A safe and stable place to call home is one of the most basic human rights, and to feel respected and heard is one the most human needs.
The Needham Housing Authority (NHA), where many of our neighbors and friends reside, has experienced deep instability in recent history. In an effort to address these issues, I have worked with residents, community partners, housing organizations, and state agencies to establish a strong partnership with local, state and federal leadership to support the residents, management and the Housing Authority Commissioners. We are all working to ensure an environment that is safe, respectful and sustainable. Together, we are in the process of clarifying the rights and responsibilities of residents, the Board of Commissioners, agency staff, town staff and caring groups of Needham and working on clarifying channels of communication.
I commend the residents who are organizing to establish a public housing tenant organization, which will enable them to work with fellow residents and NHA staff to address issues about their homes and in the community.
To support and empower residents in their efforts, I am hosting the Massachusetts Union for Public Housing Tenants, working with the Massachusetts Department of Community and Housing Development (DHCD), for an informational meeting on rights and responsibilities as well as tools for communication on Tuesday, October 29. There will be a 3:30 PM meeting for tenants in Linden Street and Chamber Street units and another meeting a 5:30 PM for Captain Cook Drive and Seabed’s Way units. Both meetings will be held in the Linden/Chambers Community Room and are open to all.
Additionally, many Town departments and organizations of the Needham Community are involved in facets of the lives of our neighbors living in public housing. I was pleased to host a “Community Partners reception” so that the Town staff, groups and organizations engaged with the staff and residents of the Needham Housing Authority can offer their many skills and resources to actively contribute to a positive and supportive transition as the NHA staff and residents work through this period of transition. The entities represented in this meeting were the Needham Community Council, Needham Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, Needham Select Board, Needham Police Department, The Needham Community Farm, Inc. Community Farm, Charles River YMCA, Springwell, Olin College of Engineering, and various town agencies: Council on Aging, Public Health, Youth and Family Services, and Parks and Recreation. In this meeting, MassNAHRO (the professional association of public housing authorities) gave a training on community relationships and best practices. Together, we are actively working to support the residents, staff and Board of Commissioners of the Needham Housing Authority.
The goal is to ensure that individuals who live in the Needham Housing Authority reside in a safe, stable, sustainable community where they are respected and valued in a community and Town that welcomes and supports them.