[act-ma] Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants Newsletter
Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants
maht at saveourhomes.org
Mon Mar 16 18:25:24 PDT 2009
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Save Our Homes Newsletter
Attention MAHT Tenants
MAHT Membership Meeting
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Harriet Tubman House
566 Columbus Avenue
Boston, MA 02118
Morning Munchies, Coffee and Lunch will be served.
Don't miss this opportunity to meet with your colleagues in solidarity to develop
statewide and national strategy for 2009.
Hear the report back from the DC NAHT strategy meeting.
Also - it's time to renew your dues for many MAHT members.
* Orange line to Mass. Avenue or 66 Bus to Columbus and Mass. Avenue
Save Our Homes Ribbon [http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1102035075033]
Clipper Ship Foundation
The Boston Foundation
Haymarket People's Fund
Roberta Thall Charitable Trust
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Mass Bar Foundation
East Canton Street Preservation Association
Dana Farber Cancer Inst.
Silver Street Development
Dr. Michael Charney
Steven Hoort, Esq.
Jonathan Klein, Esq.
William McCarthy, Esq.
Madison Park CDC
Councilor Maureen Feeney
Liz Rice Smith
Jay Rose, Esq.
Councilor Stephen Murphy
Four Corners Action Committee
Martin & Jacqueline Shaevel
Margaret Turner, Esq.
Casner & Edwards
Goulston & Storrs
The Community Builders
Willie & Pam Jones
Alice Faye James
Olivia Jean Marie
Rep. John Keenan
Reverend Brian Kelly
Add your name to this list: click here and go to our website.
William Pryor, Chair
The Brownstones Alliance
Waverly Tenants Association
Methunion Manor Cooperative
Schoolhouse 77 Tenants Association
Salem Fairweather Tenant Association
Castle Square Tenants Organization
High Point Village Families United
Rockdale West Tenants Association
Geneva Tenants Organization
Low Cost/South End Cooperative Housing
Rockdale West Tenants Association
Bradford Apartments Tenants Association
Warren Avenue Tenant Association
Asst. Director of Development and Admin.
Jill of all trades
MAHT Tenant Leaders Help Win National
Section 8 Funding!
The Mass Alliance of HUD
Tenantsplayed a key role in recently winning $2.0 billion to close a
dangerous shortfall in Section 8 funds that threatened hundreds of thousands of
low income tenants with mass displacement and the permanent loss of affordable
On Friday, March 6,
Congress sent the HUD budget for Fiscal Year 2009 to President Obama, which
along with $2 billion in the Stimulus Bill fully funds Section 8 apartments for
another year. The "Project Based
Section 8" program keeps rents affordable for 1.3 million families who live in
apartments subsidized by HUD.
The action closes a gap created
by the Bush Administration in recent years, which quietly diverted funds from
Section 8 to pay for other Administration priorities, unbeknownst to
Congress. Section 8 landlords were forced to accept
partial contracts for several months at a time, rather than the full 12 months
originally promised by HUD. This led
many owners to end their contracts with HUD and faced hundreds of thousands of
tenants with the threat of displacement if HUD ran out of funds, which actually
happened in summer 2007.
The National Alliance of HUD
Tenants (NAHT)Board uncovered the crisis in a meeting with HUD officials
in September 2007. NAHT won a a
Congressional hearing chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters, where NAHT Board member
Carolann Livingstone gave dramatic testimony on October 17 (www.saveourhomes.org).
HUD was forced publically to admit the
shortfall; previously HUD had told Congress that "administrative glitches" had
caused owners to receive late subsidy payments.
After the hearing, MAHT was the
first organization in the country to bring the issue to the public's attention,
with a rally in November 2007 at St. Botolph apartments in Boston's Fenway. The
rally sparked other actions in New York City, Providence, Dallas and other cities
in spring 2008 and a national advocacy campaign by tenant groups and their
At the June 2008 NAHT Conference, MAHT's 24 delegates joined with other
statewide tenant groups to lobby Capitol Hill officials, with the Section 8
shortfall at the top of their list. MAHT tenants joined tenants from
across the country to bring NAHT's Save Our Homes Platform to the McCain
Campaign - we were shut out by the Republicans but met with the Obama Campaign at
In October 2008, more than 55 MAHT tenant leaders and supporters marched in
Downtown Boston, again trying to deliver the Platform to the McCain Campaign
Headquarters and to bring public attention to the Section 8 shortfall. This action
was part of International Housing Day, an event MAHT has
organized locally since 2003.
