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.

We and Our Leaders Can Control COVID

Buds on branches of red maple against blue sky
Excitement is in the air. It is spring, people are being vaccinated, and we all anticipate a speedy end to the crisis. But wait, there’s more. It will be weeks before everyone who is willing is vaccinated, and there are variants which the vaccine may not protect us from. We all need to continue taking every precaution for weeks to come. Together, we can survive the pandemic, and the governor should reconsider his policies on reopening and enforcement. Caution is most important for elderly people, including those living in public or subsidized housing, because we are the most vulnerable to the severe outcomes of COVID. “For the two week period prior to April 14, 2021, the average age of Massachusetts residents who have died from COVID-19 was 74 years old.”

Guest Article: From PETRA to RAD—The Path to Converting 140,000 Public Housing Units

Colorful, semi-abstract depiction of apartment buildings
More than $10 billion in private financing has been invested in public housing thanks to the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. But housing advocates say it comes at a cost, and there still isn’t enough oversight of the program. As Beacon Hill considers legislation to assure the renovation and continuation of public housing, including through public-private partnerships, we are concerned about the rights of tenants under private developers. Lillian M. Ortiz provides us with a history of privatization that must inform our efforts going forward. We are proud to publish this guest article by Lillian M. Ortiz, originally published in Shelterforce, the voice of community development. Lillian M. Ortiz is the Managing Editor of Shelterforce magazine. Shelterforce is an independent publication that serves (and sometimes challenges) community development practitioners across the United States.

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Doom or hope?

If we act to prevent the surge which has already begun, there is hope. If we deny the real danger, we will be doomed. COVID doesn't despair or hope, it mutates, multiplies, and has the advantage. To survive, we should use the vaccine in a strategic way, reduce indoor gatherings, and enforce mandated masking.

Governor Baker, Here's How to Mitigate & Prevent COVID in Housing

Governor Baker and Jerry Halberstadt join against hatred of Americans of Asian descent in Peabody Square on March 27
I was proud to stand with you—and many friends, neighbors, and elected officials—against hatred of Americans of Asian descent in Peabody Square on March 27. At your invitation, I am writing to share ideas for mitigation and prevention of COVID-19 in housing for elderly and disabled persons

Vaccine Day At Peabody Fairweather

Glen Jalbert, Fairweather resident, and Caroline Cubbison, resident physician at North Shore Medical, give a thumbs up after Glen is vaccinated. Sharon Cameron, Director of the Peabody Health Department, looks on.
Today, on March 26, 2021, at Fairweather apartments in Peabody, a team of nurses and doctors administered a COVID vaccine to 29 people, out of a population of 80 current tenants. Some, like Glen Jalbert, and several others, had already recovered from COVID. Many of those receiving the vaccine are frail, and might not have been able to travel outside the building to a central vaccine clinic. PHOTO: Glen Jalbert, Fairweather resident, and Caroline Cubbison, resident physician at North Shore Medical, give a thumbs up after Glen is vaccinated. Sharon Cameron, Director of the Peabody Health Department, looks on.

Adventures With COVID-19 & Vaccination

Photo: Bonny Zeh's story begins with her shopping for supplies to make origami like her folded paper dog.
After I had COVID I was vaccinated. COVID-19 is no joke, and I only had a mild to moderate case of COVID. I had side effects from the vaccine—they aren’t that bad—COVID is worse, and I know the difference from personal experience. Photo: Bonny Zeh's story begins with her shopping for supplies to make origami like her folded paper dog.

Are We Safe Now?

One unmasked tenant sitting with others in an entrance lobby said,

“Oh, isn't it great that the pandemic is almost over, that’s why we can hang out without masks.”

This conversation took place in the lobby of an apartment building of 112 units in Salem public housing for the elderly and disabled, where at least 9 tenants have current or recent cases of COVID, including one recent COVID death—a rate of 8% infections.