Update: on Monday, October 16th, 2023, the City Council ordained amendments to the 100% Affordable Housing Overlay by a final vote of 6 to 3, marking a major win for housing affordability in Cambridge. This landmark zoning reform will allow more affordable homes to be built along transit hubs and corridors, which means that more of the 22+ thousand people on the Cambridge Housing Authority’s Can’t Wait List will get to call Cambridge home.
ABC would like to thank all those who emailed and testified in support, without which these amendments might never have passed. ABC also thanks the 6 councillors who voted for it: Burhan Azeem, Alanna Mallon, Marc McGovern, Denise Simmons, Sumbul Siddiqui, and Quinton Zondervan, for their commitment to making Cambridge a more affordable, inclusive city.
“[Affordable housing] would mean the world to my family. We can have stability. We would have our own space instead of sharing a room.”
More than 22,000 people are waiting for a home they can afford in Cambridge, but the city still isn’t building enough. The Cambridge Housing Authority’s (CHA) waiting list for affordable apartments as of April, 2023 had 22,537 unique applicants on it. According to CHA, 4,488 live in Cambridge, 2,912 work in Cambridge, and 327 are Veterans.
In October 2020, the City Council adopted a 100% Affordable Housing Zoning Overlay, removing certain barriers to the production of affordable housing. It has helped, but not enough - the city is still falling significantly short of its goals and our needs.
Now, in 2023, four City Councillors have proposed amendments to the AHO. These amendments would expand and strengthen the AHO by making more sites across the city available for affordable housing, and increasing the allowed density of affordable housing on those sites. However, the package has been met with strong opposition from “not in my back-yard” voices. The City Council needs to hear your support.
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