MCLA May Be Resource for North Adams Housing Authority

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Housing Authority is discussing possible use of MCLA's social work program to help its residents.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Housing Authority may utilize Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' social work program to help families and individuals in public housing who are in need of services.

Executive Director Jennifer Hohn said she has again applied for a grant for a family self-sufficiency coordinator.

The 25-year-old federal Housing and Urban Development program is designed to promote self-sufficiency in public housing residents through training, education, case management and other supports.

The funding would support a full-time position for someone who can work with a percentage of the families in public housing. But the authority has not been able to get the funding in the past.

"We have applied for it annually, and we haven’t been lucky enough to get it," Hohn told the authority's board on Monday. "We aren’t metropolitan so it is very competitive."

She said the coordinator's goal is to help families and individuals transition out of public housing.

Board member and MCLA instructor Ben Taylor said the college's student could be a resource if the funding is not awarded.

"This could be an opportunity for service learning for students because they are getting excellent field experience and it could be a really great for the community," Taylor said. "If we don’t get it, this at least could be a great attempt of a resource just down the street."

Hohn said she thought it was a great idea and would look into it.

"I think the relationship between some of the tenants who are younger college age could be wonderful," she said.

The Housing Authority also approved the new five year plan. Hohn said there are few major changes from the last plan.

"We have made so many changes in the past five years there are only so many new things we can do," she said. "I think the most important part of our plan is our capital action plan and the work items we would like to complete over the next five years."

The board also approved an updated tenant fee list that includes new violations such as damages to doors and fire sprinklers. The past list dealt with mostly lockouts and problem with the key mechanism on the doors.

"A lot of these haven’t increased, but we added on some items we never charged tenants for before," she said. "It's mostly for routine people who are breaking the same things."

Tags: Housing Authority,   MCLA,   social work,   

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