June 14: Webinar on the Tenant Participation Funding Increase

11:30am – 12:30pm

Today, June 7, new state regulations went into effect. These new regulations include the increase in Tenant Participation Funds from $6/unit/year to $25! That means that you can now request additional Tenant Participation Funds. We know many people have questions about this process and about what the funding can be used for, so we are holding a webinar about this topic.

Webinar: Tenant Participation Funding (TPF) Increase
Friday, June 14, 11:30am – 12:30pm

Join Mass Union to review the process for requesting increased Tenant Participation Funds and discuss allowable uses for the funds. See information from EOHLC below, which we will review together.

This webinar will immediately follow a thirty-minute Policy Committee meeting. Join us at 11am for brief policy updates, and then stick around for the discussion about Tenant Participation Funds at 11:30. Both will be on the Zoom link below.

Zoom Link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9679537651
Phone: 301.715.8592; ID: 967 953 7651

If you cannot attend the webinar, our staff are also available to answer questions about Tenant Participation Funding. Reach out to info@massunion.org for support. Hope to see you soon!

EOHLC has provided this information in Public Housing Notice 2024-07:

“Amended LTO funding is effective June 7, 2024. To receive an increase in funding, LTOs must submit a revised budget for LHA approval that reflects the increase in LTO funding authorized by the revision of 760 CMR 6.09(3)(c). Once an LTO budget is approved by the LHA, the LHA will then disburse the revised LTO funding. The LHA should account for the LTO increase in any budget revision. No action is required if the LTO’s budget would not increase based upon the new per occupied unit funding.”

June 27: Resident Board Member Training

Register here: https://www.melkinginstitute.org/event/7401 

This free virtual training is part of the Mel King Institute’s Public Housing Training Program. It is only open to residents who serve on the Board of their Local Housing Authority. As part of Mass Union’s partnership with MKI, Sarah Byrnes will be the trainer.

The training helps participants handle challenges unique to their particular role as both a resident and a Board Member. Participants learn about the role of the Board Member, take an in-depth look at budgets and capital improvement plans, and receive a free resource binder. They get a chance to network with each other to discuss experiences and share stories in order build confidence to perform their duties and contribute to a thriving Housing Authority.

Quotes from past participants and stakeholders:

  • “This Resident Board Member Training was the best I ever took. I have been talking all types of classes for 25 years now. My resource binder is now my Bible for questions and answers.” – Phyllis May, Resident Board Member, Framingham Housing Authority
  • “I enjoyed this training immensely. The role-playing activities brought the examples home to us and aided us in understanding Board and resident issues. I would recommend this course to anyone who is a Resident Board Member.” – Susan Stanek, Resident Board Member, Ludlow Housing Authority

Please email or call Emma Caviness if you have any questions, emmac@macdc.org, 617-379-5933.

Good News! Bond Bill Updates, June 4, 2024

On Monday June 3, the House Ways and Means Committee released its version of the Bond Bill (aka the Affordable Homes Act). The House is expected to pass it on Wednesday, June 5, and then it will move on to the Senate. The House made changes to the bill, three of which impact public housing:

    1. The House added $500 million for capital repairs in state housing! This brings their proposal up to a total of TWO BILLION DOLLARS for the backlog of capital needs. Yes, that’s billion with a “b”! While there are still hurdles to get through before we see this money in our communities, it is great news that the House has increased the amount. No one understands the need for capital repairs better than you. Thank you again for making your voices heard.
    2. Stronger tenant protections during Redevelopment. As you may recall, the Bond Bill includes important protections for tenants who are facing redevelopment. The House made these protections even stronger, and ensured that tenants will not need to be rescreened when they come back to their homes after redevelopment.
    3. The LHA merger section has been removed. The original bill included a section that would make it easier for Housing Authorities to merge with each other. This language appears to be gone from the new version. (Mass Union’s board and policy committee had suggested that this section be strengthened to protect tenants.)

We will closely watch all three provisions as the bill is debated in the House and then moves to the Senate. We will let you know how you can take action for tenants soon. Stay tuned!

Important Webinar Hosted by the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC)

EOHLC has announced that it will promulgate amendments to 760 CMR 6.00, Occupancy Standards and Tenant Participation for State-Aided Housing. These amendments will be published and effective June 7, 2024. PHN 2024-07 describes the changes to the regulation, and lays out the implementation timeline, provides updated documents including an updated heat deduction schedule.

