Join a Committee

The SCC Board of Directors has a number of sub-committees that focus on specific priority areas of our work. Several of these sub-committees are populated mostly by non-board community members, but have representation from the Board. The organizing committees included in this list take on the role of identifying problems and creating strategies and campaigns to address these issues.

Affordable Housing Organizing Committee (AHOC)

AHOC is comprised of Somerville tenants, homeowners, and agency representatives who are devoted to preserving and increasing affordable housing opportunities and stabilizing existing communities in Somerville. We organize campaigns that aim to maintain a diverse and affordable Somerville.

What is the problem?
High housing costs have made it unaffordable for many, including long-term residents and newcomers, to remain in the city. The lack of affordable housing is a widely acknowledged problem in Somerville.

Now is the time to do something.
Whether you're a renter, homeowner or landlord, there is a role for you. Learn how to make a difference in your community by becoming involved in local organizing efforts.

What does AHOC do?
AHOC members work to educate the public about affordable housing issues, influence policy on local and state levels, and engage community members through petitions, events and discussions.

  • Green Line: Currently, AHOC is involved in a range of efforts to prevent displacement of low and moderate-income Somerville families in the areas around the upcoming MBTA Green Line extension in Somerville, and to encourage construction of and preservation of affordable housing.
  • Election Forums: During many municipal elections, we have organized a forum for Mayoral and Aldermen at Large candidates to ensure affordable housing is a central issue in all public debates in Somerville. Contact SCC (617) 776-5931 to request copies of Q&As posted by previous aldermanic candidates.
  • Expiring Use: We saved 224 federally-subsidized affordable units at Cobble Hill in 2002, and worked with tenants in 2006 to preserve 23 affordable units on Mt. Vernon Street in East Somerville. AHOC continues to work with tenants of other expiring-use buildings to preserve affordability.
  • Linkage Fee: In 2004, we won an effort to improve an ordinance that makes thousands of more dollars available for affordable housing development.
  • Coordinate the Annual Walk to Prevent Homelessness.

As more people get involved, our chance to make an impact grows exponentially. We encourage anyone who cares about affordable housing in Somerville and is committed to making a change to become a part of AHOC.

The committee usually meets on the second Wednesday of each month with subcommittee meetings and special meetings scheduled as determined by committee members. For more information, to confirm the meeting time or to join AHOC, please contact Karen Narefsky at (617) 776-5931, ext. 230.


East Somerville Neighbors for Change (ESNC)

ESNC is a group of residents from the East Somerville neighborhood who are concerned about the quality of life and social equity among East Somerville's population.

What is the problem?
Residents of East Somerville often feel this part of the city has an undue burden of obstacles and inadequate services to address them. This part of the city is surrounded by highways which contribute to traffic and poor air quality. The poverty rate is highest in this part of the City. There is also a higher rate of residents who are not registered to vote, leading to the perception that the population has less opportunity to be heard by public officials.

What does ESNC do?
ESNC takes direct action to turn these concerns into concrete changes that benefit the community. We are currently working on our local jobs campaign so that East Somerville residents will have the opportunity to be considered for the 500 jobs that the IKEA store will bring to Somerville. In 2006 and 2007, ESNC led the Crossing McGrath Highway campaign to increase crossing time for pedestrians along McGrath Highway. In 2005, ESNC successfully campaigned to get the City of Somerville and the Boys and Girls Club to launch a free after school gym program at the East Somerville Community School. ESNC members and other neighbors worked with SCC to create the Community Mapping Project.



Voices of Immigrants of Somerville (VIS)

VIS is a group of immigrants and allies that is dedicated to the self-representation of immigrant interests in the City of Somerville. We believe that together we can make a difference.

What is the problem?
Today, Somerville's immigrant workers are marginalized, isolated and pushed away from their share of the social and economic benefits that they produce. We oppose the cultural prejudices and discriminatory federal immigration policy that are behind this injustice.

We understand that a just society requires a profound sense of solidarity where members see the loss of one as a loss for all. Neighbors should be willing to guarantee a dignified quality of life and the equal sharing of social and economic benefits among all contributors. We believe that it is only by collective organizing that we can begin to correct the injustices that are so apparent in our neighborhoods.

