Tag Archives: housing

Parlee parked in Rose’s space: Our America is fighting back!

Parlee and Athena 2
Parlee🌸💙, left, at a community event!

By Parlee Jones

Peace and Blessings InCity Times People!! It’s been a while since I have put pen to paper, so let me officially say … HAPPY 2017!!! We are two months in and there has been sooooo much stuff
happening in our country and our world!! Good, bad, pretty and ugly! I have so many thoughts running through my head that I don’t even know where to start!

On the homefront, here in Worcester, I’m concerned in the work I do at Abby’s House for Women because of the lack of affordable, decent housing and options for folks who are struggling – single folks and families – in our city. And the stressful conditions put on individuals and families trying to access shelter through the system.

Rents in Worcester have become unaffordable as absentee landlords seek out people with Section 8 and other subsidies so they can charge the highest rent allowed. Those without vouchers or other subsidies have no other options than to pay market rent. Usually more than 50% of their income.

In single income homes this is a lot of money when you have utilities and other day to day expenses. Wage slavery. All issues not even discussed in our presidential election. Homelessness and affordable housing.

So, America has a new president. I think I was in a state of shock when I woke up and Donald Trump was the President of the United States.


I could list all the decisions he has made thus far that I feel are anti-human, but I know we all know what he
has done and is doing. It is all that we see on our social media and on television. I hope you are getting
some of your information from PBS programming!

Now I’m going to focus on the POSITIVE thing that has happened because of Trump’s decisions. Folks are waking up!!! They are protesting. They are
calling local and state and federal government officials to state their discontent. They are signing petitions.
They are showing up for their fellow man, woman and child. All for different issues or multiple issues ~ women’s health, Islamophobia, racism, homophobia, misogyny, immigration.

Saying NO to classist, hate-mongering, racist bully Aidan Kearney, the Turtle Boy blogger (whom Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney financially$$$ supports), on the Worcester Common!

It’s all or nothing at this point.

We have to join forces for basic human needs.

If you are showing up for one or two events and not all, you may have to
rethink that. The Women’s Marches on Saturday, January 21, were AMAZING. All 52 states had protest marches. All 52 states had numerous cities that had marches! Fifty five other countries had protest marches in numerous cities in each country. Countries such as Antarctica, Belgium, Austria, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Iceland, India, Lithuania, Kenya, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru,Portugal, South Korea, the list goes on. Over one million people world-wide!!! The show of support is remarkable! Now we just have to keep it going. Conversations have to be had on
how we have to show up for each and every injustice. Not just those that hit close to home. Each and every

For some folks, showing up for the march was the limit of their activism. Others will continue the conversation.

Just keep an open mind through this particular conversation … Listen. … One way to get involved is to attend a SURJ meeting. Worcester is lucky to have a SURJ chapter. Showing up for Racial Justice, SURJ is a national network of groups (working in conjunction with Black Lives Matter) to organize White people for racial justice. https://www.facebook.com/SURJWorcester/

It is important to push for the understanding that racism is ‘prejudice plus power’ and therefore people of
color cannot be racist against whites in the United States. People of color can be prejudiced against whites but clearly do not have the power as a group to enforce that prejudice.

I know I have been actively protesting since the murder of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. And have been protesting numerous murders and deaths and injustices since that time. We’ve been marching and protesting.

Go, Bill Maher💙💛💛💙💙, go📢💐📢!

I don’t say these things to belittle the March. It was amazing. But certain things that happened in Worcester, our fair city, extinguished my desire to “fight the good fight.” I was blessed to be a part of a conversation at the Collective GoGo with a group of people who were all up and down the east coast for protests and marches. They shared their experiences and I was rejuvenated. Their passion and desire for justice on ALL issues, not just certain ones, is what gives me hope. Their energy is
amazing. Amanda, Anne, Nori, Christopher, Drew and all the others who shared their experiences have me
hopeful for what is to come.

My sister Tracy, my daughter Sha-Asia and I were actually present at the first Million Woman March in October 1997 in Philadelphia. It was a beautiful event!

Did you know there was one?

As we move forward under this new presidency, we have to remember a few things … We have forgotten that we belong to each other. Yes, I have said this before, and it is a motto that I try to remember daily. That we all belong to each other, and we are all just trying to make it home.

Our America is fighting back. As I sit here typing this article, there are, again, protests all over the United
States, in protest of Trump’s immigration policies and his ban on Muslims entering our country. We’ve got to fight to ensure that the statue standing in the middle of New York Harbor never comes down!

By Ernesto Yerena

By Shepard Fairey

Mass Voters Sue for Time to Preserve the Rights of 77,344 Foreclosed Homeowners

HOME…Chef Joey’s babes at the front door, looking out at the snowscape … Where’s papa Joey?!💖💕 pic: Chef Joey

From Grace Ross and the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending:

Today, at the 10 a.m. Press Conference, Massachusetts voters who had attempted to put the law to minimize homeowners’ ability to reverse an illegal foreclosure on the ballot for this past November announced their filing of a suit in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

The lawsuit alleges that the first group of homeowners whose rights this law attempts to curtail – those illegal foreclosed between 1997 and 2013 – should have up to the constitutional deadline to preserve their rights to reverse an illegal foreclosure.

“I am a leader in the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending, a nearly all volunteer organization. Today, we are standing up to the powerful interests both in the Title industry and sadly, some of those in our elected government that don’t give a damn about the rights of the foreclosed – a full three quarters of whom were almost certainly victims of illegal foreclosures,” Zakiya Alake, Plaintiff and member of the MAAPL Steering Committee, “We will fight to stop this law, Chapter 141, from robbing them of their historic rights to fight back against illegal foreclosure. With the help of the National Lawyer’s Guild, we are standing up for the 77,344 home owners because we are the People’s Advocate.”

The Massachusetts Constitution requires that laws have an implementation deadline of 90 days after being signed. The law minimizing homeowners’ rights had a deadline that the Massachusetts Attorney General allowed to go forward of only 36 days. This is critically important because the one year time period for those who were the victims of roughly 77,344 foreclosures prior to 2014 need the time to record documentation at the Registry of Deeds or file in court to preserve their rights.

Press conference location was Shapiro, Weissberg, and Garin, 90 Canal St., 5th Fl. Afterward, Plaintiffs represented by Attorney Jeffrey Feuer of the National Lawyers Guild, will deliver the suit to the Supreme Judicial Court.

“The lawsuit today seeks the Constitutional deadline for previously foreclosed homeowners foreclosed before 2013 to have until February 23, 2017 to record their filings at the registry of deeds. We are deeply concerned about this “supposed” law for many reasons; however, today, we have focused down on the critical shortened deadline for homeowners whose rights are being taken away without any notification,” explained Grace Ross, voter-Plaintiff and Coordinator of the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending.

“The law that this lawsuit challenges is historically unique in changing the traditional 20 year rights to reverse an illegal foreclosure. These rights have been around for literally hundreds of years,” explained Sarah Mckee, a Plaintiff and former white collar crime prosecutor for Interpol. “These rights are summarily attempted to be cut off by an initiative of the Title Insurance industry.

“The roughly 77,344 foreclosures under this severely foreshortened and unannounced deadline to record documentation at the Registries of Deeds or bring suit amounts to over 25 billion dollars (this is a low estimate) in household wealth that could be barred forever from reclamation.”

The suit was filed by the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending and 14 -Voter Petitioners who attempted to have this legislation put before the voters of Massachusetts last November, 2016. When the Secretary of the Commonwealth received this petition, he sent over an almost immediate query to the Attorney General seeking her opinion on whether it was constitutional for this petition to be put before the voters or not.
This law is explicitly named and focused on the rights of homeowners to the legal title of their property.

The Attorney General refused to put it on the ballot based upon a minor part of the bill, involving codifying some Supreme Judicial Court decisions that clarified these powers already existed in the jurisdiction of the Housing Court; this minor section had been added literally after both sides of the legislature had voted on the legislation, debated it at length and handled numerous amendment votes and when the bill was conferenced and sent back as a final vote without any discussion.

The AG argued that this changed powers the courts, even though that section was plainly peripheral to the main purpose of the bill, which was dealing with the hundreds years old rights of former homeowners to challenge illegal foreclosures.

“As far as I’m concerned we homeowners met with Maura Healey when she was running for office. She promised she would be on the side of the homeowners in our fight with the banks. She has blocked our moves and refused us funding from her settlements. Now is her chance to step aside from defending the industry’s law against the Constitutionally protected homeowners of the Commonwealth,” said Mildred Collins, Plaintiff and a homeowner whose rights may have been taken away by this law.

Worcester news you can use!

From the Massachusetts Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Who: Parents and caregivers of children who have experienced sexual abuse

When:  Tuesdays, 9:00-10:30am (starting January 27, 2015 and running in 8 week cycles). This is an “open” group; participants are welcome to attend one meeting, several, or all meetings.

Where: MSPCC, 335 Chandler St.

Cost: Free

Goals and Topics for this Group Include (but are not limited to):

·        Learning about ways to talk and respond to children after the abuse

·        Recognizing and responding to the signs of trauma and other reactions

·        Learning about treatment options

·        Ideas for caretakers to cope with stress and take care of themselves

·        Legal issues and dealing with the court and other systems

·        Obtaining Victim Compensation

·        How to create safety and prevent re-victimization

·        Getting mutual support from other parents and caregivers with similar experiences

For more information/to refer, please call the Group Leader, Emily Ascolillo, at (508) 767-3097.




For Girls ages 9-12

An active group for building confidence, self-esteem and body image through movement and dance.

When: Tuesdays 6:00pm-7:00pm
Start Date: February 24 (weekly x 7 weeks)

Location: 81 Plantation St.

MassHealth is accepted;
private pay arrangements can be made for clients
whose insurance does not cover group attendance.

For more information contact:
Jeannette Cardozo 508-849-5600 x 211 … or Central Referral at 1-855-4YOUINC or 508-849-5600 x421


A co-ed group for youth ages 6 – 10
with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD and other difficulties with self-regulation.

Using a visual curriculum and Louise Goldberg’s research-backed Creative Relaxation® techniques, this group will teach yoga and self-calming strategies.

When: Wednesdays 3:30 pm – 4:15 pm
Starting February 4 – every week for 6 weeks

Location: 81 Plantation St.

The group is open to all MassHealth and Fallon insurance plans.
Private Pay Options are also available

For more information contact:
Centralized Referrals 508-849-5600 x 421
Hope Rideout 508-849-5600 x 134
Jeannette Cardozo 508-849-5600 x 211



Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance Housing, Homelessness, & Benefits Meeting:

Wednesday, January 21 from 11:30 to 1 at CMHA

6 Institute Road

Please RSVP to dlariviere@cmhaonline.org by January 19 so enough lunch can be ordered.

All are welcome!

Agenda Item:

Foreclosure and Tenant Rights:

Due to recent uptick of foreclosure petitions in Worcester County, we feel it is important to discuss the rights and responsibilities of tenants in foreclosure properties.

CMHA meetings are open to anyone wishing to learn more about housing and homelessness in our community and benefits available.  It’s also a great opportunity for organizations to share information about themselves.

For more information, contact:



Reinstatement of Friday Housing Counseling Hours

From the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance

Effective Immediately: Reinstatement of Friday Housing Counseling Hours

Effective immediately, CMHA is reinstating Housing Counseling Walk-ins on Friday between 1 to 3:30.

This is a return to our normal Housing Counseling Hours. Thank for your patience.
Housing Counseling Walk-in Hours:

Monday 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday 9 to 11 a.m.

Thursday 5 to 7 p.m.

Friday 1 to 3:30

No Tuesday Walk-in Hours

6 Institute Road, P.O. Box 3

Emergency Line ext. 171
Tenant Line ext. 172
Landlord Line ext. 173

U.S. Census Bureau to Hire in Worcester County

The U.S. Census Bureau – New York Regional Office is hiring over 100 temporary field representatives in Worcester County for the American Housing Survey (AHS).

This survey is sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to collect data on the characteristics of the nation’s housing units and households.