EOHLC will conduct a webinar on June 5, 2024, at 10:00AM on the changes to the rent calculation. Here’s how to join:

Meeting link: Click here to join
Meeting ID: 269 827 830 485
Passcode: m87Ceq

Dial in by phone
+1 857-327-9245, 594710186#
Phone conference ID: 594 710 186#

Thank You to our Convention and Lobby Day Attendees!

THANK YOU to everyone who attended Mass Union’s Convention and Lobby Day! Our purple shirts made a big impression in the state house!
Once again, THANK YOU for raising your voice for tenants. Go Mass Union, go!!

GOLD SPONSOR

SILVER SPONSORS

LOBBY DAY ALLY

PATRON HOUSING AUTHORITIES

SUSTAINER HOUSING AUTHORITY

SPONSORING HOUSING AUTHORITIES

And thanks to the Housing Authorities helping a member of their communities attend our Convention:

Acton HA, Arlington HA, Attleboro HA, Chelmsford HA, Haverhill HA, Quincy HA, Stoneham HA, Topsfield HA, West Springfield HA.

Congratulations to the new Mass Union Board

Welcome to our new board members: Gene Collins, Kathleen Hunt, Rosa Marchese, and Cassandra Page!
And congrats to Board Chair Dave Underhill, Vice Chair Maryanne Potrzuski, Treasurer Sonia Andujar, Secretary Carol Roberts, and Assistant Treasurer Danielle Connolly. Thanks also go to continuing members Nicole Beckles, Bret Perkins, Jessica Quinonez, and especially Don Hamilton.
We also thank Sally Sennott for her commitment to Mass Union.

Mass Union Affiliate List

Mass Union Affiliate List – May 15, 2024

Groups in bold have attendees at the Convention

Attleboro Housing Authority Hillcrest Oaks and 705 Family Sites Tenants Association
Belchertown Housing Authority Town Wide Belchertown Tenants Organization
Belmont Housing Authority Belmont Tenant Association
Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Mildred Hailey**
Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Mary Ellen McCormick**
Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Alice Taylor Advisory Council, Inc.*
Boston Housing Authority (BHA) BHA RAB
Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Charlestown Resident Alliance
Bridgewater Housing Authority H & H Tenant Association
Brockton Housing Authority Belair Heights Tenant Association
Brockton Housing Authority Belair Towers Tenant Association
Brockton Housing Authority Caffrey Towers Tenants Association
Brockton Housing Authority Campello A Tenant Association
Brockton Housing Authority Campello B Tenant Association
Brockton Housing Authority Crosby Gardens Tenants Association
Brockton Housing Authority Hillside Village**
Brockton Housing Authority Manning Tower Tenant Association
Brockton Housing Authority Roosevelt Heights Tenants Association
Brockton Housing Authority Sullivan Towers Tenants Association
Cambridge Housing Authority Alliance of Cambridge Tenants (ACT)
Easthampton Housing Authority Easthampton Tenant Organization
Fall River Housing Authority Fall River Housing Joint Tenants Council
Fitchburg Housing Authority C.J. Durkin Tenants Association
Gloucester Housing Authority Lincoln Park Tenant Organization
Gloucester Housing Authority McPherson Park Tenants Association
Great Barrington Housing Authority Great Barrington Housing Authority LTO
Greenfield Housing Authority Elm Terrace Tenants Association
Holden Housing Authority Checkerberry Village Tenant Organization
Lenox Housing Authority Lenox Tenant Organization (LTO)
Mansfield Housing Authority Mansfield Housing Local Tenant Organization*
Marlborough Community Development Authority Marlboro Senior Housing Tenants Association
Marshfield Housing Authority Tea Rock Gardens Tenant Association
Natick Housing Authority Cedar Gardens Tenant Organization
Needham Housing Authority Cooks Bridge Tenants Association
Newburyport Housing Authority Horton Terrace Tenants Council
Northampton Housing Authority Forsander Tenants Association
Northampton Housing Authority Walter Salvo Tenant Association
Quincy Housing Authority O’Brien Towers/Crowley Ct. Tenant Association
Quincy Housing Authority Tobin Towers Association
Salem Housing Authority Charter Street Tenant Association
Salem Housing Authority Dalton House Tenants Association
Salem Housing Authority Morency Tenant Organization
Salem Housing Authority Pioneer Terrace Tenants Organization
Salem Housing Authority Rainbow Terrace
Somerville Housing Authority Capen Court Tenants Association
Springfield Housing Authority Gentile Tenant Council
Springfield Housing Authority Jennie Lane Apartments Organization
Stoneham Housing Authority Stoneham Housing Resident Union
Sudbury Housing Authority Musketahquid Village Tenant Organization
Swampscott Housing Authority Swampscott Senior Tenant Association
Taunton Housing Authority Taunton LTO
Topsfield Housing Authority Little Brook Village Tenant Association
Warren Housing Authority Winthrop Terrace Tenant Organization
Watertown Housing Authority E. Joyce Munger Apartments Tenants Association
Webster Housing Authority Golden Heights (State)
West Springfield Oxford Place

