Editorial: Let's Protect Elderly & Disabled Tenants from COVID-19

Storm clouds loom over apartment building
In Essex County, there are unofficial reports of current cases of COVID-related deaths and illness in public and subsidized housing. This as just the beginning of what can swiftly become a statewide disaster unless there is rapid and immediate implementation of protocols based on best practices and enforcement of public health rulings. For this, we need new legislation.

Open Letter to the Joint Committee on Public Health

The purpose of the recently passed law, Acts (2020) Chapter 93, https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2020/Chapter93 is to protect the public health. As tenants in public and subsidized housing for elderly and disabled people, we are highly vulnerable to infection and severe outcomes. Only good information, openly and transparently available, can alert us and the public to a local danger and enable us to make renewed efforts at personal and community protection. Our housing providers in too many cases simply do not care to do their part, and with information we can hold them accountable. The Governor is voiding provisions of that act of the Legislature which he had signed into law on June 7, 2020 by failing to implement certain provisions in a timely fashion. The law mandated the Department of Public Health to collect and publish data on infections and deaths from COVID-19 in a timely and transparent fashion covering "elder care facilities," defined in that act to include

Remembering Billie McGregor

Billie McGregor with poster "Tenants First!"
Billie McGregor was a force of nature, motivated by a deep sense of decency, morality, justice, and empathy. She was a whistle blower, and advocate for tenants of public housing; making herself heard in the public square, demanding the highest levels of responsibility. But few did match her expectations of duty and service.

Georgetown Housing Banishes COVID-19 and Bullying

Trestle Way in Georgetown, MA

Public Housing in Georgetown: Trestle Way

Working together takes trust and solidarity. How is trust developed? What does it take for people to develop solidarity and community in a healthy way rather than toxic? I have examined situations that may help to understand these issues by comparing the healthy and the toxic, situations that exemplify the problem and/or a solution.

Here is the story of one public housing community, Trestle Way in Georgetown; the Director, Diane Drinan; and a generous town.

How to Protect Elderly and Disabled Tenants from COVID-19

State House at Beacon Hill
An Open Letter to the Honorable Governor Charles D. Baker ~ New, stronger standards and protocols with effective oversight around disease prevention need to be established to assure protection from COVID-19 for the 92,000 tenants of public and subsidized housing for elderly and disabled.