House Ways and Means Committee Recommends $110 Million for MRVP!
Thank you to Representative Michelwitz and the House Ways and Means committee for recommending an increase in Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) funding to $110 million! This is a great start and Representative Donato has filed an amendment to return MRVP to historical funding levels of at least $130 million per year. Over the past several months, MAHT has been working with our partners in the Building Blocks and Housing Solutions Campaigns to advocate for increased funding for MRVP to assist low-income tenants, increase low-income housing production and preserve MRVP housing components in many 13A buildings. As constituents, the Mercantile Wharf Tenants Association met with Representative Michelwitz to push for increased funding for MRVP to keep them in their homes and preserve the units for future low-income tenants in desperate need of deeply affordable housing. 13A tenants clearly had an impact in this process and will continue to fight for an even larger increase in MRVP through Representative Donato's amendment, in the Senate budget and final budget!
MAHT Spring Membership Meeting
Spring Membership Meeting
Saturday, April 6th
42 Seaverns Avenue
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
MAHT 13A tenant and Section 8 tenant groups continue to fight for creative solutions to save their buildings as contracts expire and 3-year protections wind down. Hear the latest!
In Boston, MAHT's City Rent Subsidy Coalition has been working hard to win funds for low-income renters by targeting at least 50% of new property tax revenue from luxury condos. Learn what you can do to help!
At the Statehouse, MAHT is working to pass a comprehensive anti-bullying bill for senior/handicapped housing, win more subsidies for low-income renters, and tax real estate speculation! Learn about upcoming legislation and State House hearings!
But this is no time to rest! Trump has again proposed deep cuts and rent increases for Section 8 tenants, as well as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps and programs for the poor. Hear about upcoming actions to Stop the Cuts!
Join us to plan our strategy to Save Our Homes in 2019, through the June NAHT Conference and beyond!
- Celebrate recent victories and new groups!
- Stopping HUD budget cuts in Washington: how the Trump budget affects you!
- Tax Day Action: Tuesday, April 17th, 4:30PM at Uphams Corner Health Center
- State House and City Hall campaigns for low-income tenants
- MAHT Annual Meeting May 18th at Tent City
- Discuss June NAHT Conference in DC: June 8 to June 11th!
Orange Line to Green Street, then straight on Green Street, left on Alfred Street, and right on Seaverns Avenue
39 and 41 buses stop on Centre Street, just a short walk from the office
For Questions and to RSVP, contact the MAHT office!
Anti-Bullying Legislation- how YOU can help!
Help build support for the Anti-Bullying Bill (HD 3905/SD2192)!
Elderly and disabled tenants in subsidized housing often experience bullying in their homes, whether it be from management or other residents. “Bullying” is the intentional, repeated attempt by one or more persons to impose wrongful, harmful control over one of more persons. Bullying tactics can be verbal, social or physical including gossip and actions that demand, disrespect and devalue the other. We know that bullying can cause severe distress and trauma to victims, jeopardizing the health of vulnerable seniors and disabled people.
In 2017, Governor Baker appointed a Commission to Study Ways to Prevent Bullying in Subsidized Public and Assisted Multifamily Housing and the Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants' own Michael Kane served as co-Commissioner. The Commission developed comprehensive legislation over several months with input from many advocates, constituency representatives, agency and legislative representatives.
Rep. Kevin Honan has formally filed HD 3905, “An Act to prevent and respond to bullying of elderly and disabled residents.” Sen. Joan Lovely has filed SD 2192, with identical text, in the Senate. Find the bill text here.
Modeled on legislation to address bullying in public schools, HD 3095/SD 2192 defines and prohibits “bullying”, “social bullying” and “mobbing” within Public or Subsidized Multifamily Housing for senior (55+)/handicapped people. The bill requires property owners/managers to develop a building-specific Plan to prevent and remedy bullying; train residents and building staff; and address victims’ rights to seek relief and enforcement. It would require the Attorney General’s Public Safety Division to develop a Model Prevention and Remediation Plan and Training Curriculum for owners to adapt within one year, and for owners/managers to adopt a building-specific Plan within six months of the Model Plan.
We need your help in 2 ways to build support and pass the Anti-Bullying Bill (HD3905/SD2192)!
1. Please contact your state legislators to ask for their support and co-sponsorship (see here for tips)
2. Join us this Thursday, January 31 @11 am at the State House to advocate for support (Meet at the 4th floor café in the State House)
Call our office (616-522-5133) to let us know if you'll join our lobbying team!
