Local control key to successful public housing

By Josh Cutler and Karen Reilly
For The Patriot Ledger

Consolidate or collaborate?

Those are contrasting viewpoints at the heart of a pair of proposals to reform our state’s system of local housing authorities. Under a plan filed by Governor Deval Patrick, the 242 housing authorities across Massachusetts would be consolidated into six regional housing authorities (RHA).

Existing housing authority boards would be eliminated. Each RHA would take over the finances and operations of the public housing within its region, under the direction of an executive director and a nine-member board appointed by the governor. Local site staff would still provide some services, such as cleaning common areas or making routine repairs.

While we applaud the Governor’s attempt to control costs and enhance oversight, this top down approach to local housing is not in the best interests of our housing authorities, or most importantly the thousands of senior, veteran and disabled residents who live in them.