Fenway CDC Is ‘Hopeful’ As It Looks Towards the Future

The Fenway Community Development Corporation (CDC) held its annual ball at the Prudential Skywalk on June 20. Community members, supporters, and board members mingled before a presentation and live auction, followed by dinner, dessert, and dancing.

Fenway CDC Executive Director Leah Camhi provided updates to the community about what the organization has accomplished over the past year, and what it looks forward to in the future.

“Last year, I noted the despair that many of us felt with the condition of the country and our growing economic inequality,” Camhi said. “This year, I feel so much more hopeful, and let me tell you why.”

Camhi said that next year’s national election has given her hope, as “we have big ideas that are being sort of transformed into even bigger actions,” and for the first time in many years, the CDC’s housing priorities are those of the city as well. “Everywhere I turn, I see affordable housing front and center on our shared agendas,” she said. The creativity and the inspiration, including by many of you here in this room tonight, is propelling Boston forward.”

The CDC acquired the Newcastle-Saranac property, at which they were able to preserve 97 affordable units. Camhi said that the significance of this preservation did not really occur to her until the first resident meeting a few months ago when she and other CDC members got to speak to the residents of the building and realized “that we are just the stewards for them and for future generations,” she said.

“Our job simply is to improve and to maintain their homes and introduce them to services and support  that we offer throughout the Fenway and now beyond the Fenway.”

Because of that mission, Camhi announced that the Fenway CDC is rolling out a new program, one-on-one financial counseling that includes credit-building resources, “because we know that one size doesn’t fit all,” she said. She said they will also offer a family self-sufficiency program to help people get ahead of their finances.

“This is just one of many new strategies, new initiatives, that we’ve launched in conjunction with our strategic plan,” Camhi said. “Our hardworking staff and board spent 10, 11 months setting goals, priorities, and objectives for the next five years.”

From those discussions, the board came up with a new mission statement for the Fenway CDC, which Camhi read aloud as a wrap-up to her speech: “Fenway CDC works to preserve the Fenway as a vibrant and diverse neighborhood by developing affordable housing, providing programs that enrich lives, and strengthening community voices.”

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