Cambridge Eviction Free Zone Historical Records, Available for Research
Campaign to Save 2000 Homes, 1998 (Skip Schiel photographer)
Northeastern University Libraries is pleased to announce that the historical records of the Cambridge Eviction Free Zone are open for research use.
Founded in 1988, the Cambridge Eviction Free Zone (EFZ) was an independent, tenant-run community organization that worked for social and economic justice in the areas of housing and tenants' rights, rent control, and immigrant voting rights. It was founded by a coalition of grassroots organizations, including the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC), Area 4 Neighborhood Coalition, Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services, and Cambridge Tenants Union. Among its early activities, EFZ campaigned for rent control by directly opposing Question 9 (Q9), an anti-rent control measure, and by seeking reforms to Cambridge's complicated rent control ordinance. Although Q9 failed in the three communities that had local rent control ordinances (Cambridge, Boston, and Brookline), it narrowly passed statewide, banning rent control throughout Massachusetts in 1994. EFZ's focus then shifted to preserving housing affordability in Cambridge. EFZ also supported immigrant rights via the Campaign for Immigrant Voting Rights and its committees for Haitian and Latino tenants. A highlight of the collection is the documentation of EFZ’s Campaign to Save 2000 Homes, a major effort to create and preserve affordable housing after the passage of Question 9 and the end of rent control in Massachusetts. EFZ ceased to operate in 2007, after failing to secure foundation grants to support its activities.
The 23 cubic feet of records date from 1972-2007 and document EFZ’s work on issues of housing justice and immigrant rights. The collection includes meeting minutes, reports, newsletters, newspaper clippings, promotional materials such as flyers, photographs, signs, and memorabilia. A guide to the collection is available online.
The Cambridge Eviction Free Zone collection is open for research Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in the Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department, 92 Snell Library, Boston, Massachusetts. See a list of all the Department's special collections.