Planning and Organizing

Fenway CDC has been at the forefront of community-based planning and organizing with notable success. We collaborate with non-profit organizations, issue-specific groups, local institutions, elected officials, and resident activists with the goal of securing a more inclusive and sustainable future for our community.

As issues emerge for residents, we support constituencies to address their challenges. Our efforts are guided by a diverse and inclusive coalition that includes individuals of different races, ethnicities, classes, ages, and abilities.

Advocating for Affordable Housing Policies

Fenway CDC is part of a range of coalitions and partnerships to advocate for strengthening affordable housing policies, at both the city and state levels. A few of the active campaigns are detailed below.

Fenway CDC is a member of the Coalition for a Truly Affordable Boston (CTAB) to improve Boston’s Inclusionary Development Policy. Boston’s IDP program requires a percentage of new housing development to include units that are income restricted. The program is overseen by the Boston Planning and Development Agency. If the policy were strengthened, IDP could provide more deeply affordable homes to Bostonians.

Visit the CTAB website to learn more: www.affordableboston.org

The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) would let Massachusetts cities and towns adopt a preservation, anti-displacement and tenant empowerment tool that can preserve affordable rental housing stock, provide a mechanism for tenant associations to collectively purchase their buildings, and stabilize low-income households. TOPA would allow municipalities the option of providing tenants in multi-family buildings the right to match a third-party offer when their homes are being sold.

Visit the TOPA Coalition website to learn more: www.topa4ma.org

We are working on two different Transfer Fee proposals. One bill is at the State Hose and seeks to allow cities and towns to place a fee on real estate transactions to fund affordable housings. Monies collected could go to the municipal or regional housing fund. In addition, the Mayor of the City of Boston has filed a petition with the City Council for a Boston specific fee on real estate transactions over $2 million. This will have to be passed by the City Council and go to the State House for passage as a Home Rule Petition. If passed, it is estimated that approximately $100M of funding per year would be generated for affordable housing.

Visit the Local Option for Housing Affordability Coalition website to learn more: www.realestatetransferfee.org/coalition

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) is a municipal effort to implement fair housing mandates from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2015 (later withdrawn by the Trump administration). The Affirmatively Fair Housing Advisory Committee drafted 14 goals and 100+ actions. Our collective work to achieve those goals is to educate the community, support implementation, monitor, and enforce accountability. AFFH requirements have been put into the Boston Zoning Code and into the Boston Planning and Development Agency review process. We seek to educate and empower residents to hold developers accountable to these new requirements.

Visit the BPDA’s website to learn more: www.bostonplans.org/housing/affirmatively-furthering-fair-housing-article-80

Tenant Organizing

Fenway CDC has a long history of supporting tenants to preserve “expiring use” units through community organizing. Our efforts have contributed to the preservation of nearly 600 units of expiring use housing. As the only neighborhood-based group in the Fenway working to preserve long-term affordable housing, we are organizing tenants and building leadership from within the community. Our tenant organizing activities promote social and economic diversity as well as social justice.

Our staff have intervened to help hundreds of at-risk residents remain in their homes, manage conflicts with landlords, and advocate for themselves to improve their living conditions. We work with elected officials, other community organizations and CDCs, Greater Boston Legal Services, City Life/Vida Urbana, Massachusetts Alliance of HUD Tenants, and Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership to provide stabilizing services to Fenway residents.

Organizing Committee

The Organizing Committee is open to all community members who are interested in advocacy and organizing in the Fenway—no experience or knowledge is necessary!

Organizing Committee meetings are held virtually every month, typically on the second Thursday of the month at 6-7:30PM. For more information, please contact Cassie White at 857-217-4370 or cwhite@fenwaycdc.org.

Fenway’s Urban Village Committee

The Fenway’s Urban Village Committee (UVC) is composed of community members who volunteer to monitor development projects in the neighborhood. The committee is structured to have one point-person assigned to each major development project with other UVC members in supporting roles. The UVC writes comment letters to the Boston Planning and Development Agency, expressing community input on each development project.

The UVC meeting is open to all community members who are interested in planning and development in the Fenway—no planning experience or knowledge necessary! Urban Village Committee meetings are held virtually. For more information, please contact Richard Giordano at rgiordano@fenwaycdc.org or 617-264-4637 x19.

Fenway CDC thanks Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) for supporting our work. Fenway CDC is the lead organization in a new partnership with Boston Tenant Coalition, Homes for Families, Mass Law Reform Institute, and the Greater Bowdoin Geneva Neighborhood Association.  We will organize and campaign together at the City and State level to move legislation, budget items, and policies that will increase funding for affordable housing, rental subsidies, further fair housing, and improve tenant rights. Our vital work will help address the homelessness crisis in the Commonwealth. BIDMC selected our coalition as one of 17 local organizations to receive funding for impactful initiatives in the areas of housing affordability, jobs and financial security, and behavioral health. This is BIDMC’s first major investment through its Community-based Health Initiative.

Fenway’s Urban Village Plan

The Fenway’s Urban Village Plan is the residents’ vision for the Fenway neighborhood’s growth in the 21st century. We envision building a smart-growth, transit-oriented residential neighborhood in the heart of the city of Boston that welcomes the broadest spectrum of residents.

The Urban Village Plan for the Fenway was first introduced in 1992 and was updated in 2007, 2009, and 2015. Fenway CDC aims to be a catalyst and a partner in the transformation of the Fenway neighborhood into an “urban village” in the narrow modern definition of the planning term: a self-sustainable environment where people can live, work, shop, and entertain in a single urban area.

The Plan consists of the following 5 elements:
1. A sufficient and varied housing supply
2. Access to public transportation and reduced vehicle traffic
3. Community-building facilities such as a community center
4. A healthy business community that serves local residents and visitors while providing employment opportunities
5. Open space and a responsible level of impact upon the environment

Click here to download the latest Fenway’s Urban Village Plan:
(released on May 20, 2015)

Download Plan