Affordability Plan

Katjana has worked successfully to increase and protect affordability in Somerville for decades. Katjana is the only candidate, for mayor of Somerville, who has worked for a non-profit, affordable housing developer and she’s done that twice; once with Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), as a career ladders program director, and as board president of Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) creating affordable housing and jobs access.

In eight years as a councilor and as the twice-elected president of the city council, Katjana has sponsored, supported and voted for many initiatives to make housing and Somerville more affordable such as; The Office of Housing Stability, Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) requiring 20% affordable units in new housing development, The 2000 Homes Program, The Ordinance for Condo Conversion, The Affordable Housing Overlay District Zoning Amendment, The Short-Term Rental Ordinance, The Community Land Trust, The Fair Housing Commission, On-Campus Housing for students, and more. Katjana knows that while we have accomplished much in the cause of affordability, we have much more to do to make Somerville affordable, and she is uniquely qualified with the skills and experience to lead us to an affordable Somerville where we can all thrive together.

Katjana has always been about transparency and honesty, and has always been accessible to the community.”

Housing is a Human Right

Katjana values housing as a basic, human right. She understands that housing security is fundamental to having food security, safety, education and employment opportunities. Stable, affordable housing is the foundation that enables all other kinds of social equity. Vulnerable community groups including single-parent households, minorities and immigrants are disproportionately excluded by the most common systems and structures that we use to secure safe housing, healthy food, good education, and living-wage jobs.

Somerville Affordable Housing

Clarendon Hill Apartments Project will add nearly 300 new, sustainable, affordable housing units

Katjana's Affordable Housing Plan

As mayor, Katjana will continue to use every tool to create, expand, maintain and protect affordability and affordable housing.

Reinforce Housing Stability and Prevent Displacement

Katjana will continue her decades of effective leadership for housing stability as mayor, by proposing, supporting and advocating for:

  • The Office of Housing Stability and Community Action Agency of Somerville, to help residents find assistance resources to stay in their homes

  • Renters’ Bill of Rights, granting renters first right of refusal, subsidized legal representation in land court, information, translation services, and more

  • Rent Stabilization initiatives  

  • Institutional Master Planning (IMP) Requirements, and the home-rule petition that Katjana proposed/sponsored, to allow Somerville to require IMPs in our zoning ordinance. A collaborative planning process will improve our PILOT agreements and encourage local residential schools to house their resident students on campus in campus housing

COVID 19 Recovery Assistance

  • Extending the States’ Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures while providing assistance to both home owners and tenants who have suffered losses caused by COVID 19.

  • Extending Somerville’s Eviction Moratorium and promote Eviction Diversion.

  • Eviction Diversion Pledge to encourage landlords to work with tenants, to find resources and to make recovery plans instead.

  • Tax reduction or forgiveness to property owners and renters who have experienced COVID-19 related losses.

  • Use ARP funds to help property owners and renters who have been unable to keep up with their mortgages or rent or other financial obligations due to COVID-related loss of income. ARP funding to pay mortgages, property taxes or loans (taken to pay the same) due to COVID-related losses.

Increase and Protect Affordable Housing Units in Somerville

As mayor, Katjana will put her knowledge and experience to work in proposing, supporting and advocating for:

  • Collaboration with non-profit developers and/or SHA to develop local, affordable housing. Under-utilized local properties could be identified and developed as purpose built affordable housing under the Affordable Housing Overlay District zoning.

  • 2000 Homes and other programs to permanently remove a portion of housing stock from the inflationary market to maintain affordability and price stability.

  • The Community Land Trust

  • Maximizing the “local preference pool” (Somerville residents) for government-subsidized units.

  • University developed, on-campus housing for resident students to reduce student demand for housing off-campus.

  • A Pilot Compact Living Program/zoning ordinance (CLP), to serve low-wage earning adults, modeled on Boston’s Pilot CLP. A CLP would incentive smaller, very well designed units in buildings that share common areas, with close access to public transit options.

Strengthen Affordability Ordinances and Zoning Regulations

  • Protect the Condominium Conversion Ordinance.

  • Short-Term Rental Ordinance to preserve housing units and neighborhood impacts.

  • Strengthen the Affordable Housing Overlay District zoning to allow increased height/area when the increase would allow:

    • A significant increase in the number of affordable units.

    • A significant increase in the number of family-sized (3+BR) units.

  • Strengthen the Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) provisions to eliminate 100% (or 110% AMI) rental units from the mix. These units are hard to fill because anyone that can afford them doesn’t want to be subject to the intense annual recertification requirements. IZ units should either be set at 50% or 80% AMI.

  • Strengthen the IZ ordinance to ensure that small units (studio, 1BR, 2BR) and family size units (3+ BRs) follow an identical pattern of affordability (so that, for example, 3+ BR units have a mix of subsidy levels, and are not all offered with the shallowest subsidies).

  • Develop alternatives within inclusionary zoning ordinance’s number and cost requirements. For example, subsidizing one unit at 30% AMI equals subsidizing five units at 100% AMI.

Increase funding for Affordable Housing

  • Use the CPA and Affordable Housing Trust Fund to leverage multiple times more State and Federal subsidy and to help us design housing solutions that are specific to Somerville.

  • Real Estate Transfer Fee (RETF) on real estate transactions. Katjana will work with the state delegation and advocate for the enabling Home Rule Petition for a RETF.

  • Affordable housing bonds serviced by transfer fees and/or mortgage payments.

  • Bond funding against CPA funding stream.

  • Use District Improvement Financing (DIF) for Affordable Housing, whenever applicable, to fund affordable housing preservation or to create new housing.

Expand Homeownership Opportunities

  • Provide down payment assistance to households seeking to purchase a house condo for their own primary residence, or a 2/3-family property to include an owner-occupied unit.

  • Support & Expand CHAPA and HUD certified first time home-buyer training to residents.

  • Allocate some of the 2,000 homes program properties to be transferred, then sold to home buyers in the context of affordability incentives.

  • Advocate to reinstate and increase the State funding of homeownership programs and increase down-payment assistance funds for homebuyers.