 

* Grace Period

** Dues to be paid at the Convention

Media Alert: Mass Union’s Lobby Day – The Tenants are Coming!

[May 16, 2024, Boston, MA] – In a powerful display of grassroots advocacy, public housing tenants from across Massachusetts are gearing up to converge on the State House on Monday, May 20, 2024. Tenants will champion The Affordable Homes Act (aka the Housing Bond Bill), a crucial piece of legislation that begins to address the backlog of capital repairs needed to maintain the 43,000 units of state-aided public housing.

Organized by the Mass Union of Public Housing Tenants, the event is set to draw attention to the urgent needs of public housing residents and highlight the need for the bill aimed at addressing long-standing issues within the public housing system.

“This is about more than just money and policy; it’s about people,” said Sarah Byrnes, Executive Director of Mass Union. “For too long, public housing residents have been overlooked and underserved. It’s time for lawmakers to listen to our voices and take meaningful action to improve tenants’ living conditions.”

Mass Union’s Lobby Day at the State House will feature impacted tenants, community leaders, Lt. Governor Kim Driscol, EOHLC Secretary Ed Augustus, and elected officials. The speaking program will run from 10AM – 11AM in the Great Hall. Attendees will then meet with legislators to discuss the importance of passing the Housing Bond Bill (with minor changes), increasing funding for the Public Housing Operating Subsidy, and funding an Access to Counsel pilot program.

For inquiries please contact: Sarah Byrnes at 617.825.9750 or Sarah@massunion.org.

# # #

LTO Election Boot Camp

Join Mass Union’s LTO Election Boot Camp!
Launch Date: June 11, 2024
Wrap Up Date: October 4, 2024

Are you starting a new Local Tenant Organization (LTO)? Does your current LTO need a new election? In either case, join us for Boot Camp! This special training and support series will walk you through all the steps necessary to hold a fair election and launch or revive a strong LTO. We’ll focus on recognition requirements as well as essential skills such as relationship-building, running meetings, and distributing flyers. Start your LTO off on the right foot by learning from other experienced tenant leaders and the Mass Union staff!

Boot Camp lasts for several months to give you time to collect nominations for your LTO’s board, give notice about the election, hold the election, adopt bylaws, and learn crucial skills. You will:

    • Attend five ninety-minute training sessions – three in June, and two in September
    • Hold two community meetings to launch the process and adopt bylaws
    • Distribute and collect nomination papers
    • Post flyers
    • Keep your Housing Authority informed and request their help as needed
    • Receive one-on-one support throughout
    • Build relationships with tenants

By October 4, the process will be complete and new LTOs will be ready to officially request recognition from your Housing Authority. See the detailed timeline below. (Note that while boot camp lasts several months, there is a lot of downtime in July and August!)

  • Kick Off Training Sessions
    June 11, 18 and 25, 1:00-2:30pm

These training sessions will review the entire election process, help you build crucial skills, and prepare you to run community meetings and conduct outreach.

  • Community Meeting I: Let’s Get Started!

With help from us, you’ll run a meeting for your community to discuss the new LTO and encourage people to run for the board. Meetings should be held by July 19 at the latest.

  • Collect Nominations for the Board

After your community meeting, you will open up a 30-day nomination period for people to nominate themselves or others. This will take place from approximately July 22 through August 22.

  • Post Election Notices

Fourteen and seven days before the election, you must post notices or distribute flyers about the election.

  • Election!

During the week of September 9, Mass Union will come to your community to run your election!

  • Training Sessions: Get Official
    September 17 and 24, 1:00-2:30pm

After your election, we will reconvene with our training cohort to celebrate and prepare for the next important step: adopting bylaws with your community. (Current LTOs can use this opportunity to update their bylaws if needed.)

  • Community Meeting II: Bylaws and Budget

As a final step, you will hold a second community meeting to adopt (or amend) your bylaws and your budget by October 4. You are then ready to request official recognition. Congrats, you’re an LTO!