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City's Second Housing Convention Will Ask Lower Cambridge Rents

By William R. Galeota

The Cambridge Housing Convention, which in September blasted Harvard and Harvard students for contributing to the City's lack of low-rent housing, will hold its second session on Dec. 14.

Daniel F. Connelly, the chairman of the convention's coordinating committee, said the second meeting "is going to help keep the pressure on for real commitment from the groups who are responsible for this [housing] situation and morally obligated to contribute to a solution."

At the convention's first session on Sept. 14, about 800 Cambridge residents passed scores of resolutions, many of them sharply-worded, calling for action by the universities and the City government to increase the supply of low-rent housing in Cambridge. Since then the co-ordinating committee appointed to carry on the convention's business has held over 40 meetings to work on the housing problem with Harvard and M.I.T. officials, the City Council, and other Cambridge organizations.

Open Meeting

A spokesman for the convention said yesterday that the second session would have "a more program-oriented approach than the first convention," explaining that the coordinating committee will report on the progress of its negotiations, and probably suggest some specific programs as goals for the convention, he said. The meeting, which is open to all those interested in the housing problem, will probably be held in a hall at St. Mary's Church.

"We've really made some solid pro- gress towards solving this [housing] problem, although we have no solid commitments yet," Connelley said.

At the coordinating committee's request the City Council has passed a number of resolutions giving top priority to construction of low-rent housing by City agencies. It also has set up a special citizens committee--half of whose members are chosen by the housing convention, and half by the City Manager--to draw up a legislative program to control housing speculation in Cambridge.

In its meetings, the coordinating committee has also asked the

* Cambridge Housing Authority to build more low-rent housing units and to speed up the implementation of the leased housing program--a plan whereby the Federal government pays the difference between the rent on a private apartment and the amount a low-income occupant is able to pay.

* Cambridge Redevelopment Authority to stop construction of 800 units of luxury apartments in Kendall Square and to use the site for low-rent apartments instead.

* Universities to build more housing for students, to encourage students to live outside Cambridge and to spend their money to help build low-income housing in the City

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