In 2016, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation (CSNDC) celebrated its 35th year serving Codman Square and South Dorchester. CSNDC is an organization concerned with place in terms of physical development, but in the face of growing concerns about gentrification and displacement, is also concerned with social, economic, political and racial equity. Through the strategic thinking leading up to the development of its 2016-2019 strategic plan, CSNDC has attempted to develop cohesive strategies to respond to the economic and social context of this time.
Mission Statement: We build a cohesive and resilient community in Codman Square and South Dorchester, develop affordable housing and commercial spaces that are safe and sustainable, and promote economic stability for low and moderate income residents of all ages.
CSNDC has developed over 1,400 units of affordable housing in its 36 year history and successfully worked to prevent the foreclosure of more than 500 housing units in the past 7 years. CSNDC is an experienced provider of financial literacy and financial capability programming providing stable, affordable housing to over 2,000 residents and graduating 225 residents from its financial skills program annually, in an effort to help achieve self-sufficiency.
Through CSNDC’s Fairmount/Indigo CDC Collaborative work, with Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation and South West Boston Community Development Corporation and many allies, CSNDC has secured over $200M from the state to construct 3 new stations on the Fairmount/Indigo commuter rail line, including two new stops in Codman Square NDC’s service area, fare reductions to $2.25/ride, and new weekend service. The organization is attracting new businesses and jobs through 10,000-15,000 square feet of new commercial space completed or in pre-development phases. New transit-oriented mixed-use development is creating 225+ affordable, energy efficient housing units in the next 3-4 years for over thousands in walking distance to stations.
A major concern of CSNDC has been the issue of potential wide-scale displacement of existing low and moderate income residents in CSNDC’s service area. In response to the housing market pressures and escalating housing prices in Codman Square and in the Fairmount Corridor, CSNDC has taken leadership on a comprehensive anti-displacement strategy. CSNDC launched the Keeping Codman Affordable campaign with the support of Millennium Ten (M10) Initiative planning funds in 2013. The campaign seeks to inform and understand resident concerns around housing stability and neighborhood change and counter displacement concerns arising from gentrification trends. Our homeownership preservation effort targets 30% of homeowners in Codman Square who occupy the property they own, providing information and education about the value of their home and how to leverage it for their and future generations’ economic well-being. Initial services include estate planning assistance and options for staying in place rather than “cashing in” as prices rise. CSNDC is also seeing success in our campaign to protect tenants from evictions due to unreasonable rent increases by working to pass the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in November 2016, and by working with the Right to Remain coalition to pass a Boston Just Cause Eviction Ordinance. With the CPA victory, CSNDC is now refocused on the Just Cause Eviction legislation. From 2015-2016 CSNDC, with partners, helped secure support from a majority of the City Councilors, collecting 300 signatures as part of a citywide petition drive, helping organize an Anti-Displacement Community Assembly in 2015 with 200 community residents, and meeting with over half of the City Councilors. A core group of engaged residents is now part of our Keeping Codman Affordable campaign. Advocating for racial and economic equity and collaborating with Boston City’s Resiliency Officer to ensure equitable outcomes for marginalized communities in Boston like Codman Square is a primary motivation of this new strategic plan.
Codman Square NDC has been a leader in building green infrastructure and implementing green, sustainable, and environmentally friendly initiatives, especially in the past 4 years. Our work helped to launch Boston’s first neighborhood Eco-Innovation District (EID) in the Talbot Norfolk Triangle neighborhood of our service area. EID work is increasing the number of energy efficient homes, improving indoor air quality, as well as lowering energy costs for many residents in Codman Square, while working to improve the green infrastructure in our community, via environmentally sustainable design within our affordable housing, as well as within the public infrastructure. In 2014, Mayor Marty Walsh recognized Codman Square NDC’s sustainability work with the Greenovate Boston Award.
CSNDC’s Millennium Ten Plan (M10), adopted in 2013, combined grassroots, resident-driven community planning and visioning; creation of green and sustainable infrastructure; transit oriented development; and grassroots community organizing to foster the economic and social progress of the Codman Square and South Dorchester neighborhoods. Furthermore, the intersection of community development and community health emerged as a new focus for CSNDC with much potential for support and growth.
2016was a year of capacity building, partnership building, and strategic positioning for M10. M10 focused on the 7 major projects that the 1,000 community stakeholders who developed the Mill Ten Plan viewed as responsive to the emerging needs of the community. These 7 Big Ideas include the Men of Color/Men of Action (MOC/MOA) Initiative, Financial Opportunity Network (FON), Youth Jobs Hub, Community Café, the Business Cooperative, the Eco-Innovation-District (EID), and Anti-Displacement.
CSNDC serves as the lead agency for the Mill Ten initiative and directly supports the Mill Ten Coordinator and the Eco-Innovation District Director. CSNDC has also taken the lead on development and implementation of the Men of Color Initiative, as well as the Washington Street Business Cooperative and the Millennium Ten Initiative.