Municipal Engagement Initiative

CHAPA’s Municipal Engagement Initiative seeks to build support for affordable housing production in communities across the Commonwealth. CHAPA's Municipal Engagement staff works with local municipalities and community groups to conduct public education efforts in support of housing production, with an emphasis on affordable housing. Strategies will be developed to work within the context of each community.

While all communities will benefit from public education and community discussions about the need for housing development and how it benefits communities economically, each community is unique in its character, land, zoning, and housing stock. CHAPA strives to develop a community engagement model that will broadly work in all communities while allowing for flexibility in the model to work within each unique environment. The Municipal Engagement Initiative is based on the collaborative model CHAPA uses at the state level, focusing on building coalitions that work together to address each community’s housing challenges. Coalition building at the local level will bring together stakeholders representing local businesses, civic groups, houses of worship, and other groups and individuals that are active in each community.

For more information, contact Dana LeWinter, Municipal Engagement Director, at dlewinter@chapa.org.

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Municipal Engagement Initiative Community Application

CHAPA's Municipal Engagement Initiative is not currently accepting new communities. If you are interested in learning more about the Initiative or finding out how you can work with CHAPA in the future, please contact Dana LeWinter, Municipal Engagement Director, directly at dlewinter@chapa.org or 617-701-7479.

In addition to meeting the required criteria outlined below, all applications should align with CHAPA’s mission to encourage the production and preservation of housing that is affordable to low and moderate income families and individuals and to foster diverse and sustainable communities through planning and community development.

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Required:

  1. Market Conditions to support Housing Production and Affordable Housing
  2. Additional Conditions needed to build support. Examples of conditions that indicate need may include, but are not limited to:
    • Municipal staff seeking assistance to engage community around housing production and affordable housing,
    • Local advocacy or community group seeking assistance to engage community,
    • No existing coalition,
    • High level of organized opposition preventing municipality from moving forward with efforts to produce housing,
    • Close votes on zoning and development proposals, or
    • Missed opportunities identified
  3. Welcomed by Municipality at some level (Mayor, Town Manager, ZBA, Planning Staff, Fair Housing Commission, etc.)

Bonus:

  1. Trigger: New Zoning proposal, specific site changing hands, public site available for affordable housing, new leadership, new regulation or policy being explored

Note: Attention will be paid to reaching communities of different sizes, geographies and stages of housing production activity, but this will not be the only criteria.

 

Statewide Technical Assistance Providers

In addition to the lessons learned from work on the ground, CHAPA will convene meetings of Metro-Boston and statewide organizations working in local communities.  Meetings will provide opportunities for organizations to share information on their models and progress as well as to coordinate work between groups who are doing work simultaneously in particular communities. By coordinating efforts, the various Technical Assistance Providers can better serve communities and work together to address challenges. To learn more about each Technical Assistance Provider, their services and funding opportunities, please use the links below.

Additional Resources

The Municipal Engagement Initiative was pleased to host Katherine Levine Einstein of BU to share the report "Who Participates in Local Government? Evidence from Meeting Minutes" along with a moderated discussion by a panel of practitioners on November 7, 2018. Learn more about the "Who is the M in NIMBY?" Breakfast Forum.
 
Check out these additional tools and resources: