Cape Community Housing Partnership Impacts Discussion at Town Meetings

Community Development Partnership announces Cape Community Housing Partnership’s Impact On Display at Town Meetings

Annual Town meetings throughout the Lower Cape have seen an number of housing initiatives being brought forth to address the region’s affordable housing crisis.

It is not coincidental that a number of the initiatives being brought forth and supported are being done so by municipal leaders and residents who participated in the CDP Cape Community Housing Partnership – either through the Housing Institute, held for municipal officials or citizens who attended the advocacy trainings. 

The Housing Institute, held last fall, was the educational component of the Cape Community Housing Partnership (CCHP), in which municipal officials and staff participated in a 6 week series of workshops designed to provide them with the tools and skills they needed to tackle the issue of affordable housing. 

This spring, the CCHP held its first ever Housing Advocacy Trainings in which members of the public were coached on the issue and on how to advocate for housing measures during Town meetings.

In addition, in early-April, in advance of Town meetings, the Outer Cape and Lower Cape Municipal Peer Groups, the follow-up to the Institute, met for the first time. Every town was represented with a total of 28 people participating.

These groups met to report on housing initiatives that were coming forward in their town. In preparation for these meetings, each group reviewed town meeting articles and discussed where there was overlap.  “This is a great opportunity for towns who have had more success moving forward to share how they have been so successful,” remarks Andrea Aldana, the CDP’s Director of Housing Advocacy.

One thing seems clear, the CCHP has galvanized both municipal leaders and citizens who have brought the issue of affordable housing to Town Meetings.

“I was overwhelmed by the number of housing initiatives that are being considered during Annual Town Meetings across the Lower Cape this spring,” said Jay Coburn, CEO of the CDP.  “Orleans’ voters are being asked to dedicate 1% of their budget for housing and the Towns of Chatham, Harwich and Orleans are all considering funding for a Housing Consultants.  It is clear to me that our fall Housing Institute had helped to move the affordable housing issue front and center.”

The impact is real – in Truro, residents voted to put $250,000 into their Affordable Housing Trust and voted to allow condos in Truro to be occupied year round. Wellfleet voted to use $100,000 of its CPC funds to help build a 65 unit rental housing development in Eastham.  Orleans voters will consider funding for the Eastham project at their May 7th Annual Town Meeting. Wellfleet voters approved a workforce housing initiative that offers forgivable loans to First Time Homebuyers and appropriated over $500,000 in Community Preservation Funds for housing. Other towns are looking to fund a housing coordinator or consultant and create or strengthen Affordable Housing Trusts.

ABOUT THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP

The Community Development Partnership supports an array of programs that strengthen our Lower Cape community, providing greater opportunities for all who live here to thrive.

Our work starts with creating affordable homes—so essential to a healthy economy, but a real challenge in communities like ours where seasonal and vacation dynamics drive the market beyond the reach of many who live and work locally all year round.

We also work to launch entrepreneurs and strengthen local businesses. We believe a vibrant future depends on sustaining traditional industries and inspiring new ones—especially when they’re based on renewable natural resources such as fishing, farming, art and hospitality.

In all that we do, we aim to protect the natural environment around us—preserving the character and sustaining the future of this special place we call home.

To find out more information about this organization, go to www.capecdp.org