Quality of Life - Denise Simmons

Quality of Life

Addressing Poverty and Other Needs: Denise has continually looked for ways to make sure that the city does right by the less fortunate among us. Among her many innovations as mayor was the establishment of a monthly Interfaith Community Leadership Breakfast. These regular gatherings have enabled those on the front lines of providing social services to get to know one another, to become familiar with the large web of services offered in and around Cambridge, and to form strategic alliances. The meetings have been quite informative, and the clergy members have expressed amazement that no one had thought to establish something like this earlier.

These meetings continued via Zoom, in the Covid-19 era, and have been a useful method of ensuring that the City leadership, the City Manager's Office, and our public health officers have had direct line of communication with those who work closely with large swaths of the city's population. 

Affordable Housing: Denise’s commitment to affordable housing has been unwavering throughout her time on the City Council. Throughout her time in office, the majority of people who have come to Denise's office seeking help have been those experiencing a housing crisis, and she was able to provide assistance to countless numbers of people via personal advocacy, providing useful information on how to access housing, and through creating policies that will increase the amount of affordable housing built in Cambridge. At her urging, the City Council recommended a change in the affordable housing program to require more 3-bedroom units in order to accommodate larger families. Denise is currently working to have the City review its eligibility formulas, in order to assist more Cambridge residents - or those who were recently displaced - secure an affordable unit. Denise and her staff have served as an intermediary for many individuals dealing with the local affordable housing providers, and they have served as advocates for those experiencing difficulties navigating the application process for the different housing agencies. Often times, this has proven to be the critical extra push towards securing housing.