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Cambridge City 2019 Budget Focuses on Affordable Housing

The Cambridge City Hall.
The Cambridge City Hall. By Margaret F. Ross
By Patricia J. Liu, Crimson Staff Writer

UPDATED: April 24, 2018 at 8:15 p.m.

The Cambridge City Manager released the city’s budget for fiscal year 2019 at a meeting Monday.

The city of Cambridge's budget for fiscal year 2019—released Monday—focuses on a wide range of issues facing Cambridge residents, including affordable housing and transportation improvements.

The city also plans to address problems facing early childhood development, education, and public safety. City Manager Louis A. DePasquale released the budget at a meeting of the City Council Monday.

“Cambridge is about helping people who need help, and I think if you look at this budget, it really exemplifies that,” DePasquale said at the meeting.

One of the budget’s main goals is to increase the range of housing available for residents regardless of socioeconomic status. Since 2002 and through the last fiscal year, Cambridge allocated more than $147 million towards affordable housing measures. This fiscal year, the city plans to increase funding by $650,000.

The city will also create a new executive position, the housing ombudsman, to help guide affordable housing initiatives.Though the exact details are still being determined, the job will entail bridging various city departments to address housing problems.

“One of the things we really want to do is to have someone who can really just try to help facilitate the challenges that people are facing,” DePasquale said. “They will work with us to really let us know what’s happening, where we need to go.”

The budget also specifies an additional $1.1 million for early childhood initiatives like the Birth to Third Grade Partnership—which strives to increase access to quality preschool education and was developed from the 2015 Early Childhood Task Force Report.

“The Task Force recognized that it would be a multi-year ongoing effort to build an effective early childhood system that would improve the outcomes for Cambridge’s children,” then-City Manager Richard C. Rossi said.

With the new fiscal year 2019 budget, the number of children that wouldn’t otherwise have the resources for preschool education is expected to double.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction and clarification:

CORRECTION: April 24, 2018

A previous version of this article incorrectly indicated that Cambridge allocated more than $147 million to affordable housing measures in fiscal year 2017. In fact, Cambridge allocated that amount toward affordable housing measures starting in 2002 and up through fiscal year 2017.

CLARIFICATION: April 24, 2018

A previous version of this article indicated the Cambridge City Council released the city's budget for fiscal year 2018. To clarify, City Manager Louis A. DePasquale released the budget at a meeting of the Council Monday.

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