CHAPA Announces Seven Communities Selected for 2022 Municipal Engagement Initiative Cohort
Today, Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) announced their selection of seven communities for their Municipal Engagement Initiative (MEI) 2022 cohort. MEI provides support and technical assistance to communities in their efforts to create coalitions in support of affordable housing. With local expertise at the forefront, MEI seeks to help municipalities develop unique, actionable strategies that work within the context of each community.
“Housing is critical to resilient, vibrant communities,” said Rachel Heller, CHAPA’s chief executive officer. “We are excited to support this cohort in actualizing their vision for their communities and bringing together different voices towards one goal: to create the equitable, healthy, and sustainable future we all want and deserve through affordable housing. All of Massachusetts benefits when every community says yes to housing.”
The three communities selected for the full MEI program are the City of Chelsea (in collaboration with the Anti-Displacement Roundtable), the Town of Milton, and the Town of Andover. Four communities selected for the MEI Lite program, which provides technical assistance on a range of focused efforts, such as helping communities to get started or helping communities expand their work, are the Town of Easthampton, the Berkshires Regional Planning Commission, the Town of Winchester (via the Network for Social Justice), and the City of Lowell (via Community Teamwork, Inc. and the Housing Choice Coalition).
“The Network is so excited about being chosen for this CHAPA initiative,” said Liora Norwich, executive director of the Network for Social Justice. “We are seeking to find new ways to build community engagement and support for the goal of diversifying Winchester's housing stock. Through this work we want to build a strong grassroots coalition of people who are informed about the historical and present-day rationale for increasing affordable housing in our town, and are able to work with us to advance a strategy to build bridges around this issue.”
“On behalf of the Easthampton Affordable and Fair Housing Partnership, I am thrilled that Easthampton has been accepted into CHAPA's Municipal Engagement Initiative,” said Janna Tetreault, the Chair of the Easthampton Affordable and Fair Housing Partnership. “Participating in this Initiative will help the city create and educate a broad and diverse coalition to support our affordable housing goals. This is crucial, as we hope to have more opportunities to build affordable housing in the future."
Since its inception in 2018, MEI has partnered with fifteen communities over four cohorts using CHAPA’s statewide collaborative model. Past successes of the local coalitions who participated in MEI include Medford’s first Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, the creation of a Revere Affordable Housing Trust, and the defeat of a ballot referendum to overturn approval of a multi-family housing development with significant affordable homes in Newton, as well as other zoning reforms and affordable housing developments.
“The Town of Andover is excited to partner with CHAPA to engage our community in purposeful conversations on the topic of housing and to advocate for housing policies that meet the needs of our community,” said Anthony Collins, associate planner in the Town of Andover Planning Division.
Interested communities submitted an application to CHAPA that demonstrated the need for community coalition building in their city or town, highlighting triggers such as new leadership, key initiatives launching, and increased opposition to affordable housing that would require a strategic response.