In This Issue
Feeling the Crunch: Gentrification & Affordable Housing Makes Headlines
Apply for Somerville's Community Preservation Committee
50 Years Later: Finishing the March on Washington
Save Money with Individual Development Accounts
Join SCC!
New Fall Workshop Series
Progress Towards Green Line Jobs Agreement
Support Policies to Increase Affordable Housing Supply
Saint Polycarp Phase 3 Goes Vertical!
SCC Voices: "My Summer as an SCC Intern"

Feeling the Crunch: Gentrification & Housing Affordability Making Headlines

There's been a lot of discussion in local news outlets lately about the changes ongoing in Somerville- mostly related to development- and how they are effecting local residents and businesses. Both local business owners and long time residents have weighed in on their concerns that the increasing number of luxury condos and demand to live in Somerville will force them to look elsewhere to live and/or do business. Mayor Curtatone shared his own commentary about the value that affordable housing provides to the character of our community, and the need to continue creating and preserving housing opportunities for all segments of the population.



Some Somerville Businesses Fear Squeeze-Out in Union Square, Somerville Journal,8/15


Somerville Families See Barriers in High Prices in Condos and Countless Condos , Somerville Journal, 8/23

New Community Preservation Committee: Now Acception Applications!

Do you have a passion for parks, affordable housing, and historic preservation? The City of Somerville wants your help and is now accepting applications for four public positions on the newly formed

Community Preservation Committee, which will oversee the selection of projects to be recommended for funding by an estimated $1.5 million in annual Community Preservation Act (CPA) revenues. Residents are encouraged to apply and applications must be submitted by Sept. 22, 2013. Apply here

SCC Marches for Local Jobs, Freedom & Justice

 The Boston Common was bustling on August 28th when hundreds of neighborhood organizations, base building community organizing groups, labor unions, civil rights organizations, and faith communities gathered under the organization of the Boston Workers Alliance to "re-remember, re-imagine, and relive" the March on Washington held 50 years ago. SCC was proud to join this rally in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech and in support of jobs, freedom, and justice for all.

Save $Money$ with SCC's Individual Development Accounts
 Hey Somerville residents: how would you like to earn $2 for every $1 you save! Through one of SCC's Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), you can! Now available, IDAs are matched savings accounts created for a specific purpose- in our case, so participants can save for college or professional training. The match incentive works like this:for each dollar a participant saves, two dollars are provided as a match (up to $1,000 in savings and $2,000 in match funsds for a total of $3,000). Participants must be income-eligible ($22,980/one person, $39,060/two people, $47,100/four people, $55,140/five people), TANF recipients, OR eligible to receive EITC. For more information, please contact Shannon Erb at (617) 776-5931 x238  


SCC Membership
SCC is an organization of relationships- people with a passion for social justice and for improving quality of life for everyone in Somerville. When we are members together in an organization, we access collective power and have a greater impact in our community. When we work together, we get more accomplished. Please consider becoming a member today, which you can do online or by contacting Julia at 
617-776-5931 x239 or 








Ongoing Meetings
Our many groups and committees meet regularly and are usually open to newcomers! Please click on the calendar image below to see the what's happening this month!
12.09 Elizabeth Peabody


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What a summer in Somerville it was- together, we won approval from the Planning Board for new affordable housing at 181 Washington Street, launched a collaborative study and workshop series on local food access, and crafted a (soon-to-be-signed) memorandum of understanding with MassDOT to ensure that local jobs are made available to Somerville residents as the Green Line Extension goes under construction. 
As we transition into fall, the crew here at SCC is looking forward to continuing our progress in areas like jobs, housing and leadership development; all the good things that make Somerville a great place for everyone. We are excited to kick off our Leadership Development Institute Fall Workshop Series (starting 9/19!) and to soon be putting the finishing touches and welcoming tenants to Phase 3 of Saint Polycarp Village!
~From all of us at SCC, happy September!~ 
This Fall: 
Sign-Up for an SCC Leadership Development Institute Workshop!