Recruiting and hiring will take place November and December, training and work assignments will go from March through August 2015.

Applicants must be over the age of 18, pass a background check, be a US Citizen, and pass a written test and two interviews.

A vehicle, valid driver’s license and private telephone line are required for this position.

The hourly salary is $13.19 plus $0.56 per mile reimbursement.

To learn more about job requirements and testing sessions in Worcester County, e-mail your name, zip code and phone number to new.york.recruit@census.gov

Today at 6 p.m.!!! Elm Park neighborhood: Fruit & Sever Tenant Association tenant public hearing

Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants and
Fruit & Sever Tenant Association Tenant Public Hearing Event

TODAY! December 5

Public Hearing at 11 Sever Street

Today at 6 pm tenants from Fruit/Sever Merrick Apartments will come together at a Public Hearing to state their concerns and various issues surrounding their living quarters.

For the last twelve (12) months a group of dedicated and concerned tenants have been meeting regularly talking about very much needed repairs to their apartments and the sub-standard living conditions.

The feeling of being neglected and not heard has gone long enough to where the tenants feel that enough is enough and the public should know of the conditions these apartments are in.

Mold, water leaks, pest and maintenance neglect just to name a few has gone far enough where the tenants feel that the only way to get attention is by holding a public event an stating their concern publicly.
Please join us at 11 Sever Street  at 6:00pm as tenants talk about their concerns and how they have been ignored.

Together we can ensure that all tenants are living in Safe and Healthy Homes! The Fruit and Sever Tenant Association are organized by tenants currently residing at the Fruit/sever Merrick apartments in partnership with Mass Alliance of HUD Tenant Organizer who come together on a monthly basis to talk about concerns and issues so that together we can ensure our home and neighborhoods are Clean, Healthy and Safe.

For more info: http://www.saveourhomes.org
About the Mass. Alliance of HUD Tenants: The Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants (MAHT) organizes, trains and provides technical assistance to more than 40 HUD tenant groups, currently representing over 8,000 predominantly low income families in Eastern and Central Massachusetts who live in privately-owned, HUD-subsidized multifamily housing. MAHT’s mission is to preserve and improve at-risk HUD buildings as permanently affordable housing with a maximum of resident participation, ownership and control.
MAHT’s strategy is to “organize the unorganized” HUD tenants in at-risk buildings before owners decide to opt out of HUD subsidy program. By joining MAHT, tenant groups can increase their collective bargaining strength and access with owners, HUD and other agencies. By building local tenant unions, area wide coalitions, and a strong national union, HUD tenants can Save Our Homes.
Founded in 1983 as the nation’s first and most accomplished area wide HUD tenant coalition, MAHT is the only resident-run, membership coalition providing organizing and technical assistance to HUD tenants in Eastern and Central Mass.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony for CDC Worcester Common Ground’s 7 Bellevue St.

Great news from the Community Development Corporation (CDC) Worcester Common Ground!

Worcester Common Ground’s 6-property Austin Corridor II project is nearing completion, culminating with the much-awaited opening of 7 Bellevue St., the organization’s former headquarters.

To celebrate the nine units of affordable housing (including two fully accessible units), WCG is holding a ribbon cutting ceremony October 30 at 2:45 p.m. in the newly rehabilitated building.

Executive Director Yvette Lavigne is proud of the project on a number of fronts:  “WCG is lucky to work with the network of federal, state and local partners whose support made the project possible.”

The event will feature a number of special guests, including Mayor Joseph Petty, City Councilors Sarai Rivera and Joseph O’Brien, and Mary Barjolo, a long time tenant of 7 Bellevue, who will be seeing the completed renovations on her unit for the first time! There will also be free food and music!

Reposting InCity Times articles on foreclosure mediation programs. (Why Worcester needs one!)

