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.