44 Harry Kemp Way Provincetown, MA 02657 PHA@ProvincetownHousing.org 508-487-0434

PHA Tenant Association

Tenants Association

Hello Residents,

At a meeting held on August 12, 2019 of the Provincetown Housing Authority Tenants Association the following Officers were elected:

President, Roger Chauvette
Vice President, Nancy Yeaw
Secretary/Treasurer, Sasha Curran
Please bring any input you have to them or the office.

Your Tenant Representative Commissioner on the PHA Board of Commissioners was also elected:

Commissioner, Charlene Parris

The rules of Public Housing protect your tenant rights and encourage your involvement and input on your housing!

For more info check out:

PHA Tenant Association


https://www.masslegalhelp.org/housing/tenants-rights-in-public-housing

Publications

OR ask questions at the office!

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From the MassUnion website: www.massunion.org

On July 31, 2014, the Senate and the House passed H. 4374, An Act relative to local housing authorities (LHA) and sent it to the Governor. On August 6, Governor Patrick signed the bill into law as Chapter 235 of the Acts of 2014

New Requirement for Tenants on Town LHA Boards
Under the current law, cities have a dedicated tenant seat. Now, for the first time, as a result of a recommendation made by MUPHT, under Section 6 of the law, tenants in towns will also have a dedicated seat.  This proved to be a controversial provision of the act. At the end of the legislative process, language was included in Section 15 that requires DHCD to study the feasibility of alternatives to this requirement, including establishing a 7-person LHA board (which would further dilute the tenant vote), permitting the town to establish a tenant advisory board to review PHA financials and capital plan decision, and spelling out what circumstances might altogether exempt a town from a requirement to have a dedicated tenant seat. DHCD must conduct this study and make recommendations and submit its findings to the Joint Committee on Housing no later than December 31, 2014. Next steps: Develop a good election process to bring to DHCD and discuss with DHCD how it plans to approach the feasibility study.  

Chapter 235
AN ACT RELATIVE TO LOCAL HOUSING AUTHORITIES
     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

Section 5A.  The department shall promulgate regulations establishing election procedures for tenants to elect a tenant as a member of the housing authority in the town and regulations establishing appointment by the board of selectmen of the town, if no election may be held; provided, however, that 1 member of the housing authority board shall be a tenant. The department shall provide regulations creating waiver of this section if federal law requires the town to maintain a tenant member as 1 of the 5 members or if a tenant has been elected under section 5.
Section 5B.  The department shall establish and implement a comprehensive training program for members of a housing or redevelopment authority. The training program shall be developed by the department in consultation with representatives of local housing authorities, municipal officials, public housing residents, public housing industry professional organizations and relevant state agencies.
The department shall provide instructions and training to members on the proper management of a housing or redevelopment authority. The instructions and training shall include, but not be limited to, the following laws and topics: (i) the open meeting law established pursuant to sections 18 to 25, inclusive, of chapter 30A; (ii) the public records law established pursuant to chapter 66; (iii) the conflict of interest law established pursuant to chapter 268A; (iv) the uniform procurement act established pursuant to chapter 30B; (v) state finance provisions established pursuant to chapter 29; (vi) fraud prevention; (vii) fiduciary responsibilities; (viii) fair housing laws; (ix) tenant occupancy and tenant participation policies; (x) the laws prohibiting discrimination in publicly assisted housing established pursuant to clauses 6 to 7B, inclusive, of section 4 of chapter 151B; and (xi) best practices relating to the general inspection, maintenance and repair of existing units and capital improvements in public housing. The department may consult with the attorney general and the inspector general in developing instructions and training programs pursuant to this section.
The department shall further provide independent technical assistance training to tenant members. The department shall develop the training with the goal of enabling tenant members and members of local tenant organizations to participate fully in the oversight of the housing authority’s operation and capital planning. The department shall permit tenants and local tenant organizations who are not members to attend technical assistance training.
Upon appointment and reappointment or election and reelection, all members shall complete a training program, as developed by the department, within 90 days of assuming the member’s position. Members shall complete a training program every 2 years. Failure to complete a training program within 90 days of assuming a position as a member or failure to complete a training program every 2 years may constitute neglect of duty and that member may be subject to removal proceedings pursuant to section 6.

Affordable housing”, homeownership or rental housing which is restricted to occupancy by low or moderate income households of 1 or more persons and for which the sale price or rent is affordable as defined by the criteria for inclusion in the department’s subsidized housing inventory or consistent with funding sources.
“Affordable housing development”, a development of new or rehabilitated affordable housing which may include market-rate housing if such market-rate housing is reasonably necessary for the financial feasibility of construction or operation of the affordable housing.
“Extremely low income household”, a household with a gross income at or less than 30 per cent of area median household income as most recently determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, adjusted for household size.
“Housing authority”, a housing authority established pursuant to section 3.
“Low or moderate income household”, a household with gross income at or less than 80 per cent of area median household income as most recently determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, adjusted for household size; provided, however, that in Nantucket or Dukes county “low or moderate income household” shall mean persons and households earning less than 150 per cent of Nantucket county or the county of Dukes County median household income as reported from time to time by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Market-rate housing”, homeownership or rental housing which is not restricted to occupancy by low or moderate income households; provided, however, that “market-rate housing” may be available for occupancy by households without regard to income and may also include housing subject to maximum income limits to be occupied by households with gross income greater than 80 per cent but not more than 150 per cent of the area median household income as most recently determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, adjusted for household size.