What does VIS do?
By empowering ourselves so that we stand on a more equal footing with our US-born neighbors, Somerville's immigrants can better help and empower Somerville as a whole. We have been very active on the Welcoming Massachusetts campaign, an effort to officially declare Massachusetts as a place that recognizes and respects the rights and contributions of immigrants in its communities.



Real Estate Development Committee

Even in an uncertain economy, housing prices in Somerville remain high and out of reach for many people. SCC uses government and private funds to develop housing that we sell or rent for less than it costs to build. There are many challenges that arise, from acquiring a property to renting it out to selling it, and completing a project is often more of an art than a science.

What do we do?
The Real Estate Development Committee works with the Housing Development team to:

  • Evaluate and plan potential affordable housing development opportunities.
  • Monitor the operations of existing developments.
  • Advise decisions made by the organization in relation to affordable housing deals.

The committee helps the Housing Development team step away from the details and suggests creative ways we can approach temporary road blocks.

Join us.
The committee is comprised of community members with a knowledge of or interest in affordable housing development. Members help inform decisions that are made about SCC's development and get an inside view on the development work that SCC undertakes. Meetings are held every two months. If you are interested in joining the committee or finding out more information, please contact Jeremy Wilkening at (617) 776-5931, ext. 227.


Membership Committee

The Membership Committee works to engage, strengthen and grow the membership of SCC. The committee develops member activities (e.g., the summer membership meeting), plans member benefits, and runs membership drives.

Join us.
This committee meets as needed. For more information, contact Meridith Levy at (617) 776-5931, ext. 242.


Other Ways to Get Involved

Leadership Development Institute

SCC offers the Leadership Development Institute to:

  • Enhance the relationships among SCC leaders
  • Strengthen the affiliation of SCC leaders to the organization
  • Develop the skills of our emerging leaders

For more information on Leadership Development Institute, contact Rene Mardones at 617-776-5931 x226.


Save Our Homes Walk

SCC collaborates with the Somerville Homeless Coalition, the Community Action Agency of Somerville and Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services to host the annual Save Our Homes Walk, which raises both awareness and critically needed funds to prevent homelessness.

Somerville is fortunate to have a wide range of high-quality homelessness prevention and advocacy services. One significant gap, however, is quickly accessible cash grants for emergency situations. Cash payments are needed to assist families who have fallen behind on their rents due to sudden unemployment, domestic violence, disability or other factors. These families would face eviction without access to such grants.

Proceeds from AHOC's Save Our Homes Walk help those at risk of homelessness to secure housing by providing assistance with security deposits, back rent, moving costs and related services. All proceeds raised go directly to assisting families and individuals, allowing them to either remain in their homes or relocate.

We have been able to raise tens of thousands of dollars and provide cash grants to over 100 adults and children living in Somerville, thus helping them avoid the devastation of homelessness. Unfortunately, we continue to see an increase in the numbers of people facing homelessness. As budgets get tighter and jobs become fewer, more and more people are vulnerable to economic insecurity and losing their housing. It is for this reason that we persevere in our efforts to raise money to support our fellow community members.

The Save Our Homes Walk covers 3.1 miles and begins and ends at the Somerville High School. The route highlights several landmarks that relate to affordable housing in Somerville. Back-up transportation is available for walkers who are unable to complete the full route.

The walk is held in April every year and there are three ways you can participate:

  1. Walk. Download a pledge form and ask your family, friends, acquaintances and coworkers to sponsor you.
  2. Organize a team of walkers. Encourage family, friends, acquaintances and coworkers to walk with you.
  3. Help to organize the event. A committee of dedicated and active community members meets for several months in advance of the walk to plan and coordinate it. To participate, contact Shannon Erb at 617-776-5931 x238


Each year SCC awards a total of $1,000 in scholarships to our members. SCC members are eligible for scholarships that can be used towards the pursuit of higher education, to fund a course or series of courses, to develop leadership skills or to purchase tools or materials which would allow the applicant to improve his or her education, employability or leadership capacity. Applications are accepted in the Spring.