EVENT: Catch up with City Hall

If you’re struggling to keep up with all of the housing news coming out of City Hall: we presented a virtual Cambridge Housing Policy Debrief on Tuesday, January 10th at 7:00pm. Slides and a recording are available. Continue reading

A Better Cambridge in 2022 and 2023

During 2022, Cambridge continued to chip away at its housing to-do list. Continue reading

ABC News, Dec 2022 🏘️ Housing and climate, tenant experiences, and more

Last month, ABC invited researchers from the Rocky Mountain Institute to share their findings on how housing policy can help slow the rate of climate change. They reported that building more housing in dense, high-income cities with jobs and access to transit can reduce greenhouse gasses from transportation, the economic sector contributing most to GHG emissions. RMI’s analysis shows that the US cannot meet its Paris Agreement target of holding warming to 1.5 degrees without shifting the amount we drive or where we build. Notes from the talk and Q&A, as well as a recording, are available. Continue reading

Housing Policy is Climate Policy

ABC hosted representatives from the Rocky Mountain Institute this week to discuss the intersection between the housing crisis and climate policy. If you couldn't make it, you can watch a recording of the meeting. Continue reading

Statement on Affordable Housing for FY24 Budget Hearing

(Sent on December 11, 2022 in preparation for a Dec 15 hearing.) Dear City Councilors and City Manager, Every year, resident surveys reiterate that housing affordability is the #1 issue facing Cambridge. The waitlist for CHA affordable housing is over 20,000 names long. Over half of Cambridge renters - i.e. at least 40,000 people - are rent-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of income on market-rate rents.  Continue reading

ABC News, Nov 2022: Housing and climate policy, AHO improvements, and more

(Sent on Monday, Nov 28.) ABC is presenting “Housing Policy is Climate Policy,” a virtual talk with Q+A, on Wednesday, December 7, at 7pm. Anna Zetkulic of the Rocky Mountain Institute will discuss how changing zoning laws to allow mixed-income housing in higher-income, urban, walkable neighborhoods can improve climate and equity. Register here to receive the Zoom link. Continue reading

Affordable Housing Overlay improvements

(Sent Nov 20, 2022.) Several years ago, ABC successfully fought for passage of an Affordable Housing Overlay (AHO) in Cambridge. We knew that this zoning change alone wouldn't solve our long-standing housing shortage, but we also knew that creating a streamlined process with relaxed dimensional standards for 100% affordable housing developments could make a big difference. It is an idea that has been recognized nationally and adopted in other cities. We’re happy that the AHO’s first two years have seen six sites applying for AHO permits, with four completing their review requirements, for a potential total of over 400 new affordable homes. Even many who opposed it at the time now applaud it today. The City Council is now weighing revisions to the zoning code to strengthen and expand the 2020 AHO. Councilors Azeem, McGovern, Simmons and Zondervan have proposed changes that would allow: Continue reading

Housing Policy is Climate Policy: Zoom Webinar

Please join us on Wednesday, December 7th at 7:00 PM on Zoom for “Housing Policy is Climate Policy”.  Continue reading

How you can help build a better Cambridge

We don’t know what the results of today’s midterm elections will be (please vote if you haven’t!), and that makes us nervous for our country. But we know that no matter what happens at the federal or state level, local government in Cambridge has the power to make a profound difference in people’s lives through improvements in housing, transportation, and many other areas. And we hope that you know that by organizing and advocating for a vision of abundant, affordable, stable, and sustainable housing for all, you have the power to make Cambridge a better, more diverse, more vibrant, and more equitable city. We wanted to take a moment to spell out four key ways that you can help. And please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to discuss with us your particular situation so we can find out what the best fit for you might be! Continue reading

ABC News, Oct 2022: zoning progress, BZA vacancies, upcoming events, and more

(Sent on Friday, October 28.) This week, the Council ended all city requirements that new buildings must include parking spaces. New developments will no longer have to set aside space for driveways and car storage; homeowners may now use existing parking areas for other purposes. Builders may still include parking in their projects, but it’s now optional. All six of the ABC-supported Councilors (Azeem, Mallon, McGovern, Siddiqui, Simmons, Toner), joined by two more (Nolan, Zondervan), voted to prioritize housing over parking, making Cambridge the first city in Massachusetts to take this step. Meanwhile, an anonymous group is aiming to collect 8,396 signatures in 20 days in an effort to undo the Council’s action by referendum. The Council has also approved a substantial jump in the “linkage fee” paid by large commercial developments to help fund affordable housing construction. While the 66% increase is the largest in recent years and will raise tens of millions of dollars for affordable housing, it could have raised even more if not for a pair of loopholes that came with it. Previous fee increases have adjusted only the overall rate but this one adds a partial exemption for small projects and another that reduces the fee when parts of an existing building are demolished.   Continue reading