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January 4, 2024

Pressley, Ballantyne, Advocates Celebrate $2.4M Secured for Somerville’s Clarendon Hill Housing Community

Federal Dollars Delivered by Pressley Will Boost Affordable Housing, Accessibility, Green Space, & Safe Transit for Ethnically, Linguistically & Economically Diverse Neighborhood

Video (YouTube)

SOMERVILLE – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) visited Somerville to celebrate the $2.4 million in federal funding she secured to support the community-led transformation of the Clarendon Hill housing community, an ethnically, linguistically and economically diverse neighborhood in Somerville. The federal dollars delivered by Rep. Pressley will help increase safe and affordable housing, promote accessibility for residents with disabilities, and support the development of green and open community space for residents.

Rep. Pressley was joined for a roundtable discussion and press conference by Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne, Diane Cohen, Executive Director of the Somerville Housing Authority, Cory Mian and Rodger Brown of Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), Gonzalo Puigbo, Chief Executive Officer of the Somerville Community Corporation, and Somerville elected officials, housing advocates, and community leaders.

“Housing and transit are two resources that can radically transform communities when we invest in them, and the Clarendon Hill project sits at the intersection of both,” said Rep. Pressley. “As we work in Congress to advance bold, long-term federal investments in affordable housing and public transit as a public good, I’m so proud to deliver these much-needed resources to support Somerville residents and change and save lives in the short-term. I’m grateful to Mayor Ballantyne, Somerville city officials, and our housing advocates for their partnership on this important project – a direct investment in our people and a testament to our model of cooperative governing.”

“As we launched this project, 92% of the housing units now being built anew were women-led households, with 87% women of color. Clarendon is one of the happiest projects that I’ve had the honor to work on because it’s usually the women, especially low-income women and women of color, that get second-tier treatment – but not this time,” said Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne. “What was once deteriorated, unsuitable housing will now be new, healthy homes, in fossil-fuel-free LEED platinum buildings surrounded by great outdoor space and safer streets. Thank you so much to Rep. Pressley not just for securing critical funds for this vital project but for always standing up for affordable housing, low-income families, sustainability, and safe transit. This project can now continue building for the future both of Clarendon residents as well as our Commonwealth.” 

“The Somerville Housing Authority is grateful for the $2.4 million dollars in funding for the Clarendon Hill Housing and Transportation Equity Project,” said Diane Cohen, Executive Director, Somerville Housing Authority. “As Congresswoman Pressley remarked, the funding will support the newly developed mixed income Clarendon Hill development with improved traffic flow, access to community walking and biking paths and open space. This sense of belonging, connection and equity is transformative for all.”

“POAH greatly appreciates the leadership from Congresswoman Pressley to secure federal funding for this critical affordable housing development,” said Cory Mian, Senior Vice President for Real Estate Development at Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH).  “When combined with funding from the City of Somerville, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and private sector investments, it will provide high quality, energy-efficient housing for current and future residents of Clarendon Hill and will serve as a model for revitalizing public housing.”

“Clarendon Hill is an amazing, thoughtful, impactful project that brought together all the key developments needed in Somerville around affordable housing, traffic, climate and equity,” said Gonzalo Puigbo, Chief Executive Officer, Somerville Community Corporation. “The most beautiful part of our work was the ability to hear our residents’ needs and deliver for them with the support of the government, state, city, private and non-profit sector. It shows that when we put our minds together, we allow for equity to happen, we can work together to solve a very difficult problem around affordable housing, and build a community that cares.”

Video footage from the roundtable is available here.

Rep. Pressley secured the federal funding for the Clarendon Hill housing development in the FY23 federal budget that was signed into law by President Biden last December. Rep. Pressley secured millions for 15 community projects across the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District in this major Congressional appropriations bill, capping off nearly a year of advocacy by the Congresswoman and local leaders.