MAHT's October rally sparked
similar actions in Miami,
Chicago and other cities.
MAHT leaders also helped persuade Congress to fully fund Section 8 on a
temporary basis last fall until the until the final FY 2009 budget was adopted,
which finally happened in March.
Read about the October 18 action on Open Media Here [http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102508167509&e=001ffxHulaaCznnEbamfG8zD8GZSE-69NUN_CvWvCfLSrvKceRP2vhnOuZ2jv_PKgW9cpVM2aQBr0EZndDMLrUt3STym-5gPWoHUXXnWGVC1aty7Ih58_XtnxpgMlDEIFFICxhNcFNp9Rw=]
Current Organizing News
Dateline: Lawrence, Massachusetts
Bring in 2009 with Victory!
tenants at Bradford Apartments in Lawrence are celebrating a victory as they bring
in 2009. On the
first of the year - after a long campaign to improve living conditions and
restore affordability to the property - the building was transferred over to a
new owner: Omni America LLC, based out of New York. Omni is
committed to keeping the property affordable through tax credits and has
planned a $5.9 million renovation of the property, to begin immediately. The
Bradford Tenant Association has already sent out a ltetter to the new
owners requesting complete involvement in the renovation process.
At the same time, the Bradford
Tenant Association decided to re-file the Lawrence Home Rule Petition to
Save Affordable Housing (HRP). Although the affordability of their
building looks a little safer now that it has a new owner, Bradford TA
decided to go ahead with the HRP for extra protection, recalling how the
last owner caught everyone by surprise by opting out of the Section 8 contract
in 2005 without a plan for vouchers. The Lawrence HRP would also
protect four other buildings in Lawrence that are at risk of losing their
affordability within the next two years. The Bradford Tenant
Association had a strong presence at the Lawrence City Council meeting on
January 6, 2009 and their efforts paid off as the HRP passed the Council.
Dateline: Roslindale, Massachusetts
High Point Village Families United Demands Equity in Treatment
from Landlord FRM
Since August 2006, owner Kargman's FRM
Management Company has been providing amenity upgrades only for new market
rate tenants moving into High Point/Stonybrook Commons. Long-time lower-income tenants
were left out in the cold.
HPFU delivers petition to First Realty
November 17, 2008 High Point Village Families United (HPFU)
HPFU had won agreement from the Boston Housing Authority that it would pay higher
subsidies to FRM to offset costs for upgrades provided to long time residents.
letter and petition signed by 237 residents to First Realty, demanding that
upgrades (like remodeled kitchens and bathrooms, new full sized appliances,
planked floors, eat-in kitchens and breakfast bar, and washer/dryer hookups be
provided for ALL residents, not just the new market-rate residents.
ROXSE Tenants Elect New Leadership
Demand Mass Housing Remove Corrupt Manager
At the ROXSE Tenants Council (RTC)
Annual Membership Meeting on December 18, 2008, tenants unanimously voted to
remove Carmen Storms as President and elect Assistant Treasurer George Jones to
fill out the rest of her two-year term.
"As President, I
pledge to call regular Membership meetings of all the tenants to hear and
respond to your concerns," Jones told the jubilant gathering. "Now we'll be able
to move forward in a united way, to work for our vision
of tenant ownership, without interference by Cornerstone
management." Jones' election was met with applause, cheers and
hugs by the tenants at the United Emanuel Holiness Church meeting.
Chuck Turner chaired the election at the request of the RTC Board. The
meeting also elected additional Board members to the 25 member body and amended
the By-Laws to strengthen accountability and limit management
Roxse Tenants Gather for Photo at UEH Church
MAHT has staffed the RTC's campaign to win
ownership and removal of corrupt management since 2005. Under the
leadershiop of former RTC presdient Jim McNeill, MAHT previously staffed RTC's
nationally significant victory to block a HUD appointed sale to California
speculators and inclusion in Mass Housing's Demo Dispo Program.
Tenants voted 38 to 0 to remove Storms after she failed to provide any
information to tenants about $27,143 she improperly received from Cornerstone
and Mass Housing on behalf of the RTC, without the Board's knowledge or
authorization. In a January 21, 2009 letter to the RTC, the Massachusetts
Attorney General's Office concluded that "President Storms lacked the
authority to request, receive, deposit and expend RTC Funds." Since
her election as President in October 2007, Storms had also failed to attend or
call meetings of the RTC Board of Directors.
Mass Housing Fails to Respond
June 2005, the RTC has demanded that Mass Housing, which oversees the 346 unit
development, remove Cornerstone Properties and their resident on-site manager,
Linda Evans, for corruption, harassment of tenants and hostility to the elected
tenants organization. Evans has fought to prevent the Board from taking
over the property as General Partner, even using armed guards to keep out the
RTC's attorneys from tenant meetings called by Evans and Storms. Storms was viewed
by residents as a close ally of Evans. Aformer
presdident of RTC, Evans engineered the trasnfer of ROXSE to Cornerstone for
$1.00 in 2004, after HUD spent $50 m on repairs. In what the RTC calls a
"corrupt bargain", Cornerstone then rewarded Evans by hiring her as
from former Senator Diane Wilkerson, who received at least $15,000 in campaign
contributions from Cornerstone principals, Mass Housing has refused to
investigate allegations of apartment selling and unlawful apartment assignments
by Evans, instead funding Storms to fight the Board. Mass Housing has refused
to recognize or meet with the elected Board since 2006, despite repeated
Dateline: Fenway Neighborhood, Boston, MA
St. Botolph Terrace Tenant
Long Overdue Parking Spaces for Tenants
After years of effort, St.
Botolph Terrace Tenant Associationwon a victory for St. Botolph Terrace
tenants - the city has instituted resident-only parking around the building, to
compensate for the extreme lack of off-street parking provided to
tenants. Persistent advocacy by SPTTA Rosalind Dawson and intervention by
city councilor Chuck Turner persuaded the city transportation and parking
departments to make the change. Also, the Tenant Association recently
held its first meeting of 2009 at Susan Bailis House, holding ongoing
discussion with Northeastern's management about building conditions and
On March 1, 2009 Georgetowne tenants were notified that owner Beacon Properties
plans to opt out of HUD contracts, threatening hundreds with mass displacement!
More to come...
Dateline: Roslindale, Massachusetts
Georgetowne Tenants form Tenant Association
Record Turnout in November Election
On Election Day 2008 Georgetowne tenants scored a record voter turnout and a lopsided
"no" vote on Question 1, which would have abolished the state income tax and slashed
For the fourth year in a row, MAHT's voter registration team moblized residents,
registering 72 more voteres in 2008.
Right before the November election, Georgetown residents met to form a tenant group
to help all voters at Georgetowne turn out
on Election Day. Tenants discussed how an active tenant group could meet with Beacon
Management to talk about repairs and long-term affordability. (HUD contracts that
keep 967 Georgetowne apartments affordable expire in 2010 and 2012.)
tenants have met four times since last Fall and at their meeting on
December 4 decided to form a Tenant Association. The purpose of
Georgetowne Tenants Unitedis to preserve long-term affordability at
Georgetowne for current and future residents and to ensure repairs are made in
a timely manner.
The major concerns expressed at recent meetings were snow removal, mice, mold,
heating, and the lack of a nearby convenience store. Tenants are now meeting
on a regular basis to discuss ways they can go about protecting affordability
at Georgetowne and how to address the issues above.
At its January meeting, Georgetowne Tenants Unitedvoted to survey Georgetowne residents
to identify issues to
raise with management at a later meeting.
Dateline Salem, Massachusetts
Fairweather United Tenant Association Comes Alive!
Residents of over 320 apartments in Beverly, Salem and Peabody have united to form
the Fairweather United Tenant Association (FUTA), and are helping to organize residents
of a fourth Fairweather building in Danvers as well.
Already they have met with management, winning concessions to improve the quality
of life in their buildings.
These tenants, mostly seniors, have engaged management to deal with several difficult
issues recently. When cleaning and snow-ploughing contractors did not perform up
to par, residents let management know, and the contractors were replaced by companies
that met higher standards. And, with residents' input, management is installing
workout equipment, computer rooms, new TV's in common areas, and other amenities.
During a recent push by MAHT to get support for crucial legislation protecting HUD-subsidized
housing, FUTA members reached out to their legislators to ask for their support,
winning co-sponsorship from their Senator and all three of their Representatives.
In November, the Tenants Association held an election to replace outgoing president,
Marcie Gagnon, who will continue as a Board member of MAHT. The new FUTA president
is Barbara Wolcott, a resident of the Salem building.
Her outlook on being organized? "You get more accomplished when you have a good
Dateline: Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and Jamaica Plain
Jonathan Realty aka Mattapan Apartments:
Tenants win pledge to keep affordable rents!
many tenants in the Mattapan/TAB II/Morton St. Apartments organized around
building concerns and started building Tenant Unions. They met with the landlord
Realty) winning building repairs. Also, a prior notice was sent by
Jonathan Realty (a year before the one-year obligated notice of intent to
tenants) informing tenants they plan to renew the Mattapan/TAB II/Morton Apartments
contract in 2010 for another five years.
Tenants also won a right to be involved in Jonathan Realty's Mattapan/TAB
II/Morton Apartments annual inspections and the annual inspection with Jonathan
Realty and Mass Housing as well. The tenants have forged
alliances with neighborhood agencies who allow them use of meeting
space, which has led them to discuss program services at their tenant union
Tenants from the tenant unions in the Mattapan Apartments formed a
newsletter committee that has printed and distributed a 2008 winter edition. Other
tenants have been instrumental in getting
their legislators attention to support the Enabling Act to Save Affordable Housingthat
has been refiled this year by calling and lobbying
legislators at the State House. The Mattapan Apartment tenant unions and
tenants continue to meet to improve the quality of life in their environment,
and to form new tenant unions.
Dateline: Brighton, Massachusetts
Association Gets ready for a fight
In August of 2008,
one of the largest apartment owners in the world, a Real Estate Investment
Trust (REIT) from Colorado called AIMCO, purchased Waverly Apartments in
Brighton. The previous owner, Francis Collanino, didn't bother to let residents
know about the
upcoming sale, and refused all requests to meet with the Waverly Tenants
Association after they found out. Still, it came as a shock when AIMCO paid
over $176,000 per unit, and residents started worrying about rent increases.
notorious for buying up affordable properties and flipping them to market
rates, displacing low income tenants. They see these apartments
as nothing more than investments on which they can cash in to boost profits, even
though taxpayers over the years have paid
almost all the value of the buildings.
At an October meeting with AIMCO, the Waverly Tenants Association (WTA) learned
that AIMCO planned immediate rent increases up to $300 for some tenants, which they
said was the "first round" of increases. Almost immediately, the WTA began hearing
from residents saying they would have to move out if their rents increased.
officials who represent Brighton have refused to support legislation that
would solve the problems at Waverly as well as those at HUD-subsidized
buildings across Massachusetts. Either the Boston Home Rule Petition or the
Statewide Enabling Act would regulate rents and limit increases at formerly HUD-subsidized
buildings like Waverly.
Rep. Michael Moran and Sen. Anthony Galluccio, who
represent Waverly at the State House, have told residents not to expect their
support for either bill. And Kevin Honan, who represents Brighton and co-chairs
the Housing Committee, has refused even to allow the bills for a vote in the House.
working with the Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants, the WTA wrote to AIMCO proposing
a creative solution to the crisis faced by their community. For lower income
residents, they proposed applying for what are called Project-based Vouchers
from the local Housing Authority. For higher income residents, existing state
and local resources could be used to assemble a special fund, which in turn
would be tapped to pay residents' rent increases. If AIMCO accepts this plan
and the funds can be found, AIMCO's income would stay the
same while Waverly residents wouldn't be socked with a massive increase.
The WTA is waiting for AIMCO's response.
MAHT Celebrates its
With an Amazing Party and a
Tribute to its Supporters
Muriel O'Neil of MAHT and Angela Brown, Hyams Foundation
25 Ann Roberta Thall [http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1102035075033]
Roberta Thall of the Roberta Thall Charitable Trust
25th twleve [http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1102035075033]
Bob Wadsworth, The Boston Foundation
On December 16, 2008
one-hundred people gathered at Susan Bailis House in the Fenway to help Mass
Alliance of HUD Tenants celebrate its 25th anniversarywith music, potluck
dinner and a program honoring the many tenant leaders who helped lead the many
MAHT victories. In addition, we paid tribute to three funders who have
been intrepid in their support and their faith in the work of MAHT: Roberta Thall
of the Roberta Thall Charitable Trust, Angela Brown of the Hyams
Foundation and Bob Wadsworth, formerly of the Boston Foundation.
Una Voce Sings for MAHT's Anniversary
Board President William Pryor the Emcee for the evening, the program started
off with songs by Una Voce, a world music singing group from the South End
whose members include Eleanor McCarthy a MAHT tenant leader and MAHT Board
Member. Following Una Voce's presentation, MAHT's first treasurer and
long-time housing advocate from the Fenway - Mat Thall - welcomed people to the
event and spoke briefly about the past 25 years. From there, MAHT's 25
year history was represented by tenant leaders from various buildings who stood
to tell their stories about successful struggles to save their homes. Speakers included
Annette Richards from Schoolhouse 77; Maggie Costa from East
Canton Street Tenants Association; John Davis from Mishawum Park in
Charlestown; Mary Yeaton of Charlesbank Apartments; and Salea Perry from High
Point Village Families United.
Maggie Costa, William Pryor & Erika Cushenberry
Following the presentation of the history of the past 25 years, MAHT Board
members paid tribute to our honorees and each honoree spoke of their
relationship with Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants.
The end of the evening was marked by inspirational testimony and beautiful song
MAHT Board member and leader, Juanita McCoy.
Jean Wassell & Diane Huggins (Amy Lowell House)
Juanita McCoy (former MAHT Board member & inspirational singer)
John Ward (Mishawum Park, Charlestown)
25th ten [http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1102035075033]
William Pryor and Salea Perry (MAHT)
25th three [http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1102035075033]
Rosalind Dawson (St. Botolph Terrace TA)
25th Ann 1 [http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1102035075033]
Michael Kane and party goers
25th nineteen [http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1102035075033]
Annette Richards (Schoolhouse 77)
25th Four [http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1102035075033]
Mary Yeaton (Charlesbank Coop, Roxbury)
The next generation [http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1102035075033]
The Next Generation
Momentum Builds for Legislation to Save Our Homes!
tenants have broadened the support at the State House for no-cost legislation to
save at risk, expiring use housing. MAHT tenants have been spearheading this movement
to pass legislation to Save Our Homes since 1997.
MAHT's Enabling Act to Save Affordable Housing was filed in the Senate and the House,
securing more sponsors than in the prior session. The Statewide Enabling Act to
Save Affordable Housing was filed by Senator Berry in the Senate and Representative
Smizik in the House. MAHT's Lobby Leadership Team secured 39 co-sponsors in the
House and 9 co-sponsors in the Senate over the past three weeks.
Additionally Five Home Rule Petitions were re-filed by the cities of Boston, New
Bedford, Quincy, Lowell and Salem -- with more on the way!
Join MAHT's tenant
lobby leadership team - tenant leaders from around the state
who've worked hard to re-file these bills and secure sponsors and
These bills will
provide no cost tools to save affordable housing: they are tools to be used at the
local governments and their passage is urgently needed in a time of budget crisis
and continued threats to affordable housing.
Watch for a separate legislative update, which will be out shortly.
This email was sent to act-ma at act-ma.org by maht at saveourhomes.org.
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