Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) seeks a Tenant Outreach, Education, and Organizing Specialist to join our staff. SCC is a 50 year old nonprofit Community Development Corporation (CDC) and the only CDC in Somerville (MA). SCC’s primary mission is to work with the community to identify and develop strategies to build economic and housing stability and strength to ensure that people of all incomes can continue to live and thrive in Somerville. To this end, SCC has built or acquired over 400 units of housing to establish permanent affordability. Through its Economic Opportunity programming, SCC works with over 500 people per year through First Time Homebuyer programs; financial literacy classes; and the First Source Jobs program that moves job seekers into promising career paths; with the outcome of building economic strength and self-sufficiency. Finally, for the past 18 years, SCC has played a leadership role in the community to manage organizing campaigns that have resulted in key policy victories, such as passage of the Community Preservation Act; increase of Inclusionary Zoning; increase of Housing Linkage Fee as well as establishment of Jobs Linkage Fee; and SCC’s work with Union United to steward the organizing around establishing a Community Benefits Agreement with US2 in Union Square. SCC has also led numerous community planning processes that follow organizing models of engaging a broad base of community members to identify goals and plans to address social and economic justice issues.
Over the years, SCC’s organizing team has worked with tenants from various buildings, either to help them form tenant associations, and/or to help them work with their landlords to extend their terms of tenancy or insure their rental rights. This includes extensive outreach, education, and strategic planning with the tenants.
Description of Tenant Outreach, Education, and Organizing Specialist Position:
The new Tenant Outreach, Education, and Organizing Specialist will work closely with SCC’s lead organizer, and in partnership with the City’s Office of Housing Stability to develop the work plan for providing outreach, education, and/or organizing services in support of targeted tenants in Somerville. SCC will also invite interns to participate in this work along with the tenant organizer. SCC will work closely with OHS to coordinate our agenda, identify tenants in buildings that would benefit from this work (such as Expiring Use buildings, or buildings where tenants are at risk of eviction), and to identify training opportunities for tenants.
The Tenant Outreach, Education, and Organizing Specialist will invest in building relationships with tenants, holding meetings at particular buildings, developing leadership skills, establishing tenant associations, and providing education on tenants’ rights and strategies for preventing their eviction. SCC will provide training, workshops, and ongoing assistance to help tenants shape targeted campaigns resulting in housing stability. The Tenant Outreach, Education, and Organizing Specialist will have opportunities to work with regional tenants’ rights organizations, including City Live/Vida Urbana, to provide expertise, support and training. With the Affordable Housing Organizing Committee (AHOC), an organizing committee of SCC, tenants will also be invited to join other community members to address systemic and structural problems that leave so many without affordable options. For example, we hope that tenants who develop their leadership skills through tenant outreach, education, and organizing work may then join efforts to fight for broader policies, such as Right of First Refusal/Right to Purchase at the state level. We will also engage AHOC members to support the tenants in their individual campaigns within their buildings.
Finally, SCC promotes finding synergies between our programs, and with other organizations as a way to address the holistic needs of people we work with. To this end, we will encourage the tenants we meet through this endeavor to take part in other programming, such as financial literacy, and our First Source Jobs program as a way to further strengthen their economic stability.
Primary Responsibilities Include:
Development and dissemination of appropriate information about tenants' rights and recourse when they face displacement or threats to the stability of their housing .
Community presentations targeting at-risk segments of the renting population, especially including low income families and individuals, and immigrants and other limited-English-speaking tenants.
Affirmative research and outreach to identify multi-family buildings that are for sale or at imminent risk of being sold or converted to condominiums, or where plans are being made for substantial renovations which are likely to displace low- or moderate-income tenants.
Supporting efforts to engage the tenants of expiring use buildings in the negotiations to retain and extend building affordability guarantees.
Organizing assistance and technical support for tenants facing displacement from multi-family buildings targeted for renovation and luxury re-tenanting, emptying and sale, or condominium conversion.
Work collaboratively with the Somerville Office of Housing Stability .
Our Ideal Candidate
• Can comfortably manage multiple tasks and projects independently.
• Has at least 2 years of experience doing community outreach and/or organizing
• Demonstrates strong interpersonal skills and commitment to a relational approach to building and reinforcing partnerships
• Has strong oral and written English communication skills.
• Computer literate in social media, Microsoft Office suite, and standard data base systems (Salesforce a plus).
• Experienced working with people of diverse social and economic backgrounds
• Comfortable working with a range of people in a community based nonprofit environment.
•BA preferred, experience can be substituted for education.
•Proficient in Spanish, Portuguese or Haitian Kreyol strongly desired
We seek candidates who embrace our mission, and bring a sense of humor and passion to their work. We offer a competitive salary and benefits package.
The Selection Process
Please submit a cover letter, detailing your qualifications for this position, along with a resume to: Rmardones@somervillecdc.org.
Applications will be reviewed and acknowledged as they are received. This position will be filled as soon as the appropriate candidate is selected. For more information, see our website at www.somervillecdc.org.
Somerville Community Corporation is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. We encourage applications from candidates from diverse backgrounds and cultures.