A new fair housing plan in the city aims to address housing discrimination and help identify needs and barriers to fair and affordable housing, and establish goals and strategies to break down those barriers.
The city’s Department of Housing and Community Development is spearheading the effort, with funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The community development department will work in collaboration with residents, housing agencies, and community based organizations to make the plan a reality.
Housing discrimination and affordability has been a major priority for many city departments and organizations over the past several years, and an equitable fair housing plan was set as a major priority of the Chelsea Young Adult Alliance and Chelsea Black Community.
“We are pleased to announce the Fair Housing Plan, the results of an invaluable partnership with the Chelsea Young Adult Alliance and Chelsea Black Community,” said Alex Train, Director of Housing and Community Development. “Against a backdrop of a housing crisis affecting residents across the community, the city is committed to ardently defending against discrimination of protected classes, to ensure all Chelsea residents have access to affordable and safe housing.”
Train added that the plan will encompass substantial community input and help guide investments in affordable housing, community development, housing stability, and social services.
An advisory committee of residents, local housing specialists, and community based organizations held its first meeting earlier this month and will meet again in December. Additional focus groups, interviews, events, and meetings will be part of the community process
“Community engagement is fundamental in this project,” said Housing and Community Development Manager Erica McCarthy. “New and long-standing residents experience various housing realities. Folks with disabilities, seniors, children, teens, and families have unique housing needs.”
Once complete the Fair Housing Plan will offer a roadmap for the city and partner agencies to tackle entrenched barriers to fair housing.
“While we as a society have collectively navigated our way through a pandemic, one of the emerging impacts has been an even wider economic disparity in our communities,” said Candace Perez, the city’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officer. “The insecurity of our economy is felt in all levels of our society, and this disparity is even more apparent in the space of housing and equitable opportunities for a safe, affordable place to live. The City’s Fair Housing Plan Initiative is focused on not only identifying the mitigating factors of housing inequality, but also advocating for the substantial allotment of quality housing developments in Chelsea and in our communities beyond.”
She added that the Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a collaborator and partner in this endeavor, ensuring that all residents – regardless of their socioeconomic status – have access to obtaining equitable, affordable housing.
It’s anticipated that the plan will be completed by next summer. Anyone with input or questions can contact McCarthy at (617) 466-4197.