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.

For a Safe Community, We Need Laws

 

The goal of all our efforts is not to create a utopian community where everyone loves each other and there is no strife. No, it is make it possible for people to live together despite their differences and to create a social environment that is, at least, not toxic and harmful.

This is possible through a common understanding of the limits of behavior and having a way for people to resolve differences without resorting to aggression---physical, emotional, bullying, or mobbing.

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.

“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.

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.

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.

Alert: A Public Health Crisis Threatens Lives of Elderly & Disabled

Team of neighbors distribute masks to all tenants: Cheryl, Judy, Irene
COVID-19; the average age of death from COVID is 80. You, the leaders of the Commonwealth—our legislators, the Governor, and the Department of Public Health—are responsible for acting to enable, empower, and enforce public health protocols for landlords and tenants. We tenants have already begun. To save our lives, this is what you—Governor Baker and legislators—must do.

A Home Safe from COVID

Apartment building, fall foliage, clouds
In many communities the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths is on the rise. This increases the risk of spread to and within housing. Those of us who live and work in housing for elderly and disabled, including public and subsidized housing for elderly and disabled, as well as nursing homes, assisted living, rest homes, market rate, and affordable housing are at an elevated risk of serious impacts and even death from COVID-19. Our best protection is to avoid infection. We know how to protect ourselves. And to be effective, everyone in the housing community must be part of the solution. The new activities that protect us take continuing effort, positive reinforcement, and sometimes sanctions, to become ingrained habits.