Jerry Halberstadt 0

Stop Bullying Bill, Mass. S604

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I urge you to support S604, A bill to protect citizens from bullying, sponsored (by request) by Senator Joan Lovely, Second Essex. It provides urgently needed relief from bullying for citizens living with age and/or disability in subsidized housing.

Our Federal, State, and local governments and agencies are tasked with providing safe, decent housing for citizens unable to pay full market rents. Many thousands of elderly citizens and citizens living with various disabilities enjoy the benefits of affordable rents, enabled by a variety of low-interest loans, tax breaks, and rent subsidies to the landlord, all provided as incentives by government agencies.

However, in some multi-family subsidized housing there is no way to get relief from bullying. Bullying and even hate speech targets individuals living with various disabilities, as well as elders and veterans. Targeted individuals may be abused and harassed, and suffer both physical and emotional trauma, forced to leave, or even evicted.

Bullying attacks the safety, dignity, and security of those targeted, indeed of all residents.

Targets of bullying experience the desperation that comes when there is no avenue of relief. People who live in subsidized housing projects today have no source of effective intervention and relief, they may not have the resources to move, and given long waiting lists, not have an alternative residence where they could go.

Bullying festers because of the lack of appropriate resources and interventions. The goal of S604 is to remedy and correct these abuses by providing tools for management and residents, and oversight by the Commonwealth. The main benefits of the bill are:

* To require landlords and management to have and enforce sound, evidence-based policies on bullying; and to involve tenants in the ongoing efforts.

* To assure mechanisms of external oversight and enforcement by the Commonwealth.

* To provide access for tenants to an ombudsman and to the courts to seek relief.

* Support for training and education including the development and evaluation of materials and methods, with broad dissemination in all channels, and instruction by qualified trainers.

* Support for research into the causes and conditions that lead to bullying, evaluation of educational and remedial methods, and development and evaluation of demonstration programs to create effective, evidence-based interventions.

I urge you to support S604, and provide elders and people living with a disability to enjoy a peaceful, quiet life and a joyful community experience.

More information is at:

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Thank you.


Stop Bullying Coalition


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