The City of Chelsea launches its Fair Housing Plan Engagement Process

The City of Chelsea's Department of Housing & Community Development, with funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development's Community Development Block Grant Program and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, has launched a Fair Housing Plan, in collaboration with residents, housing agencies, and community based organizations, to vigorously address housing discrimination. Housing discrimination affects a wide range of residents, and is rooted in racial and economic inequities. In response, an equitable Fair Housing Plan was set as a major priority of the Chelsea Young Adult Alliance and Chelsea Black Community, and is underway.  

The plan will help to identify needs and barriers to fair and affordable housing and establish goals and strategies for breaking down the barriers to equitable, healthy housing opportunities in the City of Chelsea. Encompassing substantial community input, the plan will also guide investments in affordable housing, community development, housing stability, and social services. "We are pleased to announce the Fair Housing Plan, the results of an invaluable partnership with the Chelsea Young Adult Alliance and Chelsea Black Community" Alex Train, Director of Housing and Community Development. "Against a backdrop of a housing crisis affecting residents across the community, the City is committed to ardently defending against discrimination of protected classes, to ensure all Chelsea residents have access to affordable and safe housing." 

An Advisory Committee, comprising residents, local housing specialists, and community based organizations, has been established and the first meeting was held on November 8, 2022, with a subsequent meeting in December. The Plan will be guided by community engagement, including focus groups, interviews, events and community meetings. "Community engagement is fundamental in this project. New and long-standing residents experience various housing realities. Folks with disabilities, seniors, children, teens, and families have unique housing needs. With well-rounded input, we will have an opportunity to capture Chelsea's distinct opportunities," notes Erica McCarthy, Housing & Community Development Manager. 

Once complete the Fair Housing Plan will offer a roadmap for the City and partner agencies to tackle entrenched barriers to Fair Housing. As the City's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Candace Perez highlights the specific impacts on Fair Housing for Chelsea and the Department's role in the project. "While we as a society have collectively navigated our way through a pandemic, one of the emerging impacts has been an even wider economic disparity in our communities. The insecurity of our economy is felt in all levels of our society, and this disparity is even more apparent in the space of housing and equitable opportunities for a safe, affordable place to live. The City's Fair Housing Plan Initiative is focused on not only identifying the mitigating factors of housing inequality, but also advocating for the substantial allotment of quality housing developments in Chelsea and in our communities beyond. The Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a collaborator and partner in this endeavor, in ensuring that all residents - regardless of their socioeconomic status - has access to obtaining equitable, affordable housing." 

The anticipated completion date of the Plan is Summer of 2023 and once complete will be widely available to the public. Should you have any input or questions, please contact the Department of Housing and Community Development, Erica McCarthy, 671-466-4197.