July – So much to look forward to!

Dear Friends,

I hope the summer has found you well so far. It has been such a pleasure to see you in person, and I am excited to connect face-to-face more over the coming months! Although the City Council has just begun summer recess until mid-August, the work to build an equitable post-pandemic economic recovery continues. As we continue the collaborative process of building back our community post-pandemic, hearing your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas are crucial in my work as your City Councilor.

Enjoying the #StrezoforSomerville Garden Party this past Saturday.
Hope to see you at an event soon!

Next Steps in Economic Recovery

Back in April, I introduced a resolution that called on Somerville to declare a Proclamation on the Economic Status of Women. Through this pandemic, women have lost decades worth of progress in the labor force within the span of a year, which means women will also be disproportionately behind in our economic recovery if our policy does not match this reality. We need more accessible child care — especially for early morning and third shifts — to make sure women get back to work. 

Right now, I am exploring the creation of a committee to transform my Women’s Proclamation from April into action steps, and we are currently in the data collection phase. This data collection is essential for us to pinpoint best solutions for working women as we exit the pandemic. Some potential solutions include:

  • Expanding accessible childcare, in the form of out-of-school programs through the public schools and universal pre-K, and pursuing state and federal grants to fund these goals
  • Forming committees to place women in new trade jobs in industries that need support, with emphasis on green jobs or affordable housing maintenance. 
  • Creating mentorship programs to transition women into these trade jobs, ensuring that these positions are filled.

Playground and Park Accessibility: Communication Boards Order

On March 31st, I introduced an Order that the Director of Parks and Recreation appear before the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Community Development to discuss installing playground communication boards in all of our parks to expand park accessibility for children who are nonverbal or who have other communication challenges (Agenda Item 210891). 

On July 7th, the Housing and Community Development committee was informed that 15 communication boards have been ordered and should be delivered within 4 to 6 weeks. I am thrilled that this project is moving along and I want to make sure my constituents are involved in this process. We have yet to determine placement locations for these signs in the park and would love to hear your suggestions. Please share your placement suggestions via email to Ms. Olivera at loliveira@somervillema.gov

A model of the communication boards coming to Somerville parks soon.

A New Cultural Plan for Somerville

It was wonderful to see so many of you at the Somerville Arts Council’s ArtBeat festival this past weekend in Davis Square. To continue on their work, the Somerville Arts Council — along with the City of Somerville — is now launching a Cultural Plan for the community. At this stage, we are seeking input from constituents! 

So thrilled for a chance to see so many of you at the Somerville Arts Council’s ArtBeat festival this past weekend. 

The Somerville Arts Council has launched a survey to clarify constituents’ priorities of the cultural plan and to find out who wants to support Council in the planning process.

Please take the survey below by July 18th. It will only take 5 to 10 minutes to complete! The Somerville Arts Council will host a public meeting on the outcomes of the survey in early September.  

Volunteer with Us!

I hope that you’ll join me in the community as I fight to continue this work. Sign up to volunteer for our next canvass: 

Sign-up for a Yard sign

Show your support for #StrezoforSomerville from your home or business, and sign-up for a yard sign here!

Thank you for being a partner in this work as we enter a critical time in our city’s history. How we choose to move forward post-pandemic matters immensely, and I want to hear from you throughout that process. Please keep in touch — I want to hear from you!

My Best,

Councilor Kristen Strezo
City Councilor at-Large

June Updates – A Month of Action

Dear Friends,

I hope you all are enjoying the start of summer. I am excited to see you in person soon!

As your City Councilor, I’m focusing on the lessons we learned during the pandemic. I am proud of our neighbors’ robust response to the pandemic and I have been fighting hard alongside you. Throughout the pandemic, I have fought: (1) to continue the Somerville Eviction Moratorium; (2) to expand staff in the Office of Housing Stability so that more neighbors can access affordability services; and (3) for the construction of more 3 and 4 bedroom affordable housing units so that more families like my own can find a home and stay in the community.

Honoring Massachusetts' firefighters at the Somerville Firefighter Department Memorial.
Honoring Massachusetts’ firefighters at the
Somerville Fire Department Memorial.

Fighting for Affordable Housing

The Eviction moratorium spotlighted housing insecurity and the demand for affordable housing. I am committed to doing all that I can as a City Councilor to stomp out poverty in our community. As we move into the post-pandemic recovery phase, the following action steps toward affordability are on the front of my agenda:

  • Guide the Somerville Community Land Trust into reality with a collaboration between the city and the Land Trust.
  • Read about the new program and how you too can support it here.Explore rent stabilization and eviction sealing policies to prevent evictions and ensure that past evictions do not prevent residents from finding new housing.
  • Expand funding for the Office of Housing Stability and continue to support the SomerVIP program, which incentivizes landlords to rent to residents with Section 8 housing vouchers.
Celebrating #Pride at the Somerville Arts Council’s Big Gay Dance Party
Celebrating #Pride at the Somerville Arts Council’s Big Gay Dance Party.

Meeting Racism Head-On

I am also fighting to ensure that racism has no place in our community. I have zero tolerance for any and all acts of racism, and I want to make it extremely clear to my constituents, colleagues, and neighbors that your dignity and safety matter to me. Standing in Solidarity with the RSJLast week, I issued a statement standing in solidarity with the Somerville Director of Racial and Social Justice (RSJ), Denise Molina Capers, to demonstrate my commitment to amplifying the work of the RSJ office in our community. Please read my statement here:

The ORS Endorsement Process
On Sunday, I chose to withdraw from the Our Revolution Somerville endorsement process to stand with Somerville candidates of color in opposition to the group’s recent actions. Please read my statement here: 

Talking with a constituent 
at office hours this month.

Thank you all for the work you do in our community. I am working hard alongside you, and I want to hear from you. Enjoy the summer! I hope to see you soon.

My Best,
Councilor Kristen Strezo
City Councilor at-Large

Some articles covering my work for our beloved Somerville

August 1, 2020: I was proud to stand with UFCW Local 1445 in support of reinstating Hazard Pay for Stop & Shop employees, which employees stopped receiving in July (although the pandemic continues on). Our essential employees are putting their lives on the line and working hard to ensure that life in 2020 is as normal as possible for the rest of us. Here’s a link to the Somerville Times coverage of the stand-out: https://www.thesomervilletimes.com/archives/101995