Concord House Tenants Save 171 Affordable South End Homes!
After an 18 month campaign, tenants at Concord House, two mid-rise buildings on Tremont Street in Boston’s South End, have won an historic victory saving 171 at-risk homes as permanently affordable housing!
The buildings’ original HUD subsidy contracts ended in 2017. Tenants were set to receive Enhanced Vouchers from HUD, but they would have been replaced by high market tenants when they left. MAHT organized the Concord House Tenants Association, which vowed to seek permanently affordable housing to preserve the South End’s diversity.
MAHT Tenants Fight Gentrification, Save 80 At-Risk Apartments in Roxbury!
After a year long battle, tenants at Esperanza Trust and Fort Hill Gardens, two properties totaling 80 units in Roxbury, are finally seeing some positive changes. Without any Section 8 funding coming to either building for a year, much needed repairs were not addressed while tenants were left wondering what would happen when Section 8 contracts end in 2020.
The current owner, Pitts, at first tried illegally to get out of the Section 8 contract early, but was blocked by HUD when MAHT organized tenants in 2017. HUD forced Pitts to hire Cruz Management. Cruz was able to stabilize the property and secure release of HUD subsidies in March 2018.Read more
MAHT Organizes Roxbury Tenants to Block Displacement, Wins Repairs
In August 2017 MAHT received a call from a tenant at Eperanza Trust, a 3 building 40-unit property in Roxbury owned by Lorenzo-Pitts, Jr. looking for information about how to legally withhold rent do to less than satisfactory repair work. This turned out to be the tip of an iceberg!
MAHT organized an emergency tenant meeting and quickly discovered that the owner was attempting to illegally terminate the Section 8 contract threatening tenants with displacement. Another 40 families at Fort Hill Gardens, also owned by Pitts, were similarly at risk. Both buildings are located in the rapidly gentrifying Fort Hill neighborhood of Roxbury.Read more
Concord House: Affordable Housing Victory Near
In 2017, MAHT helped organize tenants at Concord House, 2 buildings totaling 181 units Boston’s South End, to save their homes as HUD mortgages subsidies ended. MAHT helped roll back rent increases and helped the Concord House Tenants Association formulate a plan to preserve affordable housing by converting to Project Based Vouchers (PBVs). Many of the residents grew up in the racially diverse South End and have lived at Concord House for decades, and are determined to preserve this diversity for the South End in the future.
The owner, Charlie Gendron, agreed to the tenants plan, and ultimately passed legislation in Washington in March 2018 which will enable Concord House to convert to Project Based Vouchers if tenants consent.
Meanwhile, tenants have been issued Enhanced Vouchers from HUD . If tenants agree, the owner will preserve the building for Section 8 tenants for at least 20 years.
MAHT Makes Progress At Concord House, Wins Rent Rollback
During 2017, MAHT has made progress in saving Concord House, 181 apartments in the gentri-fying South End, as affordable housing after the HUD mortgage ends in March 2018.
In May, the owner embraced tenants’ proposal to convert HUD Enhanced Vouchers, expected in 2018, to permanent Section 8 subsidies to preserve affordable housing. Meanwhile, in March tenant Marjorie Williams was socked with a sudden, $400 per month rent hike. MAHT found that Ms. Williams and three other tenants were erroneously charged too much by the owner and Boston Housing Authority. The BHA had even urged Ms. Williams to quit her job as a personal care worker to remain in the building, which turned out to be unnecessary.
MAHT worked with the BHA to win a $400 month rent rollback, and a $1,200 rebate for Ms. Wil-liams. “The rent rollback was a godsend,” says Ms. Williams. “With MAHT”s help, I was able to save my home, and save my job!”
Meanwhile, an amendment to allow 100% preservation of Concord House as Section 8 housing is pending in Congress. MAHT hopes the bill will pass by January, 2018.
Brighton tenants win victory for Enhanced Voucher tenants across the US!
In March 2017, ten families at Waverly Apartments in Brighton received letters under their doors notifying them that they were being evicted from their apartments. The letters explained that their landlord had requested a rent increase from the Boston Housing Authority, and that the BHA had deemed the rent increase to be unreasonable. As a result, their Enhanced Vouchers could no longer be used in the development, and tenants would be forced out by the end of June.Read more