History and Accomplishments
MAHT has helped to preserve more than 9,700 units of at-risk housing as permanently affordable housing since 1983 by empowering low income tenants to save their homes, one building at a time.
MAHT’s Resident Ownership Program has developed eight (out of 25 nationally) resident-controlled ownership models approved nationally by HUD since 1989. MAHT has also played a key support role for the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT), which has been staffed from MAHT’s Boston office since 1991. NAHT is the nation’s first membership organization for low income tenants in privately-owned, HUD-assisted housing and the only national tenant union in the US today.
- Tenant organizations helped preserve 675 apartments for up to 20 years in gentrifying neighborhoods like Beacon Hill, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Roxbury and Hyde Park.
- With the help of MAHT’s two new VISTA’s, we organized 9 new tenant organizations this year alone! That is a record number!
- MAHT has taken the lead in organizing 13A tenants as these state mortgages are set to expire, leaving 4,200 families at risk of losing housing. Tenant leaders secured pledges from Senators Warren and Markey to make seeking Congressional amendments on this issue a priority.
- In response to the closing of Long Island shelter, which removed over 400 beds for and half of the recovery beds, MAHT began pushing for a city-funded voucher program. Washington DC began a similar program and has witnessed its remarkable success in reducing homelessness. After extensive work on the part of MAHT tenant leaders, a majority of city councilors have pledged to support a city-funded voucher program. Incoming City Council president, Michelle Wu, committed to spearheading an ordinance.
- MAHT’s “Have a Heart” campaign, kicked off on Valentines Day, moved Senator Scott Brown to oppose low income program cuts, key to winning full funding for HUD rental housing in 2011
Save Our HomesMedia Coverage of the Action:
Save Our Home Campaign Documents:
- When the “Supercommittee” process threatened deeper cuts, MAHT forged a coalition with Massachusetts peace, labor and community groups to demand “No More Cuts, Tax the 1%, End the Wars and Invest in Jobs.” We collected 4,500 letters with this message from HUD tenants and voters across Boston on Election Day and delivered them to Senators Kerry and Brown–helping avert a terrible “deal” to cut $1 trillion from vital programs and extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy
- Warren Hall tenant leader Dave Horan had never met a government official, let alone travelled to Washington DC. But Dave secured a commitment from HUD officials to provide subsidy protections for 28 of his elderly neighbors in Brighton when HUD contracts expired December 1. And Susan Mills, Dave and 31 other MAHT tenants in DC helped win the “Merkley-Brown” amendment to permanently save Warren Hall and 50,000 similarly at-risk apartments nationwide
- In Hyde Park, Georgetowne Tenants United has won a proposal by Beacon Communities to renew Section 8 and limit moderate income rents for 967 families for 30 years. GTU advocacy with Sen. Brown also helped win $10 million for currently unprotected “expiring use” tenants at Georgetowne and other buildings nationwide
- Jacqueline Philyaw not only helped the Marcus Garvey Tenant Association win bedbug treatment and a rent rebate for improper utility allowance charges for the low income seniors at her Roxbury development. In DC, Jacqueline got HUD to publish a model bedbug policy and a guarantee that tenants nationwide will be consulted before utility allowances are changed.
