On December 19, the Senate passed the Local Housing Authority (LHA) Board Member bill - S.2440, An Act relative to local housing authority board member elections, during an informal session. This bill ensures that housing authority tenants will participate in the governance of their homes. It helps LHAs in towns to operate more effectively by creating a process to appoint a resident to the tenant designated seat on housing authority boards. Click here for CHAPA's fact sheet on the bill.
In the absence of an established appointment process, the tenant board member seat in towns, which were created by public housing reform legislation in 2014, have gone unfilled. This has caused confusion among tenants, housing authorities, and town clerks.
The bill provides for a housing authority tenant to be appointed by the town from a list of tenant names submitted by the housing authority residents. This process mirrors how tenants are currently appointed to housing authority boards in cities. The language has been developed in partnership with the Department of Housing and Community Development, MassNAHRO, CHAPA, the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, and the Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants.
CHAPA thanks the Senate for supporting the LHA Tenant Board Member Bill. Particularly, thanks to the bill sponsor, Senator Joseph Boncore for his leadership on passing this bill. Thanks also to Senate President Karen Spilka; Senator Brendan Crighton, Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing; and Senator Joan Lovely, Chair of the Senate Committee on Rules for their leadership.
The House must now pass the bill before being presented to the Governor for his signature.