactions and questions.
Although this is just a plan at present, it is a broad and ambitious one. While I have been discussing some of these ideas with them for months, the Mayor and Director of Strategic Planning and Community Development Michael Glavin deserve full credit for developing this ambitious and dynamic plan. Of course, it all depends upon implementation and the details; a nice plan will not prevent Somerville from becoming an exclusive community and losing the economic, ethnic, and cultural diversity that makes this such a special place. Still, this plan acknowledges the importance of affordable housing and the threat that Somerville faces from gentrification. While this initiative is late and should have come a year or two ago when it became clear that the Green Line extension would begin in 2017, hopefully it is not too late to address the affordable housing crisis our community faces.
This plan follows Board of Aldermen President Bill White's call to stop the gentrification of Somerville and responds directly to a Board order I submitted a month ago:
That the Administration and the Director of Strategic Planning develop a bold and comprehensive plan for a substantial increase in low- and moderate-income affordable housing, taking into consideration the extent of the affordable housing crisis and the need to increase the Somervision target of 1,200 affordable units over the next 20 years, and present the plan in writing to this Board before the end of 2014.
I hope you can take a few minutes to at least skim the detailed news release. Please do share your thoughts and reactions with me.
Ward 5 Alderman