Mass Union to the Boston Globe: Tenants who live public housing problems 24/7 urge state to act

Vice Chair Dave Underhill receiving the Bill King award at the Spring 2023 Convention

Mass Union Vice-Chair Dave Underhill published a Letter to the Editor today in the Boston Globe. Dave said:

The chronically broken elevator at an apartment building in the South End isn’t an isolated story (“She needed a lift, but she was let down,” Metro, Sept. 25). We at the Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants know stories like these because we experience these conditions every day. As the Globe’s Sept. 22 editorial pointed out, big problems plague our state’s public housing.

We tenants live these problems 24/7. In state housing, pests, leaks, broken infrastructure, unsafe fire systems, backed-up plumbing and sewage systems, and decades-old appliances are the norm. Fire alarms go off for days at a time. Mold is visible on walls. Asbestos goes unaddressed. The health and safety of the residents are being compromised, and too many units are close to unlivable. Stopgap measures are merely expensive bandages on a gushing wound.

Advocates estimate that we need 190,000 more units of affordable housing to address the housing crisis in Massachusetts. The last thing we need is to jeopardize the state’s existing 43,000 units of public housing by continuing to ignore the dangerous backlog of capital needs.

As the voice of public housing tenants in Massachusetts, we urge the administration to prioritize both the production and preservation of low-income housing, including public housing, to ensure that everyone in the state can live in a safe and affordable home.

See the letter here, along with a letter from our friends at the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO). Congratulations to Dave and Mass Union!