Bullying Legislation To Address Public Housing Crisis

At last, a solid, well-researched, in depth article about major issues in public housing, including bullying, has been published by WickedLocal. The lead article by WickedLocal reporter, Willam J. Dowd, provides an excellent review of the issues around bullying, with interviews and quotes from some of the key players. Against this background, Dowd notes the work of the Stop Bullying Coalition to advance a strong ombuds bill to protect tenants of public and subsidized housing from bullying.

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 and Ms. Kolya Lynne Smith 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. Their testimonies and that of Ms. Bonny Zeh are available here.

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.

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.

Ombuds Agency to Protect Tenants From Bullying

A Bill Establishing an Ombuds Agency Protecting Tenants From Bullying, Mobbing, and Hostile Environment Harassment in Elderly Housing

The bill as filed by Senator Joan Lovely:

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/SD1928

Below is the version as developed by the Stop Bullying Coalition

For a Safe Community, We Need Laws

 

The goal of all our efforts is not to create a utopian community where everyone loves each other and there is no strife. No, it is make it possible for people to live together despite their differences and to create a social environment that is, at least, not toxic and harmful.

This is possible through a common understanding of the limits of behavior and having a way for people to resolve differences without resorting to aggression---physical, emotional, bullying, or mobbing.