Draft prepared for presentation to the ILC Housing Working Group 02/27; ILC Housing Projects , A project of the MA Association of Independent Living Centers and The MA Statewide Independent Living Council.
It is bitterly cold now as the nomads, women in their 70s and 80s, gather in their vans and cars in the department store parking lot on a bitterly cold night. The common thread in their stories is how they were forced out of their homes because their bodies could not tolerate smoking or other triggers of their asthma or multiple chemical sensitivity. Multiple chemical sensitivity is a condition in which the body’s immune and neurological systems cause symptoms similar to allergies, symptoms that can be disabling.
As leaders of the Stop Bullying Coalition advocating for the rights of tenants living in public and subsidized housing we have the honor of meeting and collaborating on policy with our legislators and high state officials in the Office of the Attorney General and with the new Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC).
Politics is the art of the possible. Advocacy is the art of changing the possible.
After a decade of advocacy for the right of tenants to be free of bullying and harassment, we ask: Why has it taken so long? When will we get relief? Is it worth continuing our efforts?
It’s taken so long because the task is so challenging. We will get relief if all of us continue showing up and keep telling Beacon Hill our demand: We want our rights! When do we want them? Now!
It’s now up to every one of us to tell Beacon Hill, We want our rights now!
Testimony of Jerry Halberstadt and others in favor of H3868, “An Act to create the office of the tenant advocate in the Office of the Attorney General,” prepared for the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, December 5, 2023
To the Honorable Chairs James B. Eldridge and Michael S. Day, Vice Chairs Lydia Edwards and Christine P. Barber and members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.
The public is invited to participate in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary's hybrid hearing on December 5, 2023 at 1:00pm. Please note that the Chair will limit testimony to one time, for a total of three minutes, per individual.
The Office of the Attorney General has asserted that it is unlawful for a housing provider not to protect tenants from harassment. I wrote to seek a meeting with the Attorney General or the Policy & Government Affairs Division to discuss the issues around bullying, mobbing, and hostile environment harassment. I asked to include tenants and the legislative sponsors of H3868—a bill to create an office of the tenant advocate that would protect the rights of tenants when landlords fail to prevent hostile environment harassment.