Cambridge Housing Authority Strengthens Partnership with The Home for Little Wanderers, Securing Somerville Village Property

Date Published: 
November 14th, 2023

From the Cambridge Housing Authority's press release:

The Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) is delighted to announce the fortification of its collaboration with The Home for Little Wanderers (The Home) through the acquisition of The Home’s Somerville Village property in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Somerville Village, an establishment under The Home, provides a nurturing environment for 15 young women transitioning out of the foster care system, aspiring to pursue higher education or vocational training. Offering support and guidance, Somerville Village empowers these women to pursue their aspirations and define their own paths.

Janice, one of the beneficiaries of Somerville Village, shared her transformative experience:

“I came to Somerville Village at age 18 with nothing—literally nothing. Growing up, I struggled through neglect and abuse. My parents told me I’m useless, that I wouldn’t amount to anything. My mom told me I could never go to college on my own. I cut ties with my family in my senior year because I had to pursue school. I took the risk. The staff at Somerville Village told me that I can achieve my own success. That I am the director of my own story. My first spring at Somerville Village, I finished high school with high honors and was awarded a scholarship to a private university. The Home for Little Wanderers gave me the opportunity to get my bachelor's degree."

Janice’s top grades have her on track to graduate with dual degrees in business and marketing.

The acquisition of the property by CHA ensures the continuity of this vital program in its current location. Without this strategic acquisition, the financial feasibility of the program could have been at risk, had a non-mission-oriented entity purchased the property. This acquisition marks a significant addition to CHA's portfolio, which comprises over 7,500 units across various programs.

For CHA Executive Director Michael J. Johnston, the move made sense personally and professionally.

“Our relationship with the Home for Little Wanderers started soon after one of our Commissioners heard an appeal by a young man that had aged out of foster care and was homeless,” he said. “That Commissioner suggested that the CHA find and partner with an organization that supported this vulnerable population."

“We reached out to The Home for Little Wanderers and joined forces using our Sponsor Based Vouchers and have never looked back,” continued Johnston. “As an agency, we are proud to be able to support two of their communities, and on a personal level, my wife’s brother spent time in their programs many years ago, making the collaboration very special for me."

Established in 1799, The Home for Little Wanderers is the oldest child welfare agency in the United States, dedicated to shaping better futures for children and young adults in their care, believing that no child should face life's challenges alone. You can learn more about The Home for Little Wanderers at The Home's website.

Somerville Village exemplifies the crucial role of supportive housing in addressing the community's needs. Among the 46 communities managed or owned by CHA, seven offer tailored supportive services that foster housing stability, crucial for residents to realize their potential.

The CHA extends its gratitude to the individuals and organizations involved in the successful acquisition:

  • The Home for Little Wanderers: Matt McCall, Courtney Brown, and John Davis.
  • Jon Ash of Lawson & Weitzen.
  • Madeline Nash, Veronica Pelletier of CEDAC.
  • Kimberly Martin-Epstein of Hackett-Fineberg.
  • Lynne Stewart, Steve Nolan of Nolan Sheehan Patten.
  • Felicia Jacques of Maloney Properties.
  • Jeff Sacks of Nixon-Peabody.
  • CHA members: Andrew Kerivan, Shayla Simmons, Sue Nohl, Margaret Donnelly-Moran, and Devin Chausse.

Special thanks are extended to:

  • Sue Cohen of the CHA, for her remarkable contribution and dedication over 35 years, ensuring residents' comfort and housing security. Her tireless efforts in policy advocacy have positively impacted public housing nationwide.
  • Diana Kelly of FOCUS and Maloney Properties, for her compassionate work benefiting residents across the Greater Boston area. Her commitment to supporting residents and understanding their needs has been invaluable. The CHA is dedicated to continuing the vital work at Somerville Village and wishes Diana a fulfilling retirement.

For further information about The Home for Little Wanderers and Somerville Village, visit The Home's website | Somerville Village's page.

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