Housing Assistance Corporation and Leadership Cape Cod have joined forces to train advocates to speak up for affordable and accessible housing.
Drawing on their expertise and strengths, the two organizations will create a program to educate and empower a new breed of engaged citizens. These advocates will speak with a passionate and insightful voice for year-round attainable housing in our region.
“Housing decisions are influenced by those who show up to town boards and town meetings,” said Housing Assistance CEO Alisa Magnotta, “We need to ensure we have engaged residents who will let their towns know that creating housing locals can afford is critical for our communities and year-round economy.”
The educational program will be based on LCC’s successful Take Your Seat Initiative, which helps working-age residents take leadership roles in town government. It will teach residents how to act as housing advocates or seek a position on a local board to support more equitable housing policies from local government.
“Single family zoning is proving to be the death of our year-round communities. These laws were started in the early 1900s to keep Black and Brown people out of neighborhoods and out of policy discussions,” Magnotta said. “More than 100 years later, we are all living with the disastrous impact of those laws. We have a shortage of year-round housing and sprawl that is threatening not only our environment, but also the existence of our middle class and our economy. We’re all seeing friends and neighbors forced to move off-Cape while an influx of workers is now commuting on-Cape because none of them can afford to live here. It’s time to change that disparity.”
Leadership Cape Cod Executive Director Bob Cody said the initiative will also identify and develop the next generation of leaders who understand that accessible housing is a critical component to any thriving community.
“We are planting the seeds today that will see fruition in 10 to 20 years,” he said. “This project exemplifies leadership and everything we stand for at LCC.”
This latest partnership is an outgrowth of the Housing to Protect Cape Cod summit, which brought together more than 350 housing advocates from across the region last November to brainstorm solutions to Cape Cod’s housing crisis. The HPCC initiative was launched by Housing Assistance Corporation in partnership with the Cape Cod and Islands Association of REALTORS®, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, CapeBuilt Companies, and the Homebuilders and Remodelers of Cape Cod.
“We must act now to change how we think about housing and who gets to live here,” Magnotta said. “It’s time to show that we not only care about the place we love; we care about the people who make Cape Cod such a special place. It’s time to turn the tide on the housing crisis.”
The two Cape-based nonprofits signed a memorandum of understanding last week.
For more information on the Take Your Seat Initiative, visit leadershipcapecod.org/service/.
For more information on Housing to Protect Cape Cod, visit housingtoprotectcapecod.org.