BHA Town Report 2019

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, which includes a public housing resident appointment, and one member is appointed by the governor. All members serve a five-year term.

The state’s central waiting list, known as the CHAMP Program (Common Housing Application for Massachusetts Public Housing), was implemented by all housing authorities over a year ago. The online portal allows applicants to submit and self-manage their applications from a computer, smart phone, or tablet. The goal of this program is to promote Access, Fairness, Transparency, and Accountability. The CHAMP Program does not support state federal housing or Section 8. Since the roll out of the program, our combined waiting list of elderly/non-elderly disabled, family and congregate applicants increased from 1,200 to over 4,000. The emergency applicants continue to take “priority” over all others with “preference” given to Bridgewater “emergency” residents and any Veteran in the state. As of 12/31/2019, the Authority reported twenty-three (23) vacancies at our senior housing developments and congregate units and only one (1) vacancy in our family housing.

In 2019, the Authority completed several Capital Improvement Projects that carried over from the 2018 annual report. Hemlock Drive hopes to complete the window replacement and front door renovation projects at its forty-unit bungalow development, the replacement of the septic tank and lift pump that services all 96 Hemlock units and the conversion of two units into fully accessible units by the end of 2020. Other projects to be completed during this same time frame will be some roof replacements at the family houses, elevator upgrade at the Heritage Circle development, and front door and carpet replacement in all common areas at the DMH group home.

In October, the 9th Annual Commissioner’s Luncheon for Residents was held with Bridgewater State University and Sodexo continuing to provide a wonderful assortment of foods for our seniors.   Once again, our residents were treated to the most amazing meal during the holiday season at Barrett’s Alehouse thanks to Representative Angelo D’Emilia, the district attorney’s office, the sheriff’s department and A&A Metro Transportation. On behalf of our residents, we would like to thank the Barrett family and their staff for providing this service.

The Bridgewater Housing Authority bid farewell to many residents, which proves difficult for everyone. We also said goodbye to Lorraine Carrozza who retired from the Bridgewater Department of Elder Affairs. We owe Ms. Carrozza a tremendous amount of thanks for all the outreach she and her staff have always provided to our senior population. Although goodbyes can be difficult, we know that change is inevitable. We welcomed the new executive director, Emily Williams, into her role and we are so pleased to see that the positive relationship between the housing authority and elder affairs will continue.

The board and staff would like to thank the following Bridgewater town departments who our residents rely on so much: Fire Department, Police Department, Elder Affairs, Veterans’ Services and the Town Clerk’s Office. We also extend thanks to Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), particularly the congregate coordinator, Bridgewater State University (BSU) 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 staff, who have supported our residents and our public housing agenda throughout the years.

Our incredible staff is just that, incredible and that’s where our biggest “thank you” goes. This starts with the daily leadership displayed by the executive director, Karen A. Rudd, along with her dedicated staff of Joanne O’Connor, John Ball and Colin McKenna.

Lastly, I would like to say thank you to my fellow board members Lorraine Carrozza, Vice-chair, Martha Shionis, Treasurer and Resident Representative, Joan Neumeister, Governor’s Appointee and Judith Wilson, Member, who continue to support me in my position as chair. Your continued confidence in me is so appreciated.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Nicholas Bagas, Chairman

Karen A. Rudd, Executive Director