By Michael Gaffney, Worcester City Councilor at Large candidate

As you are aware, the issue of foreclosure mediation has been debated by the Worcester City Council for several months with plenty of discussion, but no action.  Growing frustrated with the lack of action, I wrote to the most vocal council member on the topic as follows.  I did not seek to attach myself to the issue for political advantage; rather, I handed out a solution and would have been satisfied if any action were taken to achieve a result.  Clearly, if any action had been taken, I would not be writing.  I will let the email chain speak for itself:

On Apr 2, 2013, at 9:16 PM, I wrote to an email from my phone titled “Foreclosure Mediation” to Councilor X:

Springfield Mass program seems to work…  Looks like a settlement just made to implement the plan:

http://blog.aboutrsi.org/2012/program-management/foreclosure-mediation-upheld-against-cons titutional-challenge/

RI has plans in Cranston, Providence and Warwick:

http://www.housingwire.com/news/2010/01/12/rhode-island-city-set-roll-out-foreclosure-medi ation-servicer-fines

So, it appears we have a format to follow.  Love the fine Springfield imposes against the banks for not attending.

The RI bankruptcy court also has a plan for mediation in Chapter 13 plans.


Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Smartphone

Response from Councilor X:


Sent from my iPhone

Email sent to Councilor X on April 3, 2013

Councilor X:

I sent over some information to you last night relative to the foreclosure programs in other cities. Now that I am at a computer, I am able to forward more substantial information.  I have attended a number of conferences on the issue relative to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s program in Chapter 13 Plans that started in RI, so I have a bit of background.

Attached you will find the Springfield and Providence Ordinances.

Springfield uses a neutral not-for-cost mediation program. There are several options available. First, you could simply try the Worcester Bar Association to administer a program of volunteers (POC = Polly Tatum, President #508-795-1557.) Second, the Better Business Bureau currently administers the Lemon Law Arbitration Program under Massachusetts Law, the arbitrators get a “gratuity” of $100.00 per case (POC Nancy Cahalen, President #508-755-3340 x109.) Third, the District Court uses a mediation program formally administered by the WCAC now being administered by Mediation Services of North Central Mass (I do not have any contacts other than what is listed on the website – POC Elaine Sherrin, Director #978-466-9595.) Finally, the Massachusetts Justice Project currently runs the Lawyer for the Day Program and through  volunteers administers free legal services such as bankruptcy cases (I do handle free bankruptcy cases, but do not have a POC, the just send them over to me, the main number is #800-639-1209.)

I just don’t see where implementation of such a program would cost the city an inordinate amount of funds. Further, where we have language concerning ordinances in use, this matter shouldn’t continue to drag out in meeting after meeting. Finally, where the Federal District Court found the ordinance in Springfield to be constitutional and where the banks challenging it settled (and agreed to be bound) before the Appeals Court, passing such a measure is less likely to face a legal challenge or cost the city to defend it.

I am not trying to insert myself in this matter; rather, I been hearing the debate for several months and find it vexing that no progress has been made. This has been your issue; hence, I have communicated with you. If I can be of further assistance, let me know.

Thank you.

Michael Gaffney

On Apr 3, 2013, at 5:27 PM, I wrote:After review of the last paragraph of my last email, consulting with my wife and a friend, it appears I miscommunicated my thoughts.  I meant to say that the situation was not being resolved, that you were leading the charge on the issue and I was sending you information to help you out directly as this has been near and dear to you.Unfortunately, the way in which I communicated was as if you weren’t getting things done.  That is absolutely not what I intended.  I tend to focus on resolving an issue and am less careful about how I communicate.   Clearly I will need to improve my delivery.  I had hoped to help and instead I may have inadvertently insulted you.  It was not my intent. 

I hope you will accept my sincere apology.


Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Smartphone


Response from Councilor X, April 3, 2013:

No problem. I appreciated you sending the info.

Sent from my iPhone

Article sent to the Editor, Worcester Telegram and Gazette, May 1, 2013 (unpublished, but plenty of specious and inane comments were published on May 3, 2013)

Dear Sir/Madam:

Your recent article titled “Big Banks win again” concerning the $5,000.00 foreclosure bond ordinance showed the short falls in the current bond requirement.  We need to fix the unintended consequences of the bond requirement and strengthen the ordinance to help our citizens in foreclosure.

