The following was submitted to Sharon Patch by the Sharon Housing Authority.
The Sharon Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and staff announces its support for a sweeping housing reform proposal that will result in greater cost efficiency and improved services for public housing residents while preserving the longstanding tradition of local decision-making.
The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (MassNAHRO), has introduced legislation which will streamline the delivery of housing services to low-income families, disabled and senior citizens. They propose a targeted regional approach based on shared collaborative functions among local housing authorities.
This proposal will retain governance of the housing authorities such as ours at the local level. The Sharon Housing Authority believes this will be far preferable to Governor Patrick’s proposed legislation that will eliminate local control over public housing and shift the responsibility to six regional authorities governed by the state.
The Sharon Housing Authority is concerned that the Governor’s proposal will eliminate local housing authorities and negatively impact the residents. The Governor’s proposal will greatly reduce the ability to locally respond to the needs of our residents. It could also have a negative community economic impact resulting from the loss of local jobs, while incurring high costs for the start-up and ongoing operation of the regional agencies.
“The needs of Sharon residents are much better served by keeping these responsibilities in the hands of local staff instead of turning them over to a regional bureaucracy,” said Jane Desberg, Executive Director of the Sharon Housing Authority, in a statement on Tuesday, Feb. 5. “Every community has unique needs, and the local housing authority is best governed by locally appointed and elected board members who know the needs of their community.”
At the same time, the Sharon Housing Authority recognizes the need for reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of local housing authority management and operations while maintaining local control. The legislation filed by MassNAHRO and supported by the Sharon Housing Authority will accomplish this goal.
“The reforms proposed by MassNAHRO will increase public trust in housing authorities by improving the quality and cost effectiveness of services to our residents while requiring full transparency and accountability in our operations,” said Desberg. “Most importantly, the Sharon Housing Authority will continue to be owned and operated locally, supported by the community, and responsive to the needs of its residents for whom we were established to serve.”