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.
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.
Faas writes, “Why do bullies bully?” The simple answer is because they work in an environment where it is allowed, condoned, encouraged, and even expected....but where bullying is not allowed or condoned it will stop.
Andrew Faas was a senior executive in retail for three decades, and during that time demonstrated how to lead and manage a business, not from fear and bullying, but through establishing cultural dynamics that are based on values, motivation, and positive leadership to create a strong organization and a safe place to work. His ideas are relevant to bullying in multifamily residential situations.
August 10, 2016. Governor Baker has signed resolve S1984, thus creating a landmark commission to protect elderly and disabled victims from harassing and bullying. Passage of this resolve demonstrates again the leadership and compassion of our legislators and of Governor Baker and their responsive concern for the well-being and rights of all citizens. It is a victory for citizen activism and democracy.
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Impact of bullying on elderly and disabled
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.
About one quarter of elderly people living independently are the victims of bullying. Bullying targets elderly and disabled people, including those living in public or subsidized multifamily apartment housing, but it is also a problem in many upscale residential settings.
Preventing Harassment & Bullying is a Leadership Challenge
Preventing and remedying harassment, a form of bullying, may not seem like the legal responsibility of the housing provider—but it is, according to state and federal authorities. On October 21, 2015, HUD proposed a rule that would formalise and define harassment under the Fair Housing Act. This rule would recognize and protect important rights of persons covered by the Fair Housing Act in their home. And the rule would impose clear responsibility on the housing provider for any acts of harassment. In reaction to the proposed rule, many providers of housing—public, private, subsidized, affordable, or market rate—rushed to decry government intervention, reject any responsibility for tenant relations, and set their legal teams to work. (1) But while there may be risk of legal exposure sufficient to motivate action by landlords, there are other excellent business reasons to prevent bullying and harassment.