ABC News, Feb 2023 🏘️ Planning Board vacancies, upcoming hearings, ABC events and more

Applications are open for seats on Cambridge’s extremely powerful Planning Board, through Monday, March 6. Through its role in the special-permit process, the Planning Board has the authority to block most significant homebuilding proposals in the city. It also provides advice to the City Council on all zoning amendments. A background in planning, architecture, or law is advantageous, but the primary requirement is that members be interested in thoughtfully reviewing proposals and available for weeknight meetings almost every week. The City Manager is offering an annual stipend of $6000. If you or someone you know may be interested in serving on the Planning Board, please apply or encourage them to apply!  Continue reading

AHO Hearing Recap - thank you!

Last Wednesday (February 8), the Housing Committee of the Cambridge City Council held a hearing to discuss expanding the Affordable Housing Overlay. THANK YOU to everyone who emailed the City Council, spoke at public comment, or shared our petition or our FAQ page with friends or neighbors. Continue reading

Action Alert: Demand more affordable housing

More than 21,000 people are waiting for a home they can afford in Cambridge, but the city still isn’t building enough. When asked what affordable housing would mean to them, some of those 21,000 on the Cambridge Housing Authority waitlist said: “Working just one job and being able to be more present in my children’s lives.” “Affordable for me is not having to choose between food and a roof over my head.” “It would mean the world to my family. We can have stability. We would have our own space instead of sharing a room.” On Wednesday, the City Council will hold its first hearing on amending and expanding the Affordable Housing Overlay - and we need your help in demanding they act! Continue reading

ABC News, Jan 2023 🏘️ State-level housing action, Charter review, homes and homelessness, and more

(Published Jan 30, 2023.) The 2021 MBTA Communities Act requires 175 municipalities (including Cambridge) to update their zoning and meet minimum state targets for zoned capacity. The requirements include an imminent January 31 deadline, and are the subject of significant state-wide discussion. (Public policy researcher Amy Dain, for instance, recently released five articles in Commonwealth Magazine explaining “what the MBTA Communities law means for your town”.) However, in Cambridge, beyond a preliminary analysis in April, we have heard nothing about Cambridge’s plans for compliance. Continue reading

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