Would you like to become a strong  public speaker? Build on your knowledge of how gentrification and displacement effects our community? Gain skills to be an active and effective leader in meetings? Then you will want to sign up for one our Leadership Development Institute (LDI) supplementary workshops this fall! Along with a basic four-session program in the spring, LDI also provides this series of workshops for graduates and other interested individuals to hone in on specific skills and share analysis. We invite you to join us for our fall sessions! 


 Workshops begin September 19th. Click here to register for one or all of the following:


Public Speaking     

Thursday, September 19th, 5:30 - 8:30 PM                                                                                     

 Gentrification & Displacement Part I

Thursday, October 17th, 5:30 -8:30 PM


Gentrification & Displacement Part II 

Thursday, October 24th, 5:30 - 8:30 PM


Step Up, Speak Up: The Role of Active Leaders in Meetings

Thursday, November 14th, 5:30 - 8:30 PM 


All workshops are free and will be held at SEIU 888, 52 Roland St in Charlestown (near Sullivan Station). Interpretation, childcare and food provided for all sessions. For more information, click here or contact Rene Mardones, 617-776-5931 x226  

 Local Jobs on the Green Line Extension: 
MassDOT & SCC Edge Towards an Agreement


This past summer saw great progress in our efforts to bring local jobs to Somerville residents as construction of the Green Line Extension moves forward. After a series of discussions with MassDOT and MBTA officials, an agreement was reached in July to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between MassDOT, the MBTA, and SCC's Jobs for Somerville Committee, the construction unions, the contractor, and other stakeholders, to ensure that local workers are trained and hired for construction of the Green Line Extension.

Meeting with MassDOT  

On August 30th, members of SCC's Jobs for Somerville Committee met with MBTA officials to give them a draft version of the MOU, which is currently under review by Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey. Once the MOU is signed, we will begin formation of a new "Access and Opportunity Committee" to oversea the local hiring. This is a great chance to provide local good jobs and training to residents of Somerville, Cambridge, and Medford! 


If you are interested in learning more about Jobs for Somerville committee and joining our fight to make sure Somerville residents get good jobs in our city, please contact Rene Mardones (617-776-5931 x226)


 How to Increase Affordable Housing in Somerville: 
Housing Linkage Fee & Inclusionary Zoning

 You may not know it, but the City of Somerville has an ambitious goal to create 6,000 new units of housing by 2030, 1,200 of them permanently affordable (See SomerVision, page 16) to working families and vulnerable individuals.

 How will we do it? Two particular policies- both already on the books in the form- have the potential to significantly increase Somerville's affordable housing supply. SCC's Affordable Housing Organizing Committee (AHOC) has begun discussions with aldermen on the City's Land Use Committee to express our support for strengthening them:

  1. This is a one-time fee paid by developers into the City's Affordable Housing Trust Fund which pays to support development of below-market rate housing. The current fee is $3.91 per square foot, and it hasn't been increased since 2004! 
    We strongly support increasing it to $5.15 per square foot.
  2. Inclusionary Zoning: Somerville's current zoning law requires that 12.5% of any new housing development with more than 8 units be made affordable to households making below the median income. As development booms throughout the city, a 12.5% requirement is not enough to ensure that our workforce and existing lower income households are not displaced from the city. As the City is already considering a number of zoning overhauls, the Committee would like to see an increase in the inclusionary zoning requirement to at least 15% in order to ensure that Somerville remains a diverse city that is affordable to everyone.

Our next monthly AHOC meeting is September 26, 6-8pm at SCC. To get involved, contact Rene Mardones / 617-776-5931 x226


"I have lived in Somerville for many years, and lots of people are moving out. People are looking for housing, but the problem is that the houses are really expensive. I hear all the time from people that are dealing with this issue. I live in the Mystic projects and I like to be involved in local issues and organizations like SCC."

