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Governor's Proposal All But Abolishes Danvers Housing Authority. What Do You Think?

Doing away with local housing boards is Gov. Patrick's idea for slashing public housing cost and corruption. Do you think that's a good idea?

The Danvers Housing Authority, one of 240 public housing authorities across Massachusetts, would all but vanish as part of a proposal from Gov. Deval Patrick to streamline public housing management operations.

The purpose of local housing authorities is to manage and maintain subsidized housing and, often, to advocate for affordable housing for lower-income residents.

The administration reportedly estimates the consolidation would save more than $10 million a year in salaries and administrative costs.

According to the Boston Globe, while Gov. Patrick's proposal would centralize public housing management into six regional ­offices, a small number of managers and maintenance workers would remain at local housing author­ities.

And, says the Globe, cutting local boards would would do away with the need for more than 1,000 politically appointed commissioners.

A press release from the governor's says this about local input:

Underscoring the critical role that local communities play in supporting public housing, the legislation allows communities to retain control over land use and significant redevelopment decisions including change of use, ownership or the financing structure of an existing building or vacant land. RHAs will also be required to seek local input into an annual plan that outlines projected capital and operating expenditures and tenant participation activities. 

The consolidation move comes in the wake of troubling corruption scandals uncovered by the Globe, which were partly possible because holding hundreds of separate housing authorities accountable is a management challenge.

What we know so far of the governor's proposal sounds like a move toward more accountable, efficient government. But would it also mean less local say and control over public housing in Danvers? Does that matter to you? What could and should change if control is transferred to regional offices?

Carla King January 13, 2013 at 12:26 PM
I would be very concerned if this happened. There are many great housing authorities in the commonwealth who are able to run efficient housing authorities without a great deal of monies from state and fed govt. Danvers Housing Authority for one is well run and has been for as long as I have been involved with dates back to 1990. The units are well maintained and units that become vacant are turned over quickly for the next tenants. We have reserves that we use to care for our buildings. We have a director that is willing to work with the larger community to build more affordable housing. I would be very concerned if the local mgt were taken away! I would not want someone who doesn’t know town to make decisions for housing here in town. We (the board) know the community, the needs, the wants and will take care of it like no other larger mgt could. The local towns/cities are not going to be well served by someone who isn’t here and it wont fix anything. There are HA's out there that are not run well and those need to be looked at and dealt with. This scares me. No regional HA will look out for the town the way your local board will.
Eleanor F. Ross January 13, 2013 at 04:39 PM
I totally agree Carla and take a look at 40B's as an example. We are getting them shoved down our throats in areas that are NOT really that appropriate for them. And in the past years Danvers has done EXTREMELY in providing for th less fortunate!! And the more government, the more worries we have and the less control of our own lives. Ellie Ross
John Brown January 13, 2013 at 08:41 PM
I suspect anything this venal and duplicitous man advocates, especially in this case when it appears to be cost effective and sane. Chances are that presently he has little control over these disparate authorities and this consolidation (framed so sensible) would dramatically increase his power over the process and give him the political plums to use as rewards and whatever.
Sean Ward January 15, 2013 at 11:11 PM
How many units does the Danvers housing authority manage and how many people (full time eq.) work there?
NicoleS February 06, 2013 at 05:40 PM
I am a resident of Danvers housing. It's bad enough that our government has slashed funding for child care vouchers and now they want to abolish housing? I am the one person who works full time to support my children. I am now faced having to quit my job because of no funding for child care. So I guess the state would rather I be on the system instead of supplying me with a voucher so I can continue to work. Makes no sense. So instead of me putting tax dollars into this state by working I am going to have to use tax dollars? I know this is way off topic but this country seems to do everything backwards.

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