The mission of CAAS is to reduce poverty among local families and individuals while working to counteract - and whenever possible, eliminate - the societal conditions that cause and perpetuate poverty. Our community outreach work takes a systemic approach to advancing CAAS' mission. We engage CAAS families in collectively pushing for social change through anti-poverty issue based campaign work that shifts public policy in Somerville.
Community Outreach Mystic Housing
The CAAS Outreach Team has been working with residents at the Mystic Housing Project in Winter Hill to revive the Mystic Tenant Association (MTA). Elections for the MTA Board members were held in February 2017, and at the beginning of April this new group of resident leaders had their first all-resident meeting. It was a rousing success with over forty tenants in attendance, and people actively participating in both English and Spanish. The MTA Board is now looking to continue building their base and involving more and more Mystic residents from all language backgrounds.
Community Outreach at Clarendon Hills
CAAS’ community outreach team has been working on a tenant rights action project at the Clarendon Hills housing project in West Somerville. The Somerville Housing Authority has partnered with private developers to redevelop the site, which would temporarily displace the 216 families that currently reside there. The redevelopment will involve increasing the density of the site by adding 300 market-rate housing units and rebuilding the current affordable housing units. CAAS is working with residents to organize a tenant association that will represent tenants’ voices during the process. Given the vulnerable population currently living in the housing project, ensuring that tenant voices are heard during negotiations is a key goal of CAAS’ community organizing team. Through this process, the tenants hope to solidify their rights and get answers to important concerns about residents’ rights to stay in Somerville during the redevelopment process, whether or not children will be able to stay in the Somerville School District if their families move, and whether all current tenants will be guaranteed the right to move back when the development is completed.
If you’re interested in supporting the residents at Clarendon Hills, please contact Sara Halawa, CAAS Community Outreach Specialist at (617) 623-7370x176 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Community Outreach at Pearl Street Park
Pearl Street Park (PSP) is a HUD subsidized building for the elderly and disabled that was expiring its use in September of 2018. When private owners sign a contract making their building affordable it is only for a certain amount of time, in this case about 30 years at PSP. The organizing department at CAAS has begun paying attention to buildings with expiring use because we want to preserve the affordable housing Somerville has. We do this by providing political education, organizing tenants towards creating a tenant association and empower them to take action; putting pressure on management and owners to keep their housing section 8. Recently at Pearl Street Park the tenants decided to send a signed letter to the owners, management and several politicians requesting a formal agreement to preserve the affordable housing which we are waiting for now. Most signs point towards the affordability being extended for an additional 20 years which is exciting. Right now, we are doing leadership development and working towards electing a board for their tenant association.