Limitations for Board Members
The success of the LHA is dependent upon all parties not only meeting responsibilities, but also refraining from activities and tasks that are beyond the scope of their responsibilities. Board members must abstain from:
 Carrying on the day-to-day operation of the LHA;
 Assigning tasks directly to staff. Assignments to staff are made
by the executive director. Assignments to the executive director
are made by the board at its meetings.
 Violating the privacy of applicants or tenants by:
 holding a master key;
 having access to applicant or tenant files;
 having access to names of applicants; and
 entering tenant apartments as a board member;
 Participating in tenant selection process;
 Seeking personal gain by action(s) as a board member;
 Acting, speaking, or conducting business on behalf of the
authority without the express, formal consent of the LHA board;
and
 Entering into conflict of interest situations prohibited by M.G.L. c.
268A and DHCD’s regulations on code of conduct set out in 760 CMR 4.04.

The Staff – Responsibilities
Responsibilities of LHA staff
The LHA executive director, supported by his or her staff, is responsible for, but not limited too:
 Attending all board meetings;
 Implementing LHA policy;
 Implementing DHCD and HUD regulations and guidelines, as
applicable;
 Preparing reports at the request of the board, DHCD, and HUD,
as applicable;
 Preparing operating and capital annual budgets and plans for
approval by the board.
 Implementing the management plan approved by the board and
DHCD;
 Preparing grant applications at the direction of the board;
 All aspects of employment for staff following procedures set forth
in the personnel policy;
 Carrying on the day-to-day activities of the LHA to support and
service the needs of the tenants; and
 Ensuring the maintenance and modernization as needed of the
public housing units and developments in order to provide safe and decent housing to tenants and preserve the investments of the Commonwealth.
If the LHA is experiencing dysfunction, it is the responsibility of the board to develop a plan for corrective action and ensure implementation of this plan by the executive director and the staff. DHCD can provide LHA Boards the necessary support in developing and implementing plans for corrective actions.

760 CMR 4.03(1)(a)

4.03: General Requirements
(1) Each LHA shall administer its operations in a fair, accessible and even-handedconsistent manner. Such administration shall include but not be limited to;
(a) keeping and posting office hours (a) creating and maintaining a website or web page and keeping and posting key information, including LHA office hours, the names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses or other means of contact for the LHA’s Executive Director and Assistant Director (if any), all LHA board members and senior staff, and copies of its Annual Plan on its website, in its central office and on the wall of the community center or other conspicuous location for each of its developments in accordance with the Department’s guidelines so that tenants, applicants, local and state officials and the general public have a reasonably convenient abilitymeans to communicate with the LHA and to take steps necessary to access the LHA’s programs and opportunities.

(d) posting in a conspicuous place in the LHA’s central office and on its website or webpage, a notice stating that any individual who believes he or she has been denied employment or housing, discharged, or has suffered discrimination in compensation or in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment or housing on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, age, ancestry, disability, marital status, veteran status, membership in the armed forces, presence of children, or political beliefs, or any other basis prohibited by law, has the right to file a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD).

Local Tenant Organization
The management of state-aided public housing is built on the idea that the participation by tenants and household members through an effective tenant organization benefits the housing authority and its residents. Good communication and a strong working relationship with the tenant organization is the goal. But providing opportunities for tenant participation is not simply recommended, it is a mandate, supported by state statute and regulations and requires the active support of the LHA management and the board.
Board members need to understand when the regulations require consultation with the Local Tenant Organization (LTO) before an action is taken or a rule is made.
An LTO is an organization of tenants that has been officially recognized by the housing authority, after meeting certain requirements, to represent some or all of the tenants. This process is found in 760 CMR 6.09 (2). If an LTO has not been recognized, the LHA must “encourage and assist…” tenants to form an LTO, (760 CMR 6.09 (2)(a). The LTO must be consulted and given an opportunity to appear before the board whenever an LHA is thinking about adopting, amending, or seeking a waiver of a rule or policy that affects residents, (6.09 (3)(g). Under the regulations, the LTO has a right to:
 Funding by the LHA, (6.09 (3)(c).
 Notification of LHA jobs and participation in the hiring process, (6.09 (3)(j, k). Tenants receive preference in LHA hiring, (6.09 (3)(j).
 Notice of board meetings, (6.09 (3)(l).
 Notice and participation in capital planning, modernization,
and construction, (760 CMR 11.00).
 Negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding with the LHA to describe the formal relationship between the two entities.
This is a partial list of regulations that relate to tenant participation. Board members should become familiar with the complete text of the sections noted. While they describe the formal relationship between the LTO and the housing authority, the goal is open, clear communication and the development of a good working relationship.