The cities of Springfield and Providence have passed ordinances that require the mortgage holder to mediate with the homeowner prior to foreclosure.  Springfield’s ordinance was upheld in Federal District Court and was settled on Appeal.  All the tools we need to update our ordinance are available and can be easily implemented.  We need to rewrite the current ordinance to protect our citizens.  We can’t let another month pass and another family be put out on the street without taking action.

Michael T. Gaffney


Today is May 5, 2013.


A mortgage mediation program for Worcester

Written by admin on August 21st, 2013

By Michael Gaffney, candidate for Worcester City Councilor at Large

Mortgage mediation is a process whereby during the foreclosure process, a representative from the bank meets with the homeowner relative to a mortgage workout. Getting two parties to sit down in a neutral environment to discuss the issues often yields positive results. A property lost to foreclosure lowers surrounding property values and seriously disrupts neighborhoods.

On August 19, 2013, per the Telegram and Gazette, the administration of the City of Worcester reported that it would not back an ordinance to establish a mediation program on property entering into foreclosure.
The reasons given for not implementing such a program were costs, logistics and legality:

As to costs, there are far too many volunteer organization as well as services operating under a block grant that provide free services to our courts and other programs. There are also numerous low cost providers. Cost is simply not a viable argument.
Logistically, the City of Worcester already requires a $5,000.00 bond for potential costs upon the filing of a foreclosure; therefore, someone is already assigned to review the bond and a tracking mechanism is already in place. The time involved in a referral to a mediation program is nominal.

As to the alleged legal issue, in the August 19, 2013 edition of the Telegram and Gazette, the City Solicitor claims that the Springfield ordinance is pending appeal which is mostly accurate. On July 2, 2012, U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor dismissed the lawsuit filed by the banks against Springfield’s mediation ordinance stating “the modest effort made by the city to soften the crisis through the promulgation of the two ordinances violates no Constitutional provision or state statute.” An appeal was filed by the banks. On or about March 14, 2013, the banks offered to drop the appeal if the City of Springfield would drop the bond requirement. The cause of the appeal was not with the mediation ordinance; rather, the cause of the appeal is the posting of the bond.

Here, the City of Worcester has implemented the bond requirement but not the mediation ordinance. Take note, the City of Springfield’s bond requirement is $10,000.00 which appears more penal than remedial. The banks were willing to allow the mediation ordinance. It seems obvious that the Springfield City Council is more concerned about the bond money than solving the problem for the homeowners, unlike the City of Worcester.

Our City Council rose to the occasion last night to advise the administration that they will push forward and should. In response, the administration offered to come to the table and look at all options. Unfortunately, this means further delay in the enactment of any ordinance, but the parties appear willing to further the process. Hopefully action will be taken sooner rather than later.


Meeting Tim, Worcester’s economic development czar

By Rosalie Tirella

Yesterday, at the Worcester Common Ground CDC celebration at the CDC’s tot lot in the heart of our inner city, I got a chance to button-hole, “interview” the city’s two economic development guys. Guys I had been trying to track down the day before at ol City Hall. I had some questions about the city’s new take on building affordable housing for Woo residents. After all, almost half of Worcester’s population is eligible for affordable housing.

First Miguel Rivera, a guy who works for economic development czar Tim Mcgourthy. It was such a pretty day yesterday! Everyone seemed to be having such a good time at the CDC tot lot! You would think all the food and good vibes would have loosened Rivera up some. Nope. All smiles, he offered nothing of value. Said he couldn’t and wouldn’t discuss the city’s CDCs. Said he wasn’t allowed to.

After the event, I checked my email. I had gotten an email from his city hall secretary, Amanda R. Amanda said Miguel wanted to know what questions I would be asking him if I interviewed him. Better yet, could I email her the questions?

Who are these pointless people? I mean, is this New York City? Are we living in Gotham, for cripe’s sake? Third-tier Worcester deserves at the very least workman like, basic, human interactions. Nothing fancy. Stop the games and let me ask a guy, a city employee, some fucking questions in his fucking office. Public’s right to know and all. I answered Amanda’s email. Told her I had button holed Miguel at a city event and that people like her made city government … pointless. Were a detriment to citizens understanding their city. Thanks for nothing.

Why are so many women TOOLS? I mean, you can be a secretary and still think for yourself!

2. Tim Mcgourthy, Worcester’s Chief Economic Development czar. The guy who holds the keys, or at least some of them, when it comes to housing and business development in our city.

I was pleasantly surprised. Tim is a nice guy. Very nice guy. Awfully friendly. I would call him down to earth and even sweet. He is the kinda guy women call adorable. At the event yesterday, he gave a very nice little speech in support of the work the WCG CDC was doing. He hung around and talked with folks and he let me ask him questions and tell him my reservations about the city’s affordable housing policy, new and supposedly improved.

Tim said he supports the CDCs but that he wants to open up the affordable housing building game to more peeps. And he wanted more home ownership. He said if developers want federal funds to build units then they HAVE TO CHARGE AFFORDABLE RENTS FOR THE UNITS. Made sense to me. I told him it would be great if all of his department’s ideas, the city’s housing master plan, was made available to folks IN HARD COPY at neighborhood centers, the YMCA and YWCA, churches, barber shops, places where Worcester people could read it, digest it, discuss it. I said the city’s huge report, a tome or door stop if ever there was one, was hard to understand. Tim agreed, said there should be a way to get thus important information out into the community.

Then I said, I think if you want to make three decker home ownership a reality for more people, the city needs to set aside A HELL OF A LOT MORE MONEY FOR DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE, REHAB ASSISTANCE. I told him I was looking at three deckers in the inner city – all I could afford – and the buildings I saw were in horrible shape, often times vandalized. Cut up into teeny apts. Copper wire pulled out. Gutted bathrooms. How was a regular working person gonna fix those disasters? The city needs to put aside so much more money for rehab. Our great old buildings have been si abused.

I also told him all the city’s talk about homeownership for all seemed very pie in the sky. Very unrealistic. I told Tim at the last city economic development subcommittee meeting, the city sounded like President George W. Bush right before he created the housing bubble.

Tim listened to my concerns. Seemed to actually care about people making good housing decisions. He said some folks would be renters and that the city has to offer them good housing choices, too.

I believe Tim M. us a good person. He said he wasn’t anti CDC and I believed him. He is such a likeable person it was hard not to believe him, doubt his good intentions. The sun shone brightly on the folks at the WCG CDC celebration yesterday. It shone brightly on Tim Mcgourthy.

And don’t forget, re: Worcester’s proposed housing policy …

the Worcester City Council meets tomorrow at 7 p.m., City Hall, 3rd floor, Main Street. You can “testify” on pertinent city issues before the council meeting begins in earnest at 7 p.m. Just get there at 6:45/6:30 p.m and put your name on “the list.” I hope folks get up and speak up for the kind of affordable housing Worcester needs! And how the CDCs fill the housing gap. Three or four developers (one who lives in Wayland!!!) should not be the only people bending the ears of city councilors or City Manager Mike O’Brien. O’Brien has been treating the CDCs like dirt for months now with a kind of passive aggressiveness that is unprofessional and disheartening. He has, however, been empowering real estate moguls like Artie Mooradian, a good egg but whose apartments are EXPENSIVE for so many families in our city!!!! WE ALL NEED TO SPEAK UP AND HAVE SOME SAY IN THE PROCESS. If we don’t, families and blue collar folks will be shut out of Worcester or, even worse, the city will get tougher, meaner. Crimes like break ins and armed robberies will go up because folks will not have the $$$ to survive. Paying your rent should not leave you hungry or too poor to pay your electricity or gas bill (rent for most flats/apts in Wusta don’t include utilities/gas) or buy shoes and clothing for your kids.

also, The Worcester Common Ground CDC hosts a cookout, area walking tour in honor of their Austin Corridor project. It’s at  3 p.m. tomorrow, at the corner of Austin and Newbury streets – in the CDC’s tot lot. Be there to learn the truth about our CDCs, such as there ARE INCOME THRESHOLDS renters/prospective condo owners must meet! And see their fab grounds, units!  Click here for more info! – R. Tirella