Monday, July 22, 2024

I wish I could say that the Cambridge Development Department’s inclusionary housing program has made changes in the past year (“Inclusionary housing rent calculations are unfair,” July 29, 2022). If they have, I haven’t seen it.

My husband and I have been renting in Cambridge for nearly a decade, but remain flabbergasted by the inconsistencies that plague our yearly recertifications.

During our initial application period and before Covid, we were able to submit documentation in the first quarter of the year. Since our lease expired in midsummer, this provided ample time for discussion and housing choice. If we could not afford the new rate, we had a few months to search.

This year, we were told that our paperwork was submitted “too early” to be processed.

If CDD used the same rent calculation process as the Cambridge Housing Authority, our prior year taxes would be used. But it chooses a snapshot of income and extrapolates from that point. For seasonal workers whose paychecks vary throughout the year, this can have devastating consequences. As we now stand, our lease has expired and we are at the mercy of an arbitrary period.

It would be unacceptable for any private management company to withhold the rental fee amount until after an agreement has been reached, so why is it okay for CDD? 

Also, as the debate over affordable housing persists, it is worth noting that the position of senior inclusionary rental housing manager has been vacant since at least the past election cycle. 

Sage Carbone is a resident of Third Street.