-Celia Basilio, AHOC member


Note: We are also encouraging the Board of Aldermen to support and ultimately pass a Linkage Fee to contribute to a newly created Retention and Creation of Jobs Trust Fund. 

Saint Polycarp Phase III is Going Vertical!


Have you traveled past Saint Polycarp Village at 480 Mystic Ave recently? If so, you may have noticed a new rooftop popping up behind the old church and existing apartments! 




Just over six months after a celebratory groundbreaking ceremony (at which we not only kicked off the development of the new building but also opened a 60+ year old time capsule found in the walls of the old Saint Polycarp School!), Phase 3 of our development at Saint Polycarp Village has officially gone vertical. By January 2014, we look forward to welcoming 31 new and existing Somerville families to these new apartments which have been built to very high-efficiency and advanced green standards. (Click here for a case study on the green elements of this project).


For businesses looking for a new space in East Somerville, we will soon be seeking a new tenant to fill approximately 2,000 sf of office space at the original Saint Polycarp building at 40 Mystic Ave. Rent is competitive, off-street parking provided. Please contact Shaina Korman-Houston with any inquiries,  


SCC Voices:
 "How I Spent My Summer as an SCC Intern & Tisch Scholar"


  By Alexa Sasanow, SCC Summer Intern & Tisch Scholar


As a recent Tufts graduate who spent most of my college career involved in community work in Somerville, I was really excited for the opportunity the past summer to learn from and work with SCC, particularly on such a dynamic, interactive and participatory project. 


Our Land Use & Food Access Project came out of a number of conversations within the Gilman Square Land Use Committee, a group of members and residents who identified the vacant Star Market space at 299 Broadway as one of the most pressing issues in their community. In collaboration with the Urban and Environmental Policy & Planning (UEP) Department at Tufts, Groundwork Somerville and Teen Empowerment, we spent the summer addressing land use in a food access context - that is, how can we look at public, private, open, vacant and inhabited space in Somerville to make more healthy, convenient grocery options available? What is standing between 'Villens and good, affordable food in their neighborhoods?


Together with our two incredible high school interns, Pratik Maharjan and Blessing Duche, SCC Community Planner Mashael Majid and I ran two workshops with youth organizers at Teen Empowerment and Groundwork Somerville where we took markers to maps of Somerville and drew out our own local food economies. 

We went out and surveyed folks in East Somerville parks and markets about where they buy food and how they get there. With one of the Groundwork Green Teams, we took the bus to the Stop & Shop on Alewife Brook Parkway, and compared price points, item placement and atmosphere to the Market Basket on Somerville Ave. With another team, we surveyed Broadway from Mt. Pleasant St. up to Main St. for vacant and blighted buildings and lots. Pratik, Blessing and I made the hike from the Mystic Housing Development over to Market Basket, wondering how elderly and disabled folks or folks without cars are supposed to trek the 33 minutes over the hills on School St. carrying bags of groceries on a regular basis. We held a workshop at SCC at the end of the month, attended by 30 community members who shared knowledge and experience about food shopping. In August, we had another workshop where we showed off all the data we collected, and brainstormed potential community action plans to get more of the kind of affordable food sources residents need in the areas north of Market Basket. 

Over the course of the last few months, several residents were using the Food Economy Engagement Tool (FEET), created by UEP and which is being used by other community groups in other parts of the BostonMetro Area. FEET does a number of things, but arguably the most important part is the food log component, where food spending over the course of a week is tracked. Those who gave it a try had important insights about how and where people in Somerville spend on food.
It's been a really impactful summer, and I'm very excited for what's to come. We hope to have more collaboration with parent groups and English language learners now that classes are back in session. If you have ideas for further workshops or activities, or just want to get involved, contact Mashael, (617) 776 5931 ext. 235.


As always, we appreciate feedback.  Be sure to join us on Facebook & Twitter for the most current info on what we're up to and how to get involved. We look forward to seeing and hearing from you soon! 

Daniel LeBlanc
Somerville Community Corporation