BHA Town Report 2018

BRIDGEWATER HOUSING AUTHORITY

To the Town Council and Citizens of Bridgewater:

The Bridgewater Housing Authority is committed to serving our community’s housing needs using all resources available. We strive to maintain clean, safe and affordable housing for low-income elderly, family and disabled households. The Authority plays an integral role in the community and looks to develop and manage good quality affordable housing in the future. The Authority provides state public housing for seniors (60+) and disabled persons at the Heritage Circle and Hemlock Drive developments. The BHA also provides state public housing for families at scattered sites throughout the town.

The Authority is governed by a five-member board of commissioners as required by the State of Massachusetts for a town. In Bridgewater, four members are appointed by the town manager and one member is appointed by the governor and all members serve a five-year term.

In 2018, the Authority saw the completion of several Capital Improvement Projects (CIP). Hemlock Drive replaced all shut-off water valves in kitchens and bathrooms in all 96 units and installed air source heat pumps throughout the development under the Sustainability-Energy Conservation Grant. The replacement of exterior building doors and hardware, along with the installation of new intercom systems, were also completed. At the family units, several roofs and decking were replaced, garages were demolished and exterior stairs were replaced with newly constructed wood stairs and railings. The Department of Mental Health (DMH) group home had all four bathrooms upgraded. The upcoming 2019 CIP year will see the Heritage Circle development receive an elevator upgrade, new exterior building doors, carpet replacement in all common area corridors and strobe alert lights in all fifty units to accommodate the hearing impaired. Hemlock Drive has begun the procurement process to create two fully accessible units in the rear of the development and the window replacement project at the 40 bungalow units. The Authority has applied for another Sustainability-Energy Conservation Grant to replace the front and back exterior unit doors and storm doors and hopes, through a phasing-in process, that all 40 bungalow units can benefit.

In August 2014, legislation was passed to establish a centralized on-line wait list system for persons seeking state-aided public housing assistance, including improving and simplifying the application process for Applicants, and reducing duplicate data entry and update procedures by the local housing authority (LHA) staff. In 2018, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) introduced CHAMP (Common Housing Application for Massachusetts Public-Housing) to all LHA’s across the state. The on-line portal allows applicants to submit and self-manage their applications from a computer, smart phone or tablet. The goals of this program are to promote Access, Fairness, Transparency and Accountability. The program is slated to roll out to the public by the spring 2019. To date, the Authority has approximately 1200 combined applicants on its elderly/non-elderly/handicapped/family and congregate waiting list. It’s important to note that the CHAMP program does not support Federal Housing or Section 8 programs.

In October, the 8th Annual Commissioner’s Luncheon for Residents was held and eight deserving residents were the recipients of the Special Recognition Award. The Outstanding Community Service Award was presented to the Southeast Regional Capital Assistance Team (RCAT) under the leadership of the Taunton Housing Authority for providing technical assistance to the Bridgewater HA on its capital improvement projects. The board also presented the “Recognition and Appreciation for Outstanding and Dedicated Service Award” to its very own executive director, Karen A. Rudd.

The housing authority’s board of commissioners, staff and residents said goodbye to many of our cherished residents; however, we welcomed many wonderful new residents. The total unit turnover count produced nineteen vacancies and priority was given to Bridgewater residents with standard, emergency or veteran preference.

The Bridgewater Housing Authority commissioners would like to thank its hardworking staff, the tremendous allegiance that it has with the Hemlock and Heritage Resident Organization, all town departments, especially those that interact with our residents on such a frequent basis, i.e., the Bridgewater Fire Department; the Bridgewater Police Department; the Department of Elder Affairs and the Department of Veteran Services. The Authority also appreciates its partnership with the Bridgewater State University, School of Social Work, Sodexo and Bridgewater TV Cable.

A very special acknowledgement is sent out to Representative Angelo D’Emilia and Senator Marc Pacheco, along with their committed staff, who have supported our residents and our public housing agenda throughout the years.

Respectfully submitted,

Nicholas Bagas, Chairman

Karen A. Rudd, Executive Director