The Joint Committee on Housing of the Massachusetts Legislature (the General Court) has amended and now sponsors our bill to create a legislative study commission, S1984. The commission will study ways to prevent bullying of tenants in public and subsidized multi-family housing.
We are living in a Commonwealth where any citizen can petition the legislature, and we did petition and we did testify before the Joint Committee on Housing for freedom from bullying in subsidized housing.
Testimony by several citizens on behalf of S709 prepared for the July 14, 2015 hearing before the Joint Committee on Housing.
Murder, mayhem, and mobbing
When a murder takes place in subsidized housing for the elderly and for younger disabled persons, it is shocking and tragic. Subsidized housing facilities are also the scene of bullying and mobbing. All these instances of aggression disrupt community life and pose difficult challenges for management, first responders, service providers and the wider community.
Are the elderly and the disabled incompatible? Do the laws and policies which require the integration of subsidized facilities somehow lead to bullying and murder?
Senator Joan Lovely and Representative Paul R Heroux have each proposed legislation to address the urgent problem of bullying of elderly and disabled residents in multifamily subsidized housing. Each bill or resolve was among the several thousand bills timely submitted for consideration in the current legislative session. We ask you to contact your legislators to advocate for either or both bills. Best time to sponsor is before January 30.
Why does bullying emerge in "elderly" subsidized housing? Subsidized buildings that house both elderly and younger disabled persons, all from a wide variety of backgrounds, can be fertile ground for bullying. Bullying can emerge when management does not take responsibility for enforcing formal systems of fair and reasonable rules for getting along, leaving residents to use informal means to bring order to the building. Their efforts may include the use of bullying, as illustrated in the story of Heights Manor, "Influx Of Residents With Disabilities Leads To Clashes."(1)
This is the story of the eviction of Fred, an elderly man living with disability, from Bleak House in August, 2014. It demonstrates how failure of the formal system of landlord, agencies, and the safety net can lead to the use of bullying by the informal system. I ask why a person clearly in need of significant additional support for many years was not better served by neighbors, management, and agencies. READ MORE