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Governor's Proposal Expected to All But Abolish Housing Authorities; What Do You Think?

Doing away with local housing boards is reported to be Gov. Patrick's idea for slashing public housing cost and corruption. Do you think that's a good idea?

Both the Hamilton Housing Authority and Wenham Housing Authority, two of 240 public housing authorities across Massachusetts, would all but vanish as part of what is expected to be a proposal Thursday from Gov. Deval Patrick to streamline public housing management operations.

The purpose of local housing authorities is to manage and maintain subsidized housing and, often, to advocate for affordable housing for lower-income residents.

The administration reportedly estimates the consolidation would save more than $10 million a year in salaries and administrative costs.

The Wenham Housing Authority, which operates Enon Village on Larch Lane, has its own executive director. Hamilton Housing Authority shares its executive director, Julie Martineau, with the Ipswich Housing Authority.

According to the Boston Globe, while Gov. Patrick's proposal would centralize public housing management into six regional ­offices, a small number of managers and maintenance workers would remain at local housing author­ities.

And, says the Globe, cutting local boards would would do away with the need for more than 1,000 politically appointed commissioners.

The consolidation move comes in the wake of troubling corruption scandals uncovered by the Globe, which were partly possible because holding hundreds of separate housing authorities accountable is a management challenge.

What we know so far of the governor's proposal sounds like a move toward more accountable, efficient government. But would it also mean less local say and control over public housing in the two towns? Does that matter to you? What could and should change if control is transferred to regional offices?

Bob Gray January 11, 2013 at 12:17 PM
I'll just ask one question.... What usually happens when the state takes control of a program? I think you all know the answer! Keep it local! Right now the Housing Board is made up of local residents and they are more attuned to the local problems. And the $10 million dollar number is "pie in the sky" !!!

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