Candidate Forum Today, Oct. 17, Will Focus on Displacement and Housing: At Least 10 of 17 Council Candidates to Participate

In a collaboration between eight different organizations, a candidates forum focusing on displacement from the community and the housing crisis will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 17 – a forum that will include a role playing game, candidate statements and question and answer portion.

Organizations sponsoring the event include GreenRoots, MassGeneral, TND, Chelsea Collaborative, Northeastern University Legal Services, Greater Boston Legal Services, City Life, and the Chelsea Record.

The event will take place at the Chelsea Senior Center, Riley Way.

“Many people may wonder what GreenRoots, MGH and the Chelsea Record have to do with housing and displacement,” said Maria Belen Power of GreenRoots – the lead sponsor. “We’re working at the intersection of public health, environmental justice and housing – and how they connect. We can’t address any of them without addressing the others.

“We have 10 of the 17 candidates for Council that have committed to the event as of now, which we feel is a good number and will spark a good conversation,” she continued.

The forum will begin at 5:30 p.m. with refreshments and a social time. At 6 p.m. will be the introductions.

That will lead into the simulation game that is based on displacement and housing issues in Chelsea, led by TND.

GreenRoots Director Roseanne Bongiovanni said it’s based on a game they played a few months ago with their membership. Each person is given a situation, including family obligations, income and rent payments. Then, as time goes by, they have to figure out how to handle large rent increases based on the current conditions in Chelsea.

“When the rent increase, you have to figure out what to do,” she said. “In the end, you end up having to participate in the experiences thought the game that happen with displacement. It shows how often it happens and how it can happen to someone working full time and doing everything they need to do.”

Added Power, “When we did the game for our Community Night, we attracted a lot of our members and others who were already involved in the anti-displacement movement. We felt it was important to engage City officials and those running for office to find out where they stand and what they feel they could do about this issue. They are the ones that can make decisions that will make or break people’s lives.”

That will empty out into a lightening round of questions, and then prepared statements from the candidates. The last part of the forum will be questions from the audience moderated by MGH.

All are invited to come see where the candidates for office on the Nov. 5 ballot stand on the issues of displacement and housing.

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