Posted by boston.com November 2, 2013 10:00 AM
The following was submitted by Arielle Black-Foley:
The Somerville Homeless Coalition recently held its fifth annual luncheon in memory of Tina DeLellis at the Highland Kitchen in Somerville. The Luncheon is a tribute to Tina DeLellis, the beloved owner of Johnny D's, and a notable business leader in Somerville. Those who knew her said that Tina was famous for treating anyone who walked in the door like family, a quality easily replicated by her daughter, Carla DeLellis, who now runs Johnny D's.
The Somerville Homeless Coalition holds its annual tribute to Tina as a reminder of the power of community. “Tina was a real fixture in Davis Square, and her death was devastating to many members of the community,” said Mark Alston-Follansbee, Executive Director of the Somerville Homeless Coalition; “We want to keep her memory alive.” The Tina DeLellis award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to helping improve the quality of life in Somerville.
This year’s honoree,Mary Louise Daly, has been an active advocate of affordable housing.
As Mark Alston-Follansbee describes, “After raising her family in Cambridge and looking for affordable housing for herself, Mary Louise moved into Clarendon Hill Towers -- only to learn that she and 500 other families might face a huge rent increase. Along with others, Mary Louise helped organize the Clarendon Hill Tenants Association and kept buildings affordable for residents.”
Ms. Daly cites her work organizing the Clarendon Hill Tenants Association as a catalyst for her to participate more actively in affordable housing. She went on to sit on the board of the Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) and spent over sixteen years on the board of the Somerville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which seeks to “preserve and create affordable rental and homeownership units,” as well as “direct programs that directly assist homeowners and renters who fall into the low to moderate income level (below 110% of area median income).
Mary Louise Daly is known throughout the community as someone who fights for what is right, and who knows how to get things done, accompanied with a sense of humor and humility. For almost 25 years she has organized and worked for affordable housing in our community; we are all awed by her energy and perseverance and grateful for her example.
Mary Louise serves as a perfect recipient of the Tina DeLellis award, because her work echoes the mission of the Somerville Homeless Coalition to provide homeless and near homeless individuals and families with individualized supportive services and tailored housing solutions with a goal of obtaining and maintaining permanent housing.