News Update

June 2001

Lawsuit over Evicting Battered Women Tue, 10 Jul 2001 18:54:07 -0700

Civil Rights Groups Fight Eviction of Battered Women Under "Zero Tolerance" Housing Policy FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, July 10, 2001 PORTLAND, OREGON

In the first legal challenge of its kind, Legal Aid Services of Oregon and the Oregon Law Center, in coalition with national women's rights advocates, today joined a federal sex discrimination lawsuit challenging a property management company's policy of evicting victims of domestic violence from their homes. Today's legal action was joined by attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union's Women's Rights Project and NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. According to the lawsuit, Tiffani Alvera, 24, was served with a 24-hour eviction notice in 1999 by Creekside Village Apartments in Oregon after she informed them that she had taken out a temporary restraining order against her husband, who had attacked her in their apartment. "What happened to Tiffani is not an aberration," said Ellen Johnson, staff attorney in the Hillsboro Regional Legal Aid Services of Oregon office and lead counsel in the case. "Victims of domestic violence are losing their homes and being denied housing opportunities solely because of the behavior of their abusers." Similar zero tolerance policies against violence are applied to victims of domestic violence in both private and subsidized housing throughout the United States, including Michigan, California, Louisiana, Colorado and Massachusetts, Johnson said. The case initially was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which investigated the matter and determined that Ms. Alvera's rights had been violated. With today's legal action, Ms. Alvera joins the case on her own behalf, represented by the rights groups. The case will now be heard in U.S. District Court. "It is both cruel and illogical to apply a zero tolerance housing policy to a victim of domestic violence," said Lenora Lapidus, Director of the ACLU Women's Rights Project and co-counsel in the lawsuit. "We all want to live in a safe environment, but punishing innocent victims and discriminating against women is not the way to achieve that aim." Government and academic studies consistently report that the vast majority of domestic violence victims are female and that their abusers are known to them. Thus, today's lawsuit claims, the zero tolerance policy discriminates against women on the basis of their gender, in violation of federal law. On August 2, 1999, Tiffani Alvera was physically assaulted by her husband in their two-bedroom apartment. The police were called and her husband was arrested, lodged in jail and charged with assault. That same day, Ms. Alvera went to Clatsop County Circuit Court and obtained a restraining order prohibiting her husband from coming on to the apartment complex where they lived. When she gave the resident manager a copy of the restraining order, she was told the management company had decided to evict her under a zero tolerance policy against violence. Two days later, Ms. Alvera was served with a notice of eviction. Subsequently, Ms. Alvera's attempts to pay rent for August and September were refused, as was her application for a smaller apartment. "Victims of domestic violence across the country are vulnerable to this hidden discrimination," said Martha Davis, Legal Director, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. "At the moment when they most need housing in order to start a new life, women are being thrown out of their homes because of their partners' violence." The case is Alvera v. C.B.M. et al. Ms. Alvera is represented by Johnson of Oregon Legal Aid Services; Michelle Ryan of the Oregon Legal Center; Geoffrey Boehm and Wendy Weiser of NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund based in New York; and Lapidus of the ACLU Women's Rights Project, also based in New York. A legal brief in the case can be read online at: . The ACLU Fact Sheet on domestic violence is available at:

The new Cambridge Homeless Service Provider Resource Guide is out. Attached is a summary of the application submitted by the Cambridge Continuum.

I am attaching a list of the needs that we identified during our 2000-2001 planning process -- most of which could not be addressed in our SuperNOFA application. (I am also attaching a list from the 1999-2000 planning process to make sure that we haven't lost any important information from one year to the next.) Three new domains are now up and running due to the support of Bob Doyle and Skybuilders. David plans to hold meetings to discuss what the corporate entities to be formed around these domains would look like. Our agenda at the focus group meetings will be to plan next steps towards addressing some of those ongoing needs.

Please check out the great articles on literacy!!!

Yeah, BostonHomeless ,org and MassHomeless.org and USHomeless ,org are now up and will soon be running at full speed!!!!

You're Going to Get the Rebate Anyway

By Ellen Goodman

BOSTON--OK, so you were an opponent of the tax cut. You called the president's ``tax relief'' a four-letter word: s-c-a-m. You ranted about how the $1.3 trillion cut would benefit the rich at the expense of the rest.

When you heard about the $300 rebate, you sneered, ``oh goody, I'm rich.'' You figured that could pay for one month of your mom's