Somerville Takes Next Step Toward “Consolidated Waitlist” to Greatly Simplify Application Process for Affordable Inclusionary Rental Units

Launching in late 2023, allowing one application for multiple below market housing opportunities expected to be game changer

Community Members Invited to Learn More at Informational Sessions Beginning January 24, 2023

SOMERVILLE –Applying for affordable housing opportunities can be a daunting and time-consuming process that can prevent those most in need of below market units from accessing them, so the City of Somerville is working to make the process easier with a new Consolidated Waitlist. The list will allow one application to be filed for all eligible upcoming affordable rental housing opportunities rather than requiring individual applications for each project.

To familiarize the community with how a Consolidated Rental Waitlist works, Mayor Katjana Ballantyne and the City of Somerville Housing Division are pleased to announce a series of educational meetings in January and February. This is a critical step forward for the much-anticipated rollout, planned for later in 2023.

“Paperwork should never be a barrier to housing. We’re so excited to make applying for affordable housing in Somerville easier for our community members,” said Mayor Ballantyne. “The informational sessions are an opportunity to learn what this Waitlist means and how it will be used to fill rental units in the near future so applicants will be well prepared and informed ahead of the launch of the Waitlist later this year.”

Currently, households must submit individual applications for each affordable rental opportunity that they are interested in by filling out an application with multiple pages. They must also track and know about opportunities, meet deadlines, and monitor the status of their applications for each opportunity. The Consolidated Rental Waitlist will streamline this process.

Inclusionary rental units are apartments created through requirements under the Somerville Zoning Ordinance. The Somerville Zoning Ordinance requires that 20% of all new housing in projects with 4 or more units to be affordable. The Consolidated Rental Waitlist will apply to all new inclusionary rental units built after the Waitlist launch. It will also be used to fill vacancies in existing inclusionary units once the original project waitlists are exhausted. There are currently over 350 existing inclusionary units and over 400 slated to become available in the current project pipeline.

It is important to note the Consolidated Rental Waitlist only applies to Somerville inclusionary rental opportunities. It will not apply to Somerville Housing Authority public housing units, nor for below market rental opportunities in neighboring municipalities. The Waitlist will also not apply to purpose-built affordable housing built outside of inclusionary housing requirements such as the affordable housing projects built by the Somerville Community Corporation. Homeownership opportunities under the inclusionary program will continue to be marketed and filled via individual applications for each opportunity as it becomes available.

Until implementation of the Consolidated Rental Waitlist, community members who are interested in current income-restricted inclusionary rental housing opportunities should still apply via the current project specific application process.

The information sessions will walk participants through the move to a preliminary application process, benefits to applicants under this new Waitlist system, household responsibilities once on the list, and updated City priorities and preferences with the goal to give participants enough lead time to feel comfortable with the new system ahead of its launch. To sign up to receive updates on opportunities, visit somervillema.gov/inclusionary and click the green box labeled “Affordable Housing Alerts: Sign Up Now.”

The information sessions will be held both in person and virtually on Zoom, and will be available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Cantonese, Nepali, and ASL. Additional translations are available via advance request to SomerViva Office of Immigrant Affairs. The full schedule, including meeting format and language availability, is below.

Somerville Consolidated Waitlist Information Session Schedule
Date
Time
Location
Languages
1/24/23
5:30 p.m.
East Somerville Community School Auditorium (50 Cross St.)
English with interpretation in Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole
1/26/23
2 p.m.
Zoom
https://us02web.zoom.us/s/84017033123
English

Spanish, Portuguese, and Simplified Chinese captions by request
1/28/23
9:30 a.m.
Zoom
https://us02web.zoom.us/s/81089283977
English with interpretation in Spanish and Portuguese

Spanish, Portuguese and Simplified Chinese captions by request
1/30/23
6:30 p.m.
West Somerville Neighborhood School Cafeteria (177 Powder House Blvd.)
English with interpretation in Mandarin, Cantonese, Nepali, and ASL
2/1/23
6:30 p.m.
East Somerville Community School Auditorium (50 Cross St.)
Spanish

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