Let's begin a conversation on how best to stop bullying of elderly and disabled persons in multifamily housing. There are four elements needed to stop bullying and create a healthy community...
In the face of potentially draconian policies and reduction of support for subsidized and affordable housing, citizens that rely on such programs face a bleak future. And landlords who have partnered with HUD to provide decent, safe, affordable housing may face the collapse of their business model.
A request from Jerry Halberstadt, Coordinator, Stop Bullying Coalition—I am reaching out to seek your collaboration and input, regardless of your role in multifamily housing. Bullying affects all the stakeholders, and each role and individual brings some unique perspectives. I am asking that you respond to a simple questionnaire, your answers can be as short or long as you like.
HUD rules now protect the housing rights of all persons who have been victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and this rule seek to assure the basic human right to be free from violence and abuse. Victims cannot be discriminated against on the basis of any protected characteristics (including race, color, religion, sex or sexual orientation, disability, familial status, national origin, or age).
It has now been about two months since we moved away from Pariah Street, and I am happy to report, that on the surface at least, life for the residents continues on with slow but steady improvements. Many of us—management, residents, and I—intend to continue to strengthen the relationships of the residents with each other, while at the same time continue to improve the communication between the residents and the housing authority and the police.
I strongly recommend Bullying Among Older Adults: How to Recognize and Address an Unseen Epidemic, a timely and important resource. There is much of value which could be adapted to settings with diverse clients including independent-living elderly and younger people living with disability, so it could be very helpful for managers, staff, and resident service coordinators working in multifamily subsidized housing. The primary audience consisting of administrators and professional staff in residential environments providing assistive, supportive, or nursing services will find this an essential guide to enhancing the quality of life and work in their residential communities.
Robin P. Bonifas et. al., Bullying Among Older Adults: How to Recognize and Address an Unseen Epidemic, (Baltimore:Health Professions Press, 2016).
Janice Harper was a successful anthropologist, an assistant professor teaching and doing research at the University of Tennessee, when her promising career was ended by mobbing. She had established herself as an expert on health and environment and initiated a graduate program in Human Rights. When her own rights were threatened at work, she reported concerns about an employee’s conduct toward her and other women. Instead of receiving a fair hearing and protection, she was mobbed by university administrators and junior faculty, even including her friends and colleagues.
When we as citizens get together with our representatives, democracy happpens. Thank you for your support and partnership in the effort to develop a legislative study of the problem of bullying. Your phone calls and letters were a significant factor in convincing legislative leaders to support our bill, S1984. Together we have helped to create national landmark legislation, establishing the Massachusetts Commission to Study Ways to Prevent Bullying of Tenants in Public and Subsidized Multi-Family Housing, pursuant to Chapter 2 of the Resolves of 2016.
Bullying is a contagious social disease that flourishes in the absence of a legitimate social order, creates a toxic environment and an unhealthy community life, all while causing psychological and physical harm to victims. I attempt to answer: What is bullying? How does it arise? How can we prevent bullying? And how can we create healthy community in multifamily housing?
If we are to eliminate bullying in multifamily housing communities, and heal the community, we need to change attitudes and increase the level of mutual understanding and cooperation. We need to have pride in our community, and earn the respect of the wider community. Therefore, we need to change ourselves (managers and residents alike) and how we relate to each other. We won't achieve our goals by trying to kick out tenants or trying to fire the managers.