During virtual Beacon Hill testimony before the Joint Committee on Housing on Tuesday, October 12, Jerry Halberstadt testified on the need to establish an independent, statewide ombuds office to protect elderly and disabled persons who live in public or subsidized housing from bullying, mobbing, and harassment.
Halberstadt is the Coordinator of the Stop Bullying Coalition which acts on behalf of over 92,000 tenants in some 1,400 developments across the Commonwealth. He lives in a subsidized housing development in Peabody. He said,
Let us Now Improve Ombuds Bill S1084 for Effective Protection
A well-designed ombuds office is essential to protect the rights and well-being of tenants in public and subsidized housing for elderly and disabled tenants. We have been seeking relief for almost a decade, and we are no longer pleading and petitioning, we now demand legislation to protect our rights.
Today, tenants have no way to protect themselves from bullying, mobbing, hostile environment harassment, and retaliation, nor can they enforce their rights. Bullying deprives the target of dignity, safety, social connection, and psychological health and creates a toxic community.