Residents of Bernard E Mason Senior Apartments invite you to join them today at 6pm 2121 Windsor Gardens Lane as they attempt to hold a meeting in their community room to discuss crucial issues related to the implementation of the Rental Assistance Demonstration program. Their access to the community room is being denied by building management on the orders of the Resident Advisory Board.
Residents are standing up for their right to organize and they are asking us all to “have their backs” so please join us there!
And please take a minute today to call Paul T. Graziano, Baltimore Housing Commissioner, at 410-396-3237 and tell him to:
1. Stop the Resident Advisory Board from interfering with residents’ protected rights to organize!
2. Allow Bernard E Mason residents to use their community Room!
Open Letter to HABC:
**SENT BY FIRST CLASS AND CERTIFIED MAIL**
To: Paul T. Graziano, Commissioner, Baltimore Housing; Executive Director, Housing Authority of Baltimore City 417 E Fayette Street, 13th Floor Baltimore, MD 21202
Greetings Mr. Graziano,
Residents at Bernard E. Mason Senior Apartments recently attempted to use the community room in their building, at the request of many residents, to hold a meeting to discuss the implementation of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. They were denied this right by Ada Cherry-Mahoi, Executive Director of the Resident Advisory Board, via a telephone call between the building Secretary and a member of the Tenant Executive Board of Bernard E. Mason.
On the same day, residents were alerted by building security that they would be arrested for “loitering” in front of their own building, when, after being denied the use of their community room, they continued having organizing conversations outside.
Today, residents again attempted to schedule a meeting in the community room to discuss implementation of RAD, and were again denied.
We write you today to demand that all HABC employees and members of the Resident Advisory Board cease interference with protected resident organizing activity as outlined in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 24 CFR Part 245.120 regarding meeting space, which states:
“§245.120 Meeting space. (a) Owners of multifamily housing projects covered under § 245.10, and their agents, must reasonably make available the use of any community room or other available space appropriate for meetings that is part of the multifamily housing project when requested by: (1) Tenants or a tenant organization and used for activities related to the operation of the tenant organization; or (2) Tenants seeking to establish a tenant organization or collectively address issues related to their living environment.”
These rights are again confirmed in the RAD Final Notice PIH-2012-32 (HA) Rev. 1, Attachment 1B.2 which states:
“3. Meeting Space. PHAs must reasonably make available the use of any community room or other available space appropriate for meetings that is part of the multifamily housing project when requested by: a. Residents or a resident organization and used for activities related to the operation of the resident organization; or b. Residents seeking to establish a resident organization or collectively address issues related to their living environment.”
Further, Ada Cherry-Mahoi serves as a full-time employee of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City in her capacity as the Executive Director of the Resident Advisory Board, which is a direct violation of HUD guidelines regarding “Legitimate tenant organizations,” as outlined in HUD 24 CFR 245.110 and the RAD Final Notice, Attachment 1B.2. As such, the Resident Advisory Board does not qualify as a “Legitimate Tenant Organization” and should have no authority over tenant organizing activities in HABC-owned RAD converting properties.
“§245.110 Legitimate tenant organizations. A tenant organization is legitimate if it has been established by the tenants of a multifamily housing project covered under § 245.10 for the purpose described in § 245.100, and meets regularly, operates democratically, is representative of all residents in the development, and is completely independent of owners, management, and their representatives.”
Again, this is clearly outlined in the RAD Final Notice PIH-2012-32 (HA) Rev. 1, Attachment 1B.2:
“1. Legitimate Resident Organization. A PHA must recognize legitimate resident organizations and give reasonable consideration to concerns raised by legitimate resident organizations. A resident organization is legitimate if it has been established by the residents of a covered project, meets regularly, operates democratically, is representative of all residents in the development, and is completely independent of PHAs, management, and their representatives.”
Residents in public housing have a legally protected right to organize and advocate on behalf of themselves and their neighbors, without interference from HABC or the Resident Advisory Board.
We thank you to take any and all steps to ensure that this right is protected and enforced.
Best, Leadership Council Right to Housing Alliance