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Mel King Institute and Mass Union Partnership



Collaborating to enhance Resident Leadership

The Mel King Institute and Mass Union of Public Housing Tenants are excited to announce a training partnership designed to enhance residents’ leadership capacities. Since 2016, the Mel King Institute has been running the Public Housing Training Program (PHTP), providing training for tenants so that they can more meaningfully participate in the decision-making that impacts their lives. This very highly-regarded program has been a component of MKI’s larger work to provide education for professionals and community leaders in the Community Development field.

The Public Housing Training Program (PHTP) has always operated in close collaboration with its partner organizations: the Mass Union of Public Housing Tenants, MassNAHRO, DHCD (now EOHLC), Mass Law Reform, and the Mass Housing Partnership. In March of 2023 Sarah Byrnes, previously the Director of the PHTP at Mel King, transitioned to become the Executive Director at the Mass Union of Public Housing Tenants. Mass Union provides a full array of support for tenants and tenant organizations. Training is an integral part of this mission, making a stronger collaboration between Mel King and Mass Union a natural next step in the evolution of the program.

Over the next six months our two organizations will partner to produce trainings for Resident Leaders and Resident Board Members, including webinars, our online training series, and in-person events. This partnership will make use of Mass Union’s 50+ years of history supporting tenants, as well as MKI’s renowned commitment to providing excellent training. We are jointly committed to ensuring continuity in the design and delivery of the trainings in order to maximize tenants’ leadership development so that they can accomplish their goals for their communities. Please keep an eye on our websites for additional details. Thank you!

August 17: LTO Support Session in Quincy

Mass Union is very excited to head down to Quincy on August 17, 2023, for a Local Tenant Organization (LTO) Support Session! All public housing residents are welcome. We will focus on the following:

  • Building power through strength in numbers (Spaghetti Power!)
  • LTO bylaws
  • Prioritizing issues
  • Listening skills

Whether you are trying to start an LTO or simply looking to refresh your knowledge, please join us. Here are the details:

LTO Support Session
Thursday, August 17, 10am-3pm
Quincy Housing Authority
80 Clay Street, Quincy, 02170

Breakfast and lunch will be provided – please plan to arrive by 9:30
Stay tuned for information about parking
Cantonese-English Interpretation will be provided

 — Registration is now closed — 

August 10 Zoom Roundtable: Stewardship & Success in Public Housing LTOs

SCROLL DOWN TO REGISTER. Contact us for support at 617.825.9750.

Thursday, August 10, 10am-11am
Zoom information will be provided after you register

Join Mass Union on August 10 to share your Stewardship and Success Stories! While there are many challenges for Local Tenant Organizations in public housing, there has also been a lot of success and stewardship. Residents live on the property 24/7 and often take important steps to care for the buildings and the community. Residents:

When residents work together, they can accomplish all this and more. LTOs have won:

  • Better maintenance and sanitation
  • New kitchens and bathrooms
  • Respectful treatment
  • And more!

Join us to lift up and celebrate these and other successes!

— Registration is now closed —

What is Spaghetti Power?

Organizing is like spaghetti. One strand alone is easy to break with one hand. But bring a whole bunch of strands together – they become unbreakable.
Arlene Carr, Resident Leader

Mass Union at the Rally for Housing Justice

Above, see Mass Union members from our affiliate in Belchertown, Rosa Marchese and Christina Fisk. Rosa and Chris were among dozens of Mass Union members who attended the Housing Justice Rally in Brookline on June 26. The rally was organized by our allies at the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization. Speakers included Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, new Secretary of Housing Ed Augustus, and Mass Union member Kenneth Mcpherson (see below).

The rally focused on the need for more capital funds for public housing. We don’t have to tell you how important that is! Please continue to contact Governor Maura Healey about providing $8.5 Billion in the bond bill to address the backlog of capital needs in public housing. We know we need it, and it’s time to make the ask. Read more here. And thank you for your efforts!

Mass Union member Kenneth Mcpherson and Chelmsford Housing Authority ED David Hedison at the rally

Email the Governor: $8.5 Billion Needed for Public Housing Capital Repairs

Photo provided by a public housing resident

Mass Union and our partners are preparing for the Governor to release the Housing Bond Bill.

Why does this matter? Because the Housing Bond Bill provides funds for capital repairs for state public housing. We don’t have to tell you how important this is.

Please email the Governor’s Office at this link. Here’s what to say:

  • I live in public housing and I am emailing about the 5-year housing bond bill that the Healey/Driscoll administration will introduce in the coming weeks.
  • We ask that the Healey/Driscoll administration use the Housing Bond Bill to fund the $8.5 billion need for capital repairs in state-aided public housing.
  • Deferred maintenance in our state-aided public housing means that many of us are enduring deplorable conditions such as mold and lead.
  • The longer this goes unaddressed, the more people suffer, and the worse the crisis gets.
  • If we do not address the deferred maintenance now, we will begin to lose many of the 43,000 state-aided public housing units.

ADD PERSONAL COMMENTS AS WELL! Why do you believe state housing needs money for capital repairs?

Here is the link to email the governor. Click the link and scroll to the bottom of the page. Copy and paste the bullets above, and add your own comments.

As a resident of public housing, YOUR VOICE IS ESSENTIAL. Thank you for taking the time to contact our governor about this important issue!

Photo provided by public housing resident Janet Wilkins

Protecting Tenants During Redevelopment

Due to decades of deferred maintenance, public housing is in tough shape. Mass Union is fighting for more funds for capital improvements and operations through the state legislature.

To address decades of backlogged capital needs, redevelopment of public housing is happening and it is happening in different ways. In some cases, ownership moves to a new entity.

  • Mass Union urges policymakers to put forth an ambitious plan to preserve and expand public housing for low-income people.
  • We encourage decision-makers to incorporate the principles in our Redevelopment Bill of Rights in programs, legislation, budgets, and specific redevelopment projects.
  • We support S. 857/ H. 1340, An Act ensuring continued rights for public housing residents. Read more below, including how YOU can help!

Action Alert

Contact your State Senator and Representative and ask them to co-sponsor S. 857/ H. 1340, An Act ensuring continued rights for public housing residents.

Find Your Legislators Here

Use the talking points below and contact us with any questions! Email:, phone: 617.825.9750. Let us know how your conversation goes! Read tips for talking to legislators and their staff in our Power of One booklet.

Read More

Help Increase Funding for Public Housing

The budget has moved on to the Conference Committee! Legislators are deciding between the two versions of the budget – one passed by the House, and one passed by the Senate.

The Senate version provides more money for public housing in two ways: the Operating Subsidy and special grants for Resident Services Coordinators.

Please contact your Senator and Representative and ask:

As provided in S.2400, Increase Public Housing Operating Subsidy to $107 million (Line Item 7004-9005) and Increase funding for Resident Services Coordinators to $6.5 million (Line Item 7004-4314). 

To find your Representative Senator go to:

Read our full letter to the Chairs of the Ways and Means Committee (PDF).

For more information and tips about talking to legislators, download our popular “Power of One” booklet here (PDF).

June 26: Rally for Housing Justice!

Who: 800 – 1,000 people! Tenants and our allies from GBIO and other groups
What: Rally for Housing Justice
Where: Temple Israel in Boston
When: June 26, 7pm
Why: To raise our voices in support of capital funds for public housing

Free parking, handicapped accessibility, and ample seating will be provided. Food trucks will likely be available and music and celebration will begin at 6pm. Join us then before the formal action begins at 7!

More information coming soon! Contact Lisa Copeland with questions about transportation or other matters (, 617.825.9750).