housing and development
“As a student at Harvard College, Nadya understands that she is part of the 15% of Cantabrigians who live on campus and have an inevitable effect on other Cambridge residents. She feels especially committed to fighting for progress in affordable housing because of her own past experiences with housing instability. She hopes to push forward smart development and potential ways to work with the local universities to open up more affordable housing units.”
-Elmer Vivas, lifelong Cambridge resident and Director of Engagement
Nadya supports the Council’s recent vote to increase the amount of affordable housing that developers must provide from 11.5 percent to 20 percent of the total number of units in a project. We fully support the increase to 20 percent but also believe that we can continue taking other actions to address affordable housing especially because of the continuous increase of housing valuation after the end of rent control in the city. We also believe in openly communicating with residents and developers to assess the status and impact of increasing inclusionary zoning. Community engagement efforts will also help us address the future needs relating to housing affordability.
more university housing
In addition to increased affordable housing, increased university housing would also help combat the homelessness that exists in our city; studies have shown that providing the homeless with a home first can end up being cheaper in the long-run.
Looking at the 2016 Town Gown Report, higher education institutions in Cambridge had a combined total of 6,638 undergraduate and graduate students, approximately 30% of the city's student population, in non-university affiliated housing. Harvard and MIT had a combined total of 10,682 graduate students but only 4,836 were housed in university-affiliated housing. This means that 54.7% of graduate students were not in university housing, increasing the competition for affordable housing.
Students increase the competition for affordable housing but most students are unaware that they are taking the best-priced units in Cambridge and creating difficulties for families. We plan to form a taskforce composed of representatives from the universities, the City Council, and the Community Development Department to find the most adequate solution for all. One possible solution is a city-sponsored facility that is financed by the different institutions in Cambridge for the multitude of graduate students.
middle income housing
Data reveals that Cambridge is far wealthier than the average U.S. city. However, substantial poverty exists in the city and has increased during the years of the booming economy. Although the federal poverty threshold is $24,250 for a family of four, this number underestimates the costs of living in Cambridge, which is much higher than the federal average. Because income inequality exists in dramatic disparities between upper and lower households, Cambridge’s middle class is shrinking.
We realize that affordable housing has not only affected low-income families but also those of the middle-class. As new luxury housing is developed and inclusionary zoning is increased, middle-income housing is decreasing. This also poses a huge issue for Cambridge public school teachers who can no longer afford to live in the city. Therefore, our work will take into account both low and middle-income housing.