Human Rights Commission to weigh in on housing

 

Greenfield Recorder 06/07/2013, Page C03

By ANITA FRITZ Recorder Staff

GREENFIELD — On Monday night, the town’s Human Rights Commission plans to weigh in on the governor’s proposed plan to regionalize housing authorities across the state.

The commission will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. in Town Hall (second-floor meeting room) on Gov. Deval Patrick’s plan to consolidate and regionalize local city and town housing authorities, how that would affect Greenfield Housing Authority, and how it would affect elders and low income residents who depend on the service GHA provides.

Commission Chairman Lewis Metaxas said the consequences for local accessibility of Greenfield citizens to housing services will also be discussed.

Patrick has filed legislation to consolidate the state’s network of 240 housing authorities into six regional “super” authorities, arguing that such centralization will allow for enhanced oversight and deliver more efficient services to residents of public housing.

Some have argued that the governor’s proposal will erode accountability, local control, and the relationship between local residents and local housing officials, said Metaxas.

He said the commission will examine the governor’s proposal, as well as that of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment, which has proposed alternatives to the governor’s legislation.

John Counter, executive director of GHA, will speak Monday night about what the local housing authority does, and he will present his recommendations for further commission action in advocating for Greenfield residents and the GHA.

Metaxas said the commission also invited state Rep. Paul Mark and state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg to attend. It is not yet known whether they will be there.