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(Scroll down for answers about resident relocation plan)

1. What is planned for 116 Norfolk Street?

The existing building at 116 Norfolk Street was formerly a convent last renovated in 1975. The building is in urgent need of renovations, with multiple building systems at the end of their useful life. CHA plans to renovate the existing building and add an addition to the site. Through a partnership with social services provider Eliot Community Human Services, Cambridge Housing Authority will offer permanent supportive housing at the finished site.

The existing building is ideal for a supportive housing environment given its location near transit and other amenities. With the reconfiguration of the existing SRO units and addition of new apartments, we believe the site can go from 37 to 62 high-quality affordable studio apartments for seniors and people who have experienced chronic homelessness. As chronic homelessness is an ongoing problem in Cambridge, this site would be a significant asset to the community.

The construction of an addition to the building is made possible by the site’s current large percentage of open space. Building this addition constitutes a continuation and expansion of the existing housing type at 116 Norfolk Street. The CHA has been managing this development for the vast majority of the past 46 years for seniors and people with disabilities. A third of the current residents were formerly homeless. The increase in number of units is only 50% of the existing number of residents and the resulting building density is consistent with other buildings in the area. The CHA intends to closely follow the provisions of the Affordable Housing Overlay for this project.

2. Where will the addition be located?

CHA and our architects (HMFH) have not yet finalized the location or dimensions of the addition. However, we know that the open space in the eastern section of the site is less used by residents than the open space at the southern portion of the site. We plan to locate the addition in order to leave the south-facing porch intact, as it is often used by residents and is pleasing in appearance. The addition will take up part of the north-east yard and part of the current parking lot.

3. What is Permanent Supportive Housing?

Permanent Supportive Housing couples subsidized housing with social services to address the needs of people exiting chronic homelessness. Four full-time case managers will regularly meet with the 62 residents at 116 Norfolk. For more on this model, visit the “Permanent Supportive Housing” tab.

4. Will the housing at 116 Norfolk Street still be single-room occupancy (SRO) after construction?

In SROs (single-room occupancy apartments) residents share bathroom and kitchen facilities but have private bedrooms. After construction, every resident at 116 Norfolk will have their own bathroom and kitchen. Instead of SROs, all units will be studio apartments. CHA decided to convert the SROs at 116 Norfolk to studios because many residents expressed that having their own kitchen and bathroom would increase their health and well-being. COVID has revealed the severe limits and risks of shared food preparation and bathing spaces, but even in non-pandemic times, SROs can be stressful and risky for residents. By having studio apartments in a building that also has ample common space, 116 Norfolk will allow residents to have their own space and also interact with a community.

5. Who will manage the building after it is modernized?

Cambridge Housing Authority will continue to manage the building after construction is completed. Eliot Community Human Services will staff the social services component.

6. When is construction scheduled to begin?

CHA plans to begin construction in January 2023.

7. What sources of funding have been secured for this project, and what sources still need to be secured?

CHA is in the process of submitting a financing application for the property to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. In April 2022, the CHA will identify private partners for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, which will also provide funding for the project.

8. Will any trees be removed during the planned construction?

The CHA values trees and is committed to preserving as many healthy mature trees as is possible with the new planned development and replacing trees that are removed. The addition was planned around the existing trees, and will require the removal of only two healthy trees, as well as two other damaged and/or sickly trees.

9. How has CHA integrated sustainability and environmentally conscious designs in its modernized developments? Will 116 Norfolk have any sustainability goals?

CHA has been a leader in retrofitting existing affordable and public housing to meet sustainability and energy efficiency goals, and continues to improve on those efforts on every new project. Projects completed during the last five years are designed and built to meet Enterprise Green Communities standards, green-building standards aimed at affordable housing that not only cover environmentally-friendly materials and energy efficiency but also resident health. Our renovation and revitalization projects also prioritize savings on energy consumption post construction completion, through features like low-flow appliances, Energy Star-rated equipment, highly-rated building envelopes to mitigate heat loss, and resident education. Currently, over 18% of CHA developments’ electricity is generated through on-site production, and we have decreased water usage substantially, especially at large properties like Manning Apartments. This means lower cost to the CHA and the community, lower use of non-renewable resources, and more comfort for our residents. New construction at 116 Norfolk will also meet Enterprise Green Communities standards and incorporate CHA standard efficiency measures, as well as include new additional features in line with the City of Cambridge’s building goals for resiliency and climate change adaptability.

10. How can I stay informed and get involved with what will happen next?

There are several ways to stay informed and get involved with what will happen next at 116 Norfolk. On this website, residents and other community members can sign up for notifications, provide comments, and answer questions. For our residents, we will be circulating newsletters with updates on the project, hosting virtual meetings, hosting outdoor meetings and drop-in sessions, and posting general information at information station boards onsite. We met with abutters beginning in April 2021 and continue to meet with these directly-impacted neighbors to discuss their hopes for the project. We plan to begin a city-wide engagement process including multiple Affordable Housing Overlay meetings open to all Cambridge residents.

11. How do I contact CHA with questions?

You may contact Project Manager Maura Barry-Garland (617-520-6394/ I look forward to your engagement and feedback! If I am not available at the time you call, please leave a message and I will call you back as soon as possible.


1. Will existing residents have to move?

Residents will have to move while 116 Norfolk is being renovated. They have a guaranteed right to return to the property after it is renovated.

2. What relocation options are available for residents?

Some of the main sites we expect to use for relocation are: Manning, LBJ, St. Paul's, Truman, and Millers River.

We will also be providing Section 8 vouchers to residents as another option for relocation. We understand that searching for housing can be difficult, so CHA is committed to providing residents with housing search assistance for all relocations both to our properties and outside of our portfolio.

3. When will the CHA start meeting with residents about relocation and when will moves begin?

CHA staff will begin to meet with residents about the relocation process beginning in Summer 2022. Moves are expected to begin in Fall 2022.