Stop Bullying Coalition Petitions Beacon Hill for Protection

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's get our rights! with the statewide tenant protective services ombuds program

S.1084 An Act relative to bullying in public housing would establish a statewide tenant protective services ombuds program for elderly and disabled tenants in public and subsidized housing. This legislation should assure protection from bullying and create accountability for landlords. S.1084 must implement and extend the principle stated by the Attorney General—it is unlawful to prevent others from enjoying their rights as citizens and tenants.

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Petition for an Effective Ombuds Office

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.

Testimony for the Joint Committee on Housing

Today we support the bill of Senator Lovely S900, along with Representative Honan’s bill H1443—to provide training, guidelines, and resources. The bills rely on the owner/manager to assure the peaceful enjoyment of all tenants. We must also have oversight, protection, and hold landlords to account when they fail to collaborate with tenants and build a healthy community.

Advocacy on Bullying

Bullying attacks our dignity. Pamela Goodwin, one of our most dedicated activists, and I have been participating in the work of the Dignity Alliance (DAM). Their major focus has been on frail elders and disabled persons living in nursing homes and other institutional settings, and those living independently in the community. We need to prepare for Beacon Hill hearings on bullying bills. And we need information about bullying among children of tenants.

Pollution Harms our Health

Dramatic clouds at sunset
Our health is affected by pollution from burning fossil fuels. Some of us are making a stand against the installation of a new gas and oil fueled electrical generator in Peabody MA, about a mile from where I live. There has been no comprehensive public health or environmental assessment of this project which threatens the health of elderly, children, and all those with health conditions such as asthma, COPD, and heart disease. The threat to public health, the environment, and the climate is echoed everywhere.

Finally, We Will Stop Bullying of Elderly & Disabled Residents

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.