CDA explores regionalizing public housing in Marlborough
By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – The proposed regionalization of local housing authorities throughout the state is being explored by the Marlborough Community Development Authority (MCDA) and Public Housing Director Doug Bushman. The Massachusetts Commission on Public Housing Sustainability and Reform recently recommended a study of regionalizing certain functions, including a centralized waiting list that could diversely affect many local senior residents who are waiting for placement. Mayor Arthur Vigeant, who also chairs the MCDA, said his main concern is city residents and prefers not to accommodate residents from other communities.
While the plan states that local boards governing public housing will remain intact, at a recent meeting, CDA members questioned whether they would maintain the same level of control they have at the present time. Rent collection, maintenance and safety are among the areas being considered for a more coordinated state-wide program. In an effort to increase transparency and efficiency, it was suggested that agencies form a local tenant organization, provide training for board members, clarify city and Housing Division operations and interactions, and explore private financing.
In the report, submitted by Housing Director Doug Bushman and Andrew T. Skoog, of the MCDA-Housing Division, it states that if regionalization is either feasible and/or cost effective for Marlborough, the special relationship between the MCDA and the city should be discussed. Several functions of the MCDA-Housing Division are performed or assisted by the city, including IT support, backup snow removal, procurement, facility administration, payroll and personnel management. In addition to Bushman, the local Housing staff includes three full-time maintenance staff, one full-time State Public Housing Program administrator, one full-time Section 8 administrator, and two part-time office staff members. They maintain a total of 230 units in four locations – 29 Pleasant St., 397 Bolton St., 240 Main St. and 20 Front St.
Vigeant and other members of the MCDA suggested that Bushman contact local housing authorities surrounding Marlborough for their interest in regionalization options to improve the delivery of services. If the commission continues to go forward with regionalization, the proposal will require approval by the Legislature.
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