Overview & History

  • SCC Overview & History
  • Mission
  • Intended Impact 
  • History & Evolution
  • Accomplishments
  • Timeline

SCC OVERVIEW AND HISTORY

Since 1969, Somerville Community Corporation has served the City of Somerville and its residents. SCC focuses the majority of its resources on the central question of sustaining affordability and livability for the lower income two thirds of the population, the recent immigrants and generational descendants of the earlier immigrants. As a membership-based organization with nearly 400 formal members and 1500 constituents, SCC is a community development corporation strongly rooted in grassroots community organizing practice, resulting in a number of successful campaigns over the years to influence affordable housing policy and neighborhood quality of life improvements. Since 2005, SCC has also built a strong practice of participatory community planning originally with our East Somerville Initiative, concentrated in that neighborhood and later the Community Corridor Planning project along the pathway of the anticipated MBTA Green Line Extension.

While SCC aims to benefit the entire community through its community development model, its most important work is directly with the segment of the community most at risk to address critical issues of equity in the face of the tremendous transformation facing the City—and region—today. SCC board and staff members, as well as SCC’s overall membership, has vigilantly concentrated its work to counteract market-driven displacement pressures.  

We envision:

  • …a Somerville of the future that offers secure housing, economic stability and opportunities for leadership and active engagement in community life to families and individuals from many different backgrounds and cultures. 
  • …a Somerville where the benefits of growth and development are shared, and where people of limited means are not threatened by the increased cost of living or the inability to find a nearby job.
  • …a Somerville where the planned expansion of the MBTA Green Line offers great opportunity and potential of jobs for Somerville residents as new development comes to our community.
  • …a Somerville where community change is embraced in a way that directly brings the benefits of change to those who may be at risk of losing their homes or their jobs in Somerville, given their economic circumstances, their education, or their lack of familiarity with the local economy.
  • …a Somerville where Somerville residents, particularly those of limited means and those who have recently come from other countries and cultures, are included in the process of planning for and being involved in a future Somerville in which quality of life is improved and equitable access to secure housing and economic opportunities are increased.  

MISSION

Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) is a membership organization that provides leadership for sustaining the City of Somerville as a vibrant, diverse and tolerant community. We offer services and lead community organizing that supports low- and moderate-income Somerville residents in their efforts to achieve economic sustainability and increase civic participation.

INTENDED IMPACT

SCC has determined that preserving and enhancing the remaining economic, racial, and ethnic diversity of our population is the overarching priority that drives our work today. This decision was made after witnessing the substantial displacement of low-income and working families from the western half of Somerville since the 1980s.

SCC has adopted a three-pronged approach to creating and preserving diversity and housing affordability in Somerville:

  • Develop and preserve as many affordable units as we can, thereby taking those units off the speculative real estate market.
  • Organize the community to promote policies (such as inclusionary housing, linkage, and the preservation of expiring use housing) that enhance the regulatory and funding environment for affordable housing.
  • Create access to opportunities for our constituents through financial education, counseling and asset-building programs in an effort to help families and individuals "compete" for housing in Somerville.

We are currently in the process of completing our next three-year strategic plan for 2014-2017 and will share details and new priorities as soon as it is approved!

HISTORY AND EVOLUTION

SCC was founded in 1969 as a multi-service center assisting low-income Somerville residents. We began Somerville's first soup kitchen, Project Soup, and operated it for 25 years before turning over operations to the Somerville Homeless Coalition. We also provided advocacy services to our constituencies to address and prevent housing emergencies.

Today, SCC is a $1.5 million community development corporation that works in affordable housing development, community organizing, asset building and school- and community-based mediation.

Over time, SCC has built a growing constituency and active membership base, dedicated to making positive change in Somerville. Our board of directors is composed of a diverse group of 19 active members.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

SCC has completed more than 21 affordable housing projects, resulting in over 200 ownership and rental units in Somerville. We recently completed redevelopment of the former Saint Polycarp Parish property, our largest and most complex development project to date, providing a total of 72 green affordable homes in East Somerville, and are looking forward to beginning construction on the former Boys and Girls Club  building at 181 Washington Street in Union Square. Through our Affordable Housing Organizing Committee (AHOC), we have won victories such as increasing the housing linkage fee to generate more funds for affordable housing development and support and our Jobs for Somerville committee is soon to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to ensure local jobs for Somerville residents as the MBTA Green Line Extension gets built!

We have assisted hundreds of adults and young people in gaining security through our housing counseling, emergency assistance and referral programs, as well as our award-winning school-based mediation programs.

COMING SOON: Timeline of SCC Accomplishments

See also: English