Photo: Rebecca Winterich-Knox, Ann-Mara Lanza, Shelly Goehring, Eric Shupin, Amy Dain (Credit: Joan Savitt)
On January 30, 2020, the LWVW hosted a panel discussion "No Place Like Home. Affordable, Attainable, and Sustainable Housing: In Our Town?” The Wakelin Room at the Wellesley Free Library was SRO, with over 130 residents in attendance. Our four panelists shared their expertise. We learned that Massachusetts is facing a housing crisis. In the 1980s, there was a sharp decrease in housing production. This has led to a severe shortage of housing in the State, along with a dramatic increase in housing costs. It will not be possible to address this shortage without changes in zoning across the region. Closer to home, Wellesley has seen a decrease in the number of residents in their 20s and 30s which correlates to the drop in student enrollment in the Wellesley schools. There is also a lack of housing options for downsizing boomers and Wellesley’s workforce. Producing a diversity of housing options is the key for a strong future because it allows for residents at all stages of their lives. Our last panelist explained the connection between sustainable building and affordable housing - net zero buildings keep ongoing housing costs lower for residents, while preserving our environmental resources. After the panelists, we engaged in a lively Q & A. We plan to follow up with additional programming on housing, based on feedback from attendees. Many thanks to Ann-Mara Lanza for organizing this program!
Eric Shupin joined CHAPA (Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association) in 2013, and became the Director of Public Policy in 2016. He is responsible for directing CHAPA’s state policy advocacy agenda. Prior to coming to CHAPA, Eric was a student-attorney at legal clinics in Washington, DC, where he represented clients in Housing Court. Eric has worked with many housing and community development nonprofit organizations while serving for two years as an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps member and team leader. Eric has a B.A. and J.D. from The George Washington University and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar. Eric's presentation is here.
Amy Dain is a consultant in public policy research. She recently wrote a report called the State of Zoning for Multi-Family Housing in Greater Boston, and she has been touring Greater Boston presenting the findings. She has worked for a number of think tanks in Massachusetts, and she has her Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School. Amy's presentation is here.
Shelly Goehring works with communities and non-profits across the state to support affordable housing initiatives and development. She is a senior program manager at Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP), a public non-profit that supports and finances affordable housing. Before joining MHP, Shelly was the Community Preservation Program Manager at the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA), where she worked with a range of communities in the Rt. 495 belt on using their CPA funds for housing. Previously, Shelly was the founding executive director at Four Corners Main Street, a small non-profit focused on commercial revitalization and small business development. She has earned a few degrees, most recently an MBA from Babson College. Shelly's presentation is here.
Rebecca Winterich-Knox is the Net Zero Organizer with the Massachusetts Climate Action Network. Rebecca’s passion for social justice and grassroots organizing stems from her involvement with community service while a student at Wellesley College. She is the point person for MCAN's Better Buildings Campaign, an initiative to support healthy, equitable, and Net Zero construction in MA and beyond. Rebecca's presentation is here.