Latest News

760 CMR Update

The Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities has released updates to its regulations that govern tenant participation and other important topics. Mass Union is reviewing the updates with input from our attorneys at Mass Law Reform and Legal Aid. You can see the proposed changes here.

The changes include a huge win for tenants: state Tenant Participation Funds will be going up from $6 to $25/unit/year! This change is based on YOUR VOICE being heard by Secretary Augustus and other state officials. Give yourself a pat on the back and stay tuned.

Mass Union’s Policy Committee will be discussing the proposed changes in the coming weeks so that we can submit a comment during the open comment period. To join the discussion, email Ben Echevarria (ben@massunion.org).

Mass Union Board of Directors Special Election

The Mass Union Board of Directors has decided to hold a special election to fill four open Director seats. The election will be held at the Spring Convention on May 19, 2024.

At the Convention, there will also be an Officer election to fill the five Officer positions: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Assistant Treasurer. The Officer election is open only to the current members of the board. Officer nominations will be circulated to our affiliates in March as part of our Convention mailing.

Members of our affiliates may run for the open Director seats. Nominations are due on March 1, 2024. Please see information about eligibility on page 6 of our bylaws. The Election is being overseen by an impartial Election Committee made up of people who are not running for a seat. Director Nicole Beckles is the Chair of the Committee. Affiliates may also join the Committee! If you would like to join the Election Committee, please email info@massunion.org.

How to Run

You may nominate yourself or another eligible member of one of our affiliates. If you nominate someone else, we will confirm that they would like run before circulating their nomination.

Submit the nominee’s name, contact information, and the name of her/his affiliate (LTO) to info@massunion.org by 5pm on March 1, 2024. If you wish, send us a photo and brief statement (not to exceed one half page) about the candidate.

Please keep an eye out for emails with additional information about the Convention. The full Convention registration packet will be mailed in March. If you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to reach out.

Mass Union Spring Convention & Lobby Day

May 19 and 20, 2024

Hotel accommodations are not longer available but registration is open for our Lobby Day.

Lobby Day Registration (May 20)

ONLINE PAYMENT: RESIDENTS | NON-RESIDENTS

May 19: Convention at the Marlborough Marriot
75 Felton St, Marlborough, MA 01752
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided
Spanish Interpretation Provided

    • 8:00am – Registration and Continental Breakfast open
    • 10:00am – Programming begins – see details here
    • 5:00pm – Day-time Programming Wraps Up
    • 6:30pm – Dinner

May 20: Lobby Day at The Massachusetts State House in Boston
Breakfast and Lunch Provided
Spanish Interpretation Provided

    • 7:00am – Continental Breakfast opens
    • 8:00am – Buses leave for the state house
    • 10:00am – Programming begins at the statehouse
    • 2:30pm – Buses leave for Marlborough, the North Shore and the South Shore (see below)

Please click here to see our Lobby Day info sheet.

Transportation

Buses will transport residents from the Convention to the State House and back to the Marriot in Marlborough. The bus is included in your Convention registration, no need to register!

Mass Union is also organizing a Convention/Lobby Day bus from the North Shore! The bus will leave Salem at 7:45 in the morning of May 19 and take everyone to Marlborough for the Convention. The next day, it will take everyone to the state house for Lobby Day. After Lobby Day, it will  take everyone home to Salem. The bus is included in Convention registration fees. To reserve your spot on the North Shore bus, email info@massunion.org.

Interpretation

Spanish interpretation will be provided.

Thank You to Our Convention Sponsors!

Gold

Silver

And special thanks to the Housing Authorities who sponsored multiple residents for our Spring Convention!

LOBBY DAY SPONSOR

PATRONS

SUSTAINER

SPONSORS

 

 

Convention Registration (May 19)
Lobby Day Registration (May 20)

ONLINE PAYMENT: RESIDENTS | NON-RESIDENTS

Webinar Recording: Using Your Grievance Process

Policy Update: Good Things are Happening

It’s the holiday season and we have good news to share. Mass Union recently met with Ben Stone, the head of the Division of Public Housing at EOHLC, along with two members of his staff. (EOHLC means the “Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities,” which is the new DHCD.) We are happy to report that EOHLC is planning some changes that will benefit tenants!

#1: Tenant Participation Funds

While we are still awaiting more details and confirmation, EOHLC has indicated that they will be raising the state tenant participation funding level to match the federal level of $25/unit/year. This is more than four times as much as the $6/unit/year state tenants are getting now!

#2: Tenant voice in Management Agreement decision-making

EOHLC is also working on a Public Housing Notice that will ensure that tenants have a voice when Local Housing Authorities (LHAs) are considering entering into “Management Agreements.”

What is a Management Agreement? Instead of hiring their own Executive Directors, some LHAs enter into a contract with another LHA to manage them. These are known as Management Agreements. As of now, LHAs can enter them without providing notice to tenants or seeking LTO input. We are working with EOHLC to ensure that tenants have a voice in this important decision-making.

Once there is more information to share, we will let you know. Please stay tuned!

Reminder: Other Policy Updates

Mass Union has nine policy areas that we are working on. Several are being addressed directly by EOHLC through regulations or guidance, as mentioned above. In addition, two of our priorities are addressed in the Affordable Homes Act, also known as the bond bill. Read our statement about the Affordable Homes Act here. We will be working on the bond bill throughout the spring and summer, 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. We shall also joining with others to call for Access to Counsel be added to the bond bill so that low-income tenants facing eviction can have the legal representation they need.

Coming Up: Mass Union Meeting with the Division of Public Housing at EOHLC

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:

  1. The status of regulatory updates to rent and other topics that were begun before COVID
  2. Problems with the town tenant LHA board member appointment process
  3. Increasing state Tenant Participation Funding to $25/unit/year, in order to match federal housing
  4. Making sure tenants have a say in Housing Authority management agreements and mergers before they happen
  5. Highlighting and enforcing grievance regulations

Stay tuned for an update about the meeting later in December.

Other Policy Updates

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, ben@massunion.org.

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Webinar: Using your Grievance Process

Thursday December 7, 2023
10 AM – 11 AM

Presenters: Annette Duke, Mass Law Reform Institute, Mac McCreight, Greater Boston Legal Services, Lori Manzo, President of the Revere City-Wide Tenants Council

A grievance procedure is a process to resolve disputes between residents in public housing and a Housing Authority. It is a way to work out problems without having to go to court. As a tenant, you have a right to use the grievance procedure to oppose some action that a Housing Authority wants to take against you, or to hold your Housing Authority accountable for the way they have acted or not acted. Many residents are unaware of this right! Join us to review your grievance rights, the process for filing grievances, and how to troubleshoot barriers you may encounter in the process.

We will send you the Zoom link after you register below. Thank you!

To Register, email Lisa by 5:00PM December 6 at:  Lisa@massunion.org

This webinar is being offered as part of our partnership with the Mel King Institute. Read more here.