News, Events, and Blog

Oct 28

2016

Silver Anniversary Party!

Please join us on Tuesday November 15th from 5:00 – 7:00 pm at the Indigo Hotel located at 399 Grove Street, Newton to celebrate our 25th Anniversary and Annual Meeting. Celebratory foods and beverages shall be had. All are welcome and the event is free! RSVP with robyn@metrowestcd.org.

Apr 08

2016

Housing the Homeless

The Tri Community Coalition to End Homelessness invites you to a forum on Sunday April 24th from 1:30 – 3:30 to explore “Housing the Homeless: From Crisis to Shelter to Home.” Many interesting speakers and exhibitors who are on the front lines trying to end homelessness. End Homelessness Forum

Mar 31

2016

How Volunteering can Benefit You!

We have all heard about how we should serve the common good by volunteering our free time to community non-profits; as an AmeriCorps member I can completely attest to idea of using your time to help others. Volunteering in general provides obvious benefits to the organization and the population being served.  However, what is often overlooked is the fact that volunteering can also have great personal benefits for those who are willing to donate some of their time and effort to a cause that is important to them!

Here at Metro West, we are currently looking for volunteers to help us further our mission and implement new programs. But we also want to help you become more engaged with your community and learn new skills! Keep reading for some of the ways volunteering with us can be mutually beneficial:

  • Learn more about affordable housing issues! As part of your training as a volunteer, you will be briefed on what defines affordable housing, the need for it, and the work being done to develop and advocate for new affordable homes.
  • Build your ties with metro west communities! We work with many different towns, organizations, and individuals; as a volunteer this network can be available to you.
  • Learn new skills! Some of our new programs, such as financial literacy and the housing search clinic, will require volunteers to familiarize themselves with relevant information and resources. Metro West CD will provide new volunteers with any necessary training and knowledge.
  • Meet new people! Volunteering will introduce you to numerous new people who may have similar ideas, interests, and hobbies.
  • Strengthen your resume! Many people may not think of this, but volunteering can add valuable experience to your resume, and show your potential employers that you are an engaged member of your community!
  • Improve your overall health! Studies show that individuals who volunteer have better mental health as volunteering combats depression, feelings of isolation, and promotes a sense of purpose. Additionally, those who volunteer also tend to be physically healthier as many volunteer activities encourage a more active lifestyle.

If you believe you would like to experience one of the benefits listed above and are passionate about bringing affordable housing to metro west communities, then visit our volunteer page or contact Desiree at desiree@metrowestcd.org. We have flexible volunteer opportunities for almost every schedule, and would love to hear how you would like to get involved!

Jan 31

2016

“The boys have gotten so big!”

It can take a seldom visited great aunt’s exclamation of “my how you’ve grown!” for a parent to see the growth in their own children. That’s how I felt when I recently spoke to a long lost colleague who exclaimed, “wow, you’ve got a lot going on!”

2015 was a challenging year for Metro West CD. The budget was super tight, a key staff person moved on and there was not a lot of good news on the horizon. But, we just kept stumbling forward and things have started to pick up steam. As of this writing we are:

  • Interviewing with the Norwell Community Housing Trust for the possible new construction of 18 units of affordable rental housing for seniors.
  • Submitting an application to the Waltham Community Preservation Committee for a $10 million acquisition/rehabilitation program to create 26 units of affordable rental housing for individuals and families.
  • Helping the towns of Stow and Belmont undertake Housing Production Plans.
  • Supporting two of our peer non-profits (the Weston Affordable Housing Fund, Inc. and the Lexington Housing Assistance Board) in their efforts to bring 2 and 4 units of affordable rental housing to their communities.
  • Organizing a Senior Housing Information Forum in Dedham.
  • Providing organizational infrastructure support to the Watertown Community Preservation Act campaign.
  • Participating in meetings with housing advocates in Natick and Lexington in their efforts to identify sites and public policies to create affordable housing.
  • Continuing our support of the Fernald Working Group.
  • Exploring a small-scale rental housing initiative in Hudson.

2016 will bear all of this fruit if we can tend it well. Thank you for your support, encouragement and commitment.

Nov 24

2015

The gulf between the advocates and the politics

Affordable housing advocates were eager to get their hands on “The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2015,” as it gives us new fodder to feed our mission. Costs are going up across the board–from land, to construction, to financing. Meanwhile, the state has over 4,000 homeless families in the emergency shelter system and tens of thousands more that are living on the economic margins.

It’s a great report and the problems are very real, very big and very entrenched, but what strikes me most is the incongruousness of the situation. A key conclusion is that we need to be able to build larger developments so that we can generate economies of scale to drive down costs. But at every town committee meeting I go to, and I go to lots and lots of them, the goal is to build innocuous affordable housing; keep it under the radar. “Political reality” trumps our crushing need every time. So, Community Preservation Committees and Housing Trusts and even many town planners, are now talking about how to get 2 units through town meeting. TWO UNITS! Some really bold and ambitious housing advocates might push for 10…

Up in the ether of the housing policy world, we’re talking about the need for thousands of units to meet the social and economic goals of the Commonwealth. And in towns and small cities we’re talking about single digits. How do we bridge this divide?

Maybe part of the answer is to dig deeper into the carrots and sticks that exists in communities for meeting housing production goals. Are Housing Production Plans working? Is the 40B “safe harbor” attainable for communities? Are 40R and 40S producing new units at a meaningful scale? And, how about those CPA dollars? Maybe the Commonwealth should have more strings attached to its match. Each community shares in the success of the Commonwealth. We also share in the challenge of addressing its problems.

 

 

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