- Helped Georgetowne Tenants United win a five year Section 8 contract and temporary rent freeze, winning time to negotiate permanent affordability for 967 families in Hyde Park
- Spearheaded a national effort to win federal legislation to provide Enhanced Vouchers for 80,000 at risk tenants, including Georgetowne
- Won a big victory at Blake Estates elderly housing in Hyde Park, whose owner, after initially filing a notice to opt out of federal subsidies, agreed to renew Section 8 for 20 years
- Won new windows, carpets, improved air quality and bedbug extermination for seniors and families from Marcus Garvey Apartments in Roxbury to Sycamore Village in Lawrence and Dalton House in Salem
- Helped coordinate the “No, No, No, on Questions 1,2,3” Campaign in Boston, providing poll coverage in 11 out of 22 Wards and winning the highest percentage of “No” votes in Hyde Park
- Brought large delegations to the June NAHT Conference and October One Nation Rally to make tenant voices heard in Washington
- Helped pass Expiring Use legislation at the statehouse, the “Right of First Refusal” bill, which, although it doesn’t affect any building in the state at the moment, did help Georgetowne tenants by helping win a rent phase-in for them. MAHT was the key organization responsible for passage of this legislation, having created the climate for passage through fourteen years of working at the statehouse
- Helped Georgetowne Tenants United (GTU) win a rent “freeze” through 2010 and initial steps by Beacon Properties to renew the Section 8 contracts at the 967 unit Georgetowne complex in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood. MAHT mobilized Georgetowne tenants in March when Beacon Properties announced plans to “opt out” of Section 8 and convert to market rents. GTU tenants knocked on doors, circulated petitions, and formed a Negotiating Committee to meet with Beacon. MAHT rallied more than 150 tenants from across the state at Georgetowne in June, and in Hyde Park’s Cleary Square on October 31st
- Formed a new tenants organization for the 268 elderly and handicapped households at Blake Estates in Hyde Park, an “expiring mortgage” development where owner Beacon Properties has filed a One Year Opt Out Notice
- Helped North Shore Seniors Win Rent Rebates at Fairweather Tenants United in Salem
- Made “expiring use” housing a leading issue in this year’s Boston elections. Georgetowne tenants led the way with a Save Our Homes rally in June. Later, tenants delivered 400 postcards to City Hall demanding—and winning–a meeting with Mayor Menino
- Organized the largest delegations at 3 forums organized by Mass VOTE, a nonpartisan civic engagement coalition
- Mobilized a record turn-out of tenants at Georgetowne and High Point Village for record turnouts at the City Preliminary and Final Elections. More than 40% of the Georgetowne tenants contacted by MAHT in the September election voted, compared to a 33% voter turnout citywide. In November, Georgetowne tenants voted in record numbers. [MAHT is one of several Boston organizations funded by the CEI Initiative, funded by the Miller, Hyams and Boston Foundations and Access Strategies Fund to increase voter turnout
- As a result of persistent MAHT tenant organizing, Jonathan Realty—the owner of 273 apartments in 12 buildings across Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park and Roxbury—will extend the expiring Section 8 contract for another five years, preserving affordability for low-income families. In addition, MAHT tenants have won major repairs and a changed attitude from management
- Assisted tenant leaders from Bradford Apartments in Lawrence in obtaining assurance from New York-based Omni Corporation that over-income tenants are not required to move as claimed by the management company, which was forcing over-income tenants to move out of the property by November 1, 2009. This is the latest victory in MAHT’s four-year struggle to Save Our Homes at Bradford and is the first instance where affordable housing has been restored to a building that had past the end of its 40-year mortgage
- Helped ROXSE Tenant Council in Lower Roxbury remove the major obstacle blocking resident controlled ownership – ousting an entrenched long-time property manager who ran the property with an iron fist since the building was purchased from HUD in 2005. With MAHT’s help, RTC secured investigations by the Massachusetts and HUD Offices of Inspector General. As a result, the owner entered negotiations with RTC, agreed to remove the property manager. With the property manager gone, ROXSE tenant council has launched a training program to achieve majority resident controlled ownership within 18 months
- Helped NAHT win a “Housing Preservation” priority in the Serve America Act, sponsored by Senator Kennedy, which expanded Americorps from 75,000 to 250,000 members
- Preserved East Canton Street Apartments (80 families in Boston’s South End) as permanently affordable housing
- Led the successful effort to preserve 128 units at Schoolhouse 77 as permanently affordable housing through an innovative strategy proposed by MAHT
- Won $600,000 in benefits and protections for tenants at the 250 unit Loring Towers complex in Salem
- Won Section 8 contract extensions at several buildings in Lowell and Needham
- Pioneered model responses to the new “expiring 40 year mortgage” crisis nationally
- Won preservation of 226 affordable units at Bowdoin Apartments in Malden for 99 years
- Won restoration of affordable housing and subsidies at the 156 apartments at Bradford Apartments in Lawrence for at least 30 years, the first time a building whose 40 year subsidies ran out has been restored as affordable housing
- Won a five year extension of 266 Section 8 apartments in Brandywyne Apartments in East Boston
- Launched organizing campaigns at several other buildings, notably including the 967 unit Georgetowne Homes complex in Hyde Park.
- Tenant Response to Section 8 Budget Crisis – MAHT helped spearhead the tenant response nationally to the new Section 8 budget crisis generated by the Bush Administration, winning $2.8 billion in the Stimulus Bill and FY 09 Appropriation for HUD to solve this crisis in March 2009
- MAHT tenants were the first in the country to raise the issue at a local press conference in November 2007, participated in NAHT’s 2008 forum with the Obama campaign, protested at the Republican National Committee when the McCain campaign refused to respond, and demonstrated at the Boston McCain Headquarters in October 2008 to help draw public and Congressional attention to this crisis