This in an alert from the Massachusetts Municipal Association this afternoon (earlier call today from Mike Sullivan with respect to the same issue – Mike concerned over town’s loss of local control over Medfield Housing Authority, where the Medfield State Hospital site is available land, especially where Gov. also has a goal of building 10,000 housing units a year until 2020) –
January 10, 2013
GOV. PROPOSES SWEEPING CONSOLIDATION
OF LOCAL HOUSING AUTHORITIES
Municipal Officials Should Assess Local Impact and Contact Legislators
Gov. Deval Patrick announced today that he would file legislation to regionalize the operation and financial management of local housing authorities.
In a major shift in how public housing property and programs are managed in Massachusetts, the Governor’s bill would consolidate the current roster of 240 local housing authorities into six regional authorities that would, in the words of the Administration, “take over ownership and fiscal and operational management of all public housing in the Commonwealth.”
The text of the legislation has not yet been released. However, according to the Administration’s description of the plan unveiled by the Governor at a State House press conference at noon on Thursday, January 10th, each of the six new regional housing authorities would be governed and administered by a single executive director with a new governing board consisting of 9 appointees by the Governor, and be supported by central and regional management staff and local site managers.
The Governor’s official announcement said that the legislation will allow communities to “retain control over land use and significant redevelopment decisions, including change of use, ownership or the financial structure of an existing building or vacant land,” and the new regional housing authorities “will also be required to seek local input into an annual plan that outlines projected capital and operating expenditures and tenant activities.”
The Governor’s bill, when filed, will be referred to the Joint Committee on Housing for a public hearing later this year, providing more time for full analysis of the details. The proposal is expected to be highly controversial with most housing authority executive directors and commissioners opposing it. The MMA encourages you to contact your legislators as soon as possible if you have concerns about having your housing authority and its assets consolidated into the Governor’s new plan.