Blue Ribbon Task Force on Tenant Displacement

Introduction

The Mayor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Tenant Displacement is a partnership between Mayor Marc McGovern and Councillor Sumbul Siddiqui, who will chair the meetings, to provide policy guidance on how to prevent displacement in the Cambridge community.

The task force will be charged with investigating the root causes of displacement—answering the question of where and why forced displacement is occurring—evaluating current policies, programs and practices, and developing bold alternatives where necessary, thereby addressing the imperative need for stronger, more immediate tenant protections. Its recommendations for policy change and resource allocation will provide critical guidance to the City Council and City Manager’s Office on mitigating the effects of housing instability on our City, and realizing the future of Cambridge as affordable, inclusive and desirable for all.

Mayor McGovern and Councillor Siddiqui plan to enlist a diverse task force membership of neighborhood residents, property owners and managers, community leaders, and representatives from tenant advocacy groups, the affordable housing trust, and city staff, and to have these 10-15 members confirmed by early January 2019. They hope that that this will serve as a platform for proactive discussion and an opportunity for strengthening community and building trust amongst this city’s residents.


The average Cantabrigian sees a tenuous future here, with rents ever-increasing and homeownership seeming beyond reach. As noted in the Cambridge Development Department’s recent report on eviction data collection, there were “2,900 eviction complaints filed against 1,937 unique Cambridge tenants” from 2013 to 2017. It is difficult to track outcomes and analyze causation, as “complete data on outcomes is hard to assemble” and cause for evictions is “difficult to reliably determine...without a file review of the details of each case.” The City must work harder to understand the variety of factors contributing to the displacement of Cambridge families and individuals--the establishment of this task force represents a crucial step in moving from talk to action in 2019 and beyond. 

If the City of Cambridge cannot do more to fight displacement in its community, it risks sacrificing its very cultural fabric, historical vibrancy, and economic and demographic diversity. The continuation of Cambridge’s identity--as a place where families of all colors, shapes and sizes can put down roots, where entrepreneurship can flourish, and young people raised here can reasonably hope to return, as a sanctuary city and safe haven for refugees, a city with a robust economy, nationally recognized for its policy innovations--is at stake.

Meeting Dates

Unless otherwise noted, all meetings will be held in the Sullivan Chamber, 2nd floor of City Hall. 

  • 29 January, Tuesday, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • 24 February, Sunday, 4:00-6:00 p.m. **Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Ave***
  • 19 March, Tuesday, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • 23 April, Tuesday, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • 21 May, Tuesday, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • 18 June, CANCELLED (This meeting will be rescheduled)

Blue Ribbon Task Force Members

Appointed Members of Task Force:

  • Sonja Andujar
  • Patrick Barrett
  • Teresa Cardosi
  • Jessica Drew
  • Betsy Eichel
  • Iram Farooq
  • Larry Field
  • Sean Hope
  • Beth Huang
  • Kuong Ly
  • Alexandra Markiewicz
  • Maura Pensak
  • Cheryl-Ann Pizza-Zeoli

*Sarah Stillman, Council Aide (sstillman@cambridgema.gov) and Wilford Durbin, Mayor's Chief of Staff (wdurbin@cambridgema.gov) will provide support to the Task Force.


Documents

May Minutes MBR Task Force on Tenant Displacement 05/21/19

April Minutes MBR Task Force on Tenant Displacement 04/23/19

March Minutes MBR Task Force on Tenant Displacement 03/19/19

Minutes from MBR Task Force on Tenant Displacement February Meeting 02/24/19

Minutes from MBR Task Force on Tenant Displacement January Meeting 01/29/19

Letter Announcing Formation of Mayor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Tenant Displacement 12/13/18

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