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HHA board discusses how to manage unofficial long-term guests at Bliss

Jul 20, 2020 6:00 am
Jeanette Wolfberg is reporting for The Columbia Paper the Hudson Housing Authority during its public meeting Wed., July 8, heard from Robert Davis, an HHA commissioner and resident of Bliss Tower. The housing authority owns and operates the 135-unit Bliss tower affordable housing complex in Hudson. Davis called the board's attention to people who are not recorded as living in the high rise, but are in fact living there with a leaseholder. The authority's Executive Director Tim Mattice acknowledged, “This has been an ongoing problem since before I came here. It will probably always be a problem." What's more, Davis said, when tenants let friends and relatives live with them unofficially, other tenants feel they can do the same. The leases signed by Bliss tenants allow guests to stay up to 14 days, said Randall Martin, chairman of the HHA Board of Commissioners. But Mattice observed that enforcing the 14-day limit is difficult. “We can put them on their host’s lease, but first they must apply” for Bliss residence and go through the screening for new tenants. “We want to know who’s in the building and their background.” In the past, this policy was enforced on a case-by-case basis. Martin said that “there is a feeling” that when overstays are discovered, not everyone has been treated the same. “It would be to our benefit to deal with this in house rather than by evicting,” Martin said. One commissioner expressed concern about cases where more than the expected number of people share a bedroom. “Being over-housed is better than being on the street,” said Martin. “There’s not enough support for the needy.” NOTE: Martin is an active WGXC volunteer programmer. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.