Earlier this month, the Cambridge City Council voted to table the 100% Affordable Housing Overlay petition, ending the discussion on this important proposal this council term. CNC is disappointed that the council was unable to pass the overlay, which was aimed at helping affordable housing developers create new affordable units more quickly, more cost effectively, and in areas where there are fewer affordable housing options for residents. Learn more about the overlay here.
On August 1 the Cambridge City Council ordinance committee continued its review of the 100% affordable housing overlay proposal. CNC maintains its strong support of the overlay, which is aimed at helping affordable housing developers create new affordable units more quickly, more cost effectively, and in areas where there are fewer affordable housing options for residents. CNC joined the call for passing the overlay proposal as a means to create more affordable housing during public comment and submitted this statement. Learn more here.
The Hive is a new STEAM creativity zone being built in the lower level of the Cambridge Public Library at 449 Broadway, that will be the only public and free makerspace in Cambridge. Construction is underway and the Hive will open to the public in early 2020.The Hive will consist of a hands-on workshop (aka “makerspace”) stocked with digital and traditional fabrication tools, multimedia recording studios for creating audio and video content, and an Extended Reality Lab for experiencing and experimenting with virtual and alternate reality. Cambridge Public Library has asked CNC member Innovators for Purpose Teen Creatives to help develop a strategy that generates “buzz" about the Hive and welcomes everyone, especially underserved populations. The Teens have been hard at work and would like your help refining their strategy. There are two upcoming design reviews for you to provide input: FRI 8/2 and THURS 8/8. All reviews are at 2PM at the Main Library in the Learning Lab.
The City of Cambridge has engaged consulting firm Health Resources in Action to evaluate both the grantee projects and the Community Benefits process overall. To that end, they have created a survey to begin collecting feedback from the Cambridge nonprofit community that will help inform future rounds of funding. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey today, which will close on Friday, August 9.
On July 2, 5:30pm, the City Council Ordinance Committee will begin debating the details of the proposed 100% Affordable Housing overlay ordinance. The overlay is designed to help affordable housing developers, using public funds, create new affordable units more quickly, more cost effectively, and in areas where there are fewer affordable housing options for residents. Learn more about the proposal here.
Earlier this year 93-99 Bishop Allen Drive, otherwise known as nonprofit row and home to many nonprofits, went up for sale. Rather than let market forces determine the outcome, the Cambridge Community Foundation stepped in and worked with Cambridge Redevelopment Authority to make an offer that would allow the current nonprofit tenants to stay. As of this week, the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority has a purchase and sale agreement in place for the building. CNC applauds the Cambridge Community Foundation for its lead role in facilitating the many discussions that helped achieve this outcome, and the CRA for supporting the local nonprofit field in such a critical way. Learn more here.
At the end of April, the City Manager approved the Community Benefits Advisory Committee's planning grant recommendations. The partnerships, each headed by a Lead Organization, are as follows:
In addition, the City has entered into a contract with Health Resources in Action (HRiA) to provide evaluation support for each partnership as well as the Community Benefits process on a whole. Stay tuned for opportunities to provide feedback on the process and learn more here.
A recent survey commissioned by the US Census Bureau found that just over 40% of survey respondents did not feel it matters whether they are personally counted in the 2020 Census. In addition, nearly 1 in 4 respondents fear that their answers to the 2020 Census will be used against them. Leveraging partnerships between nonprofits and government is one strategy to help overcome these difficulties, and is more important than ever as Census data drives the distribution of billions of federal dollars to Massachusetts in addition to political representation. Review the Mass Nonprofit Network Census 2020 resource page and stay tuned for opportunities to engage in this work in Cambridge.
At 6 pm tonight, the Cambridge City Council Housing Committee will convene and ultimately vote on whether to advance the 100% Affordable Housing Overlay proposal to the next step in the process.The proposal, which would help create more low and middle income homes in Cambridge, is one piece of a larger approach addressing to Cambridge's housing challenges. Learn more here.
The Community Benefits Advisory Committee is recommending four collaborative applications for Community Benefits planning grants of $30,000 each. Combined, the proposals represent the work of over 15 nonprofits. The lead applicants on these proposals are Cambridge Community Center, Community Art Center, De Novo and Just-A-Start, and the applicants propose a variety of approaches to addressing the three top tier needs previously identified in the Community Needs Assessment: 1) affordable housing and homelessness, 2) financial security and 3) mental health: behavioral health and substance abuse. The full proposals are now posted on the Cambridge Community Development Department website, under the Request for Proposals (RFP) tab. Congratulations to the grantees! Learn more here.