Somerville Did It – 20% Affordable!

Marie_Douge_copy.jpegAfter months of door-knocking, meeting, organizing and testifying, Somerville housing advocates and low-income tenants won a significant victory when the Board of Aldermen voted unanimously in May to require a much higher percentage of affordable housing units in new projects.

All new developments with 6 or more units will be subject to inclusionary zoning. All developments with 18 or more units will be 20% affordable. The affordable units will be distributed among low-, moderate- and middle-income tiers, allowing Somerville residents of varying incomes to find housing within the city.

“This is a huge victory,” according to a message from the Affordable Housing Committee of the Somerville Community Corporation. “Somerville now has one of the strongest inclusionary zoning ordinances in the country. When we fight, we win!”

We in the Cambridge Residents Alliance salute our sisters and brothers in Somerville and urge the Cambridge City Council to adopt policies at least as progressive as those Somerville just passed. Given the sky-high value of real estate in Cambridge, we have even more leverage to demand more affordable housing from developers who are making enormous profits.

Above: Somerville residents testify; photo courtesy Van Hardy.

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