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.

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.

Editorial: Let's Protect Elderly & Disabled Tenants from COVID-19

Storm clouds loom over apartment building
In Essex County, there are unofficial reports of current cases of COVID-related deaths and illness in public and subsidized housing. This as just the beginning of what can swiftly become a statewide disaster unless there is rapid and immediate implementation of protocols based on best practices and enforcement of public health rulings. For this, we need new legislation.

Open Letter to the Joint Committee on Public Health

The purpose of the recently passed law, Acts (2020) Chapter 93, https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2020/Chapter93 is to protect the public health. As tenants in public and subsidized housing for elderly and disabled people, we are highly vulnerable to infection and severe outcomes. Only good information, openly and transparently available, can alert us and the public to a local danger and enable us to make renewed efforts at personal and community protection. Our housing providers in too many cases simply do not care to do their part, and with information we can hold them accountable. The Governor is voiding provisions of that act of the Legislature which he had signed into law on June 7, 2020 by failing to implement certain provisions in a timely fashion. The law mandated the Department of Public Health to collect and publish data on infections and deaths from COVID-19 in a timely and transparent fashion covering "elder care facilities," defined in that act to include

A Strong Ombuds

Our proposed modifications of S985 will provide protection for victims of bullying and accountability for the landlord. We speak from the perspective of tenants and others who are familiar with the realities of bullying in multifamily housing, and based on extensive observation, research, and testimony. Bullying is extremely harmful to elderly and disabled persons living in multifamily housing. In law, the landlord is responsible for assuring peaceful enjoyment, but the tenant has no feasible way to be protected from bullying or to hold the landlord to account.