Stop COVID in Elderly Housing

Today, too many people are getting COVID and dying in what should be a safe haven—public and subsidized housing for the elderly and disabled. These tragedies are largely preventable.

We want the legislature to create laws that will guide the Governor and the Department of Public Health to take new steps to reduce the spread of COVID, and better protect citizens. We can prevent COVID from spreading if we assure compliance by enforcing the public health mandates. To address the public health threat we must know where people are infected and dying.

Ombuds Agency to Protect Tenants From Bullying

A Bill Establishing an Ombuds Agency Protecting Tenants From Bullying, Mobbing, and Hostile Environment Harassment in Elderly Housing

Note:The bill as filed by Senator Joan Lovely:

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/SD1928

Below is the version as developed by the Stop Bullying Coalition


 

Legislation to Protect Tenants from COVID

Update on our legislative advocacy

Our legislative partners, including Representative Tom Walsh and Senator Joan Lovely, have determined that the first step is to bring our concerns to the newly formed Joint Standing Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management. That body will be tasked with oversight of the state’s pandemic response and take on an advisory role for the Legislature. It will also weigh broader issues of disaster preparedness, emergency management and communication.

Competence and Compassion In Housing

I live in an apartment building with 55 units, and at last estimate, 12 people are sick with COVID-19, and one is on a ventilator in hospital. I am now in my 6th day of quarantine with the virus and it hasn’t been fun,” wrote one of us, Lynn Costello, a tenant in Lowell Public Housing for elderly and disabled persons, early in December, 2020.

In February, 2021, Lynn is well but she notes that 3 tenants were seriously ill and hospitalized with COVID, and two of them have died.

“We’re Here to Help”

To save lives, we need answers now

What is the best way to protect elderly and disabled tenants of public and subsidized housing from COVID-19? We can find answers where someone has developed a practical, effective solution.

Chelsea Housing Authority

Let’s consider the approach of the Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) as a case in point. Everything they do seems to flow from the motto of Paul Nowicki, Director of Operations, “We’re here to help.”

“Though we sow in sorrow, yet shall we reap in joy.”

Jerry Halberstadt sailing on Buzzards Bay

To the Stop Bullying Coalition

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This is a time of great danger for all of us who are elderly and disabled and live in public and privately owned subsidized housing. We are all at exceptional risk of getting COVID, becoming severely ill, and of death.

Now I have COVID-19, or more precisely, COVID has me; I am 84 and have health conditions so that my risk is great. I have access to excellent medical care, although the health system is under stress and I am working long hours to assure my care.

Tragedy and Hope In Elderly Housing

Elderly and disabled persons are at elevated risk for severe consequences and death from COVID-19 because of age, preexisting medical conditions, or a compromised immune system. Life in multi-unit housing compounds the risk of transmission. The most prudent approach is to increase compliance, oversight, and accountability for public health mandates, and to have an on-site vaccination program for everyone in all multi-unit facilities where elderly and disabled tenants are living, and as soon as possible. Vaccination for all tenants and staff is part of a comprehensive program that will continue to include masking, distancing, personal hygiene, cleaning of the environment, and frequent rapid testing with publication of the results including number of infections, and with restricted access to individual case information.

An Open Letter to the Honorable Governor Charles D. Baker on COVID-19

December 8, 2020

The Honorable Governor Charles C. Baker
The State House

Dear Governor Baker,

We urge you to you pay heed to the warnings and counsel of experts in public health and act now to stop the spread of COVID-19, specifically by preventing gatherings that have been shown to enhance the spread, and by ongoing monitoring and enforcement of mandates.

Never Say “Never”

Lynn Costello under green tree in apartment yard
How many times have you heard the expression “Never say ‘never’?” There has never been a greater time than right now to heed that advice, because if you don’t, it could land you in great trouble. At the very least you might end up quarantined in your own home, completely shut off and reliant on others to help you. At the very worst you could wind up on a respirator fighting for your life. Today, I live in an apartment building with 55 units, and at last estimate, 12 people are sick with COVID-19, and one is on a ventilator in hospital. I am now in my 6th day of quarantine with the virus and it hasn’t been fun.

An Open Letter to Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, Commissioner of Public Health

December 4, 2020

To: Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, Commissioner of Public Health

c/o Dr. Edward Bernstein, Public Health Council

Dear Commissioner Bharel,

In the Commonwealth, as well as across the nation, the valuable expertise of public health is being ignored, as people heedlessly expose themselves and others to COVID-19.