ABC October News: eviction crisis, data workshop, & more

(Sent on Tuesday, October 20th.)

While it’s a tremendous victory that the Affordable Housing Overlay has become law — thanks in huge part to your support — the state of housing in Massachusetts is currently dire.

The governor’s eviction moratorium officially expired on October 17, putting tens of thousands of tenants at risk of housing insecurity even as winter is coming and COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Local and federal protections remain in effect, and the state has announced new rent relief for those in the state’s homelessness prevention program. If you know anyone at risk of displacement in Cambridge, please direct them to the City’s Housing Liaison. Somerville also provides local support through their Office of Housing Stability.

While the still-remaining protections are important, they form a limited, targeted patchwork, and many tenants will slip through the cracks. Massachusetts urgently needs state-level action. That is why ABC is joining other housing advocates to push for Reps. Connolly and Honan’s Act to Guarantee Housing Stability, which, among other protections, includes a stay on evictions and foreclosures and prevents rent hikes. Please call the legislature and let them know you support a continued eviction moratorium. To stay involved in this campaign, sign up through the Homes4All coalition.

A Better Cambridge also hosted a panel on tenant protections last week, which you can watch here.

Upcoming events…

  • A new report (excerpt here) by Boston Indicators and the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program calls for the statewide legalization of apartments near transit. The authors will present at 10am on Wednesday, October 21st.

  • Chris Schmidt, the producer of AHO Reality, will be hosting a data workshop to walk anyone interested through GIS data, property database data, historical data, and the process of combining these datasets to create maps and visualizations. Sign up here! The workshop will happen at 2pm on Saturday, November 7th.

Good news for affordable housing…

  • The Affordable Housing Overlay (final text) was passed by City Council at its October 5th meeting! As we’ve said before, a huge congratulations and thank you to all ABC members and friends who have advocated for this pro-housing policy. We’re hopeful that the AHO will support the development of many new affordable housing units throughout Cambridge.

  • A 49-unit Passive House affordable housing development has been proposed at 2072 Mass Ave, north of Porter Square. It is currently in the “community feedback” phase, and will likely seek a comprehensive permit from the Planning Board in the coming winter. Despite the transit-oriented nature of the development, NIMBYs are already complaining about parking impacts, so get ready!