SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBORHOODS WORKING GROUP SELECTED

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Committee of residents, experts, advocates and industry professionals to develop bold and innovative recommendations that address housing affordability

SOMERVILLE –A 29-member group representing a wide range of expertise and perspectives on housing affordability has been selected to recommend bold and innovative ways that the City can address affordability for families, as part of Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone’s “Sustainable Neighborhoods” initiative.
The Sustainable Neighborhoods Working Group, which includes experts in the field of housing, resident stakeholders and community advocates, and finance and real estate industry professionals, will work closely with municipal planning and housing staff to bring together a variety of expertise and experience around the issue of affordable housing. The group’s first meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 23 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Argenziano School cafeteria, 290 Washington St. Meetings of the Sustainable Neighborhoods Working Group are open to the public.

The group is tasked with developing approaches that protect and preserve the affordable housing already in the city, expand the City’s resources to create more, and broaden the initiative to include middle-income housing for working families, while recognizing that building more housing alone is not enough to address this demanding challenge.

The Sustainable Neighborhoods Working Group will be co-chaired by Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang, who is Chairman of the Board of Aldermen’s Housing and Community Development Committee, and by Dana LeWinter, Executive Director at the Massachusetts Community and Banking Council and a former Director of Housing for the City.

In addition to Alderman Niedergang and LeWinter, the Sustainable Neighborhoods Working Group includes members that have had longstanding involvement with the city’s affordable housing efforts through organizations such as the Somerville Homeless Coalition, the Somerville Community Corporation, and the Somerville Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Other members have been actively involved in the city’s redevelopment efforts through their affiliations with organizations such as the Somerville Chamber of Commerce, and the Union Square Civic Advisory Committee, among others.

The membership of the Sustainable Neighborhoods Working Group includes:

· Mark Alston-Follansbee
· Jacinta Arena
· Joseph Beckmann
· Jamie Bemis
· Fred Berman
· Natasha Burger
· Mary Cassesso
· Roger Frossard
· Ludo Gardini
· Kevin Gatlin
· Ezra Glenn
· Kristin Haas
· Maryann Heuston, Ward 2 Alderman.
· Shaina Korman-Houston
· Maude LaRoche
· Daniel LeBlanc
· Irene Lew
· Stephen Mackey
· Patrick McMahon
· Damian Musello
· Ann Marie Polaneczky
· Peter Quinn
· Ellen Shachter
· Peter Tsourianis
· Tim Talun
· Thalia Tringo
· Kimberly Wells

In the face of a regional affordable housing crisis, Mayor Curtatone announced in October the Sustainable Neighborhoods initiative—an outline of next steps to broaden and deepen the City’s already robust efforts to maintain affordability for the people and families of Somerville, by addressing affordability in a comprehensive manner and across all needed income brackets.

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