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.

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.

We can't relax as everyone reopens

Preventing hospitalization, death from COVID-19

Those of us who are elderly and/or disabled are at increased risk for COVID-19, especially those who live in public and subsidized multifamily housing, do now seek effective public health measures.

We must speak out at this time of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic out of concern for the well-being of tenants of public and subsidized housing for elderly and disabled residents.

Community Norms, Social Distancing & Bullying

Apartment building, trees in spring

Introduction

Community norms can either promote a healthy, caring community or lead to a toxic community that is harmful. In public and subsidized housing for the elderly and disabled, failure to control bullying and mobbing (group bullying) creates a toxic community, while failing to prevent transmission of COVID-19 can create a deadly situation.

Vulnerable But Vigilant

Swans and cygnets
We elderly and disabled persons are highly vulnerable to COVID-19 because we have preexisting conditions which can make it harder to survive an infection. Our public and subsidized housing can become dangerous if COVID-19 enters. And medical protocols for dealing with scarce resources may doom us by withholding potentially life-saving treatments. As governments loosen restrictions on interactions in public spaces and allowing some services to begin serving the public, many people are relaxing their guard. But for those of us who are vulnerable, this is a time of increased danger and if we are to survive, we need to be more vigilant. So for us, we need to make every effort to avoid infection. Here's how.

Do Commonwealth Triage Protocols Apply Fair and Just Social Values to Elderly & Disabled?

The social norms that devalue people of age and disability are choices. The choices made by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in Crisis Standards of Care: Planning Guidance for the COVID-19 Pandemic attempt to avoid bias, but nevertheless are affected by bias. Other choices can and should be made.