Mass Union is excited to meet with Ben Stone, the head of the Division of Public Housing at EOHLC, next week. (EOHLC means the “Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, which is the new DHCD.) We have several agenda items we are planning to discuss, based on input from tenants across the state. Here is our agenda:
- The status of regulatory updates to rent and other topics that were begun before COVID
- Problems with the town tenant LHA board member appointment process
- Increasing state Tenant Participation Funding to $25/unit/year, in order to match federal housing
- Making sure tenants have a say in Housing Authority management agreements and mergers before they happen
- Highlighting and enforcing grievance regulations
Stay tuned for an update about the meeting later in December.
Other Policy Updates
- Mass Union has nine policy areas that we are working on. Two of them are addressed in the bond bill, which is officially called the Affordable Homes Act. Read our statement about the Affordable Homes Act here. We will be working on the bond bill throughout the spring, until it is passed, to ensure that the full $1.6 billion is allocated for capital repairs in public housing, and tenants are guaranteed protections during redevelopment.
- Last week, Mass Union board chair Dave Underhill sent this letter to Governor Healey and high-ranking members of her Administration, such as Secretary Augustus. We asked Governor Healey to provide $189 million for public housing in the FY25 operating subsidy, and to fund our other priorities.
- If you’ve read this far, consider joining Mass Union’s policy committee! We meet every other Friday to advance our policy agenda. Contact Ben if you are interested, email@example.com.
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Thursday, December 21, 2023
10AM – 11AM
Join us to celebrate a year of transition and accomplishments! Mass Union has been busy working with our affiliates to build power for all so that we can make the changes we need to public housing. We’ll take a moment to reflect on our successes as well as the work still ahead. Bring your gratitude list and your “public housing holiday wish list” to share. We’ll throw in a little holiday trivia as well. Hope to see you there!
We will send you the Zoom link after you register below. Thank you!
This Roundtable is being offered as part of our partnership with the Mel King Institute. Read more here.
When: Wednesday, December 13, 2023, 10am-12pm
Register here: https://bit.ly/RMBT-dec13
This free two-hour 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-379-5933.
In May of 2023, in accordance with our bylaws, Mass Union held a Convention and board election. Because it is an odd-numbered year, the Directors (not Officers) were up for election. Twelve people ran for eight seats, representing the first time in recent memory that there were more interested parties than seats available. As a result, Mass Union attained its first full slate of Board Members in recent memory.
At the election, approximately 100 people were in attendance and witnessed a proper electoral procedure take place. Thirty-two affiliates participated and cast votes. The affiliates elected the following Directors who are still serving: Jessica Quinonez, Carol Roberts, Nicole Beckles, Maryanne Potrzuski, Bret Perkins, Sonia Andujar and Danielle Connolly. Sonia has since become Treasurer. She joins Dave Underhill and Donald Hamilton as Officers of the organization. At our Spring 2024 Convention, the affiliates will elect officers to the board from among the current board members. Please stay tuned for more information about the election, and see our bylaws here.
In January of 2023, the Mass Union board offered the position of Executive Director to Sarah Byrnes. Sarah began on March 1, succeeding Jack Cooper, who had been ED for 37 years. The board wishes to thank Sarah for her steadfast leadership during this time, and applaud the work she and her staff have accomplished.
We also wish to thank our affiliates and all the residents who participate in Mass Union in many ways, including our board election, spring and fall Conventions, and online events. We appreciate your time and your heroic commitment to your communities. Together, we are Mass Union. We look forward to many fruitful years of work together.
The Mass Union Board of Directors and Officers
To all public housing residents: please join us on Friday, November 17 at 11am for a special meeting about the Governor’s Bond Bill!
We’re very excited to discuss the bill with Eric Shupin from the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC).
Mass Union has nine policy agenda items and we are hopeful that the bond bill, once enacted, will help address some of them. Mass Union will be counting on our affiliates to help make that happen. You can read more about our policy agenda here.
We will send you the Zoom link after you register below. Thank you!
Registration now closed
October 28, 2023
Best Western, Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center
181 Boston Post Road, Marlborough, MA
Registration and Continental Breakfast will begin at 8am
Programming will begin at 10am and wrap up at 5pm
Spanish Interpretation will be provided
Spanish Convention Flyer
- Meet other tenants from across the state and celebrate Spaghetti Power!
- Help advance our goal to improve quality of life in public housing
- Hear from the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (formerly DHCD)
- Participate in workshops to gain new knowledge and skills you can bring back to your community
- Full Agenda and Workshop Options
Thank You to Our Sponsors!
Bronze Sponsor Resident Patrons
Sending 10+ Residents
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Attleboro Housing Authority
Cambridge Housing Authority
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Northampton Housing Authority
Watertown Housing Authority