About OSPCD - Housing

The Housing Division ensures that Somerville remains an affordable, sustainable, and livable community. We do this by obtaining and managing funds for affordable housing developments. We also work to improve the quality of housing in the City–not just the quantity–to ensure that all Somerville residents are safe and content.

We offer a number of programs and services designed to improve housing in the City. Some of our duties include funding new housing developments, administering lead hazard abatement and homeowner rehabilitation programs, and offering support to other housing-related programs in the City. We also offer resources for housing needs, like landlord-tenant mediation and foreclosure prevention. Use the links below to find more information about our partners, programs, and services.

For answers to some of the most common questions we get, visit the Housing FAQ.

  • Our Programs

  • Help for Landlords and Tenants

  • Resources for Non-Profits & Developers

  • Additional Resource, Plans, and Reports

  • Frequently Asked Questions

Many of our programs are geared towards helping homeowners who are looking for affordable opportunities. These include:

To see if you’re eligible for our housing programs, check out the program income limits spreadsheet.  

Opportunities for Renters and Buyers

We have an array of programs and resources for renters and first-time homebuyers, too! Some of these opportunities include:

  • Down payment assistance
  • First-time homebuyer classes
  • Tenant rent stabilization
  • Fuel assistance and weatherization,
  • And more.

Learn more about our programs for renters and first-time buyers here.

Homelessness Prevention

This guide is an extensive list of resources for homeless people and those who are at risk for becoming homeless. You’ll find contact information for local shelters, transitional housing, food services, emergency funding, and more. You can read the guide here. If you need additional help, including help finding an emergency shelter, call us at (617) 625-6600 ext. 2577.

The following resources are designed to help landlords and tenants understand their rights:

For more help with landlord/tenant rights, mediation, and Fair Housing laws, contact us at (617) 625-6600 ext. 2577.

Condominium Review Board

The Condo Review Board oversees and enforces condo conversion laws in the City. They aim to protect tenants who live in rentals that are being converted to condos or removed from the market. The Housing Division works with the Board to manage applications and documentation for conversions. They also conduct public hearings each month. To learn more about the condo conversion review process, click here.

HOME Layering Guideline

The City can use HOME funds to help developers create affordable housing. However, the project must fall within certain financial guidelines to receive funding. You can learn more about HOME funds and program guidelines here.

Energy Efficiency Mortgage Guide

Energy efficient mortgages allow you to borrow more money to help pay for upgrades to new or existing homes. They’re rolled into your main mortgage so that you don’t have to make more than one payment per month. You can learn more about “Green Mortgages” here.

Planning and Zoning Resources:

Does the Housing Division teach first-time homebuyer training classes? 

No, the Housing Division of the City of Somerville does not teach first-time homebuyer training classes. Visit the Citizens Housing and Planning Association’s website to view all area first time homebuyer training classes, in addition to other classes they offer. The Somerville Community Corporation also teaches a first-time homebuyer class. Please go to their website for more information. 

Does the Housing Division of the City of Somerville handle Section 8 Vouchers and Public Housing? 

No, the Somerville Housing Authority handles those programs, and you can reach them at 617- 625-1152 or view their website here. 

Does the City of Somerville have affordable homeownership and rental opportunities? 

Yes. If you are interested in receiving notices for when we have available opportunities, please contact kdonato@somervillema.gov or call 617-625-6600 x2577 to be added to the listserv. Once you are on the listserv, you will receive a notice for any affordable rental or homeownership opportunities as they become available. Please note the opportunities are available via a lottery process and income eligibility restrictions apply. We currently do not maintain one centralized wait list, unlike the Somerville Housing Authority. Therefore, you must apply for each opportunity you are interested in. 

Who can I call for help with an affordable housing search? 

For housing search help, you can contact the Community Action Agency of Somerville at 617-623-7370 or visit their website here here. You can also contact the Somerville Homeless Coalition at 617- 623-6111 or visit their website here. 

I believe I was discriminated against in my search for housing. Who can I contact for help? 

Here is a list of resources you can contact for help: 

Who can I call for help stabilizing my rental situation? 

The Somerville Homeless Coalition, in conjunction with some assistance from the City and the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, has two programs. The PASS Program assists with a temporary (up to 2 years) housing subsidy and provides case management. The Rapid Response Program offers case management support for those in crisis and provides financial assistance with back rent, start-up costs, and utility payments. Please contact the Somerville Homeless Coalition at 617- 623-6111 or go to their website for more information and eligibility details. 

I am having trouble with my landlord/tenant, who can I call for help? 

You can contact the Somerville Mediation Program at 617-625-6600 x6146. You can also contact the Just a Start Mediation for Results Program at 617-918-7518 or visit their website

In addition, please view the landlord/tenant handbook helper here. You can also view the Attorney General's Guide to Landlord/Tenant Rights.

How can I receive alerts when affordable rental or homeownership units become available? 

Anyone interested in getting on the Inclusionary Housing Listserv can sign up with an email or an address here

Who should I contact if I am a homeowner looking to take advantage of the home rehabilitation program? 

Any homeowner interested in the Home Rehabilitation program can contact Ken Joyce at kjoyce@somervillema.gov or 617-625-6600 x2569.

What is the Massachusetts lead law? 

  • The law requires deleading or interim control of lead hazards in homes built before 1978 where children under six live. Owners are responsible for compliance and financing. This includes rental properties. Please visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website for more information. 

How often should my child be tested for lead, and where? 

  • Children residing in Somerville should be tested through age four. Parents or guardians may contact the following organizations for additional testing information and resources: 
  • Boston Children’s Hospital Pediatric Environmental Health Center 
  • Cambridge Health Alliance 
  • CAAS (Community Action Agency of Somerville) 
  • WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program 

My income disqualifies me for the Somerville Lead Hazard Control program. What other resources are available to me? 

I am going through the Housing Rehab program. Does my home need to be inspected for lead if it was built after 1978? 

  • No, only homes built prior to 1978.