Janine Lotti is an integral part of the Economic Opportunity Department. She facilitates First-Time Homebuyers classes and provides money management support and advice through the Financial Literacy Program.
How long have you lived in Somerville?
I’ve lived here my whole life. It’s never disappointed me, so I had no reason to leave. Plus, I am so very fortunate to live in a family home with my husband—also a life-long resident–, my daughter, and many of my in-laws.
Did you ever leave and return?
I went to Northwestern University to get my undergraduate degree in Journalism. I played around with staying in the Chicago area, but I think I would have missed my family too much. I also had an apartment in Brighton when I first graduated from college. Somerville just felt better.
What do you love about Somerville?
I love all sorts of things, honestly. Perhaps the history and the people and stories associated with it—both good and bad. Everyone has a story to tell, I think.
I love the resilience of the people here. I love that we work so hard toward equity and to preserving the diversity that makes Somerville so interesting.
How did you get involved with SCC?
My father was one of the first Board members back when SCC was getting started, and he was very committed to the grass-roots community building that is at the heart of our work even today. I remember being a kid and attending more ham and bean suppers and meetings that I ever wanted to attend. I also remember knocking on doors from an early age, working with my Dad to distribute flyers and to help different folks get elected into office.
I became re-involved when SCC was celebrating a milestone anniversary by serving on a committee for that event. Since then, I’ve served on the Board and have been involved in many of SCC’s efforts and events over the years.
What does SCC mean to you or why do you think SCC’s work is important?
It means so much on so many levels. As I mentioned, for me there’s an important historical connection to my Dad. It’s also an organization with leaders and leadership that understand the true value of community building. When I was growing up, East Somerville was a rough neighborhood, with mostly working-poor residents. Yet, I always felt safe and supported in my neighborhood because there was a strong sense of “sticking together,” even during tough times. I think that SCC’s commitment to fighting against displacement demonstrates a deeper understanding of why people want that sense of community for themselves and their families.
What’s the best part of your work?
My favorite part of the job is when I can help someone to stay here in Somerville. I love to celebrate with folks who have benefited from the homebuying education and financial coaching services we provide.