Chelsea is the tip of a corrupt iceberg

James Shearer
Spare Change News

Hello boys and girls, when last we spoke I told you a little about the corrupt Chelsea Housing Authority Executive Director who was making a tad too much moola that the state didn’t even know about.

As I said then, it seemed that no one is minding the store. But did you also know that Chelsea’s housing authority is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to abuses of power in these places?

I know of and have experienced some of this first-hand. There is outright racism and homophobia in some of these places, take for instance one local authority that I know of openly discriminated against the mothers of my godsons because they were gay, and they didn’t even try to hide it.

Even though they were married, the housing authority worker tried to claim that they do not have to adhere to the state’s gay marriage law because the authority falls under federal jurisdiction.

Don’t laugh, it’s a true story. You would be surprised at some of the excuses housing social workers come up in order to not do their jobs.

Let you in on a little secret, some social workers have little respect for the people they serve. In fact, most believe that the poor are ignorant and uneducated, thus the overreaching story regarding gay marriage story.

Fortunately the moms didn’t feed into it and they were allowed on the same lease. But it didn’t stop the social worker from calling in DSS and claiming that my godsons were being abused.

Shocking, after all these false claims, neither the worker nor the housing authority were ever disciplined, in fact the worker in question is still there.

There was another incident with another housing authority that indirectly involved me, a friend of mine had just got her Section 8 housing certificate. She was very excited about it. Unfortunately my friend is slow and because of that, people sometimes take advantage of her. More often than not I intercede and protect her. So after the gay marriage thing it didn’t surprise me that a housing social worker was trying to take advantage of my friend.

Also this particular housing authority itself is well-known to most advocates for taking advantage of those less fortunate. This particular social worker was telling my friend that there were some extra charges on her lease that made her rent just a tad high. For those of you who don’t know, Section 8 and low-income housing in general only charges 30 percent of a person’s income. This worker told my friend that there was a fee for use of the stove in the apartment.

So being the nosy person that I am I checked out this so-called fee and found that there was none. Also my friend told me that the cost of the cooking fee added up to at least 50 percent of her income, I told her I would see what I can do.

It just so happened that I had to drop off some paperwork at this housing authority and while I was at it, I would drop off a letter for my friend that needed to be delivered. I put the letter in one of our company envelopes. When I went to the front desk her social worker recognized me. Seems this housing authority has a subscription to our newspaper.

She remarked that she didn’t know my friend was associated with Spare Change News. I smiled a knowing smile and said, “Why yes, your client is a close friend of mine,” and walked away. Twenty minutes later my friend called me and told me that it seemed her social worker had made a mistake on that cooking fee and that her rent would now be at it’s normal 30 percent. So everything turned out ok, but it shouldn’t have been like this in the first place.

Shame on you, housing authorities. I will be watching you. Happy New Year.

JAMES SHEARER is co-founder and board president of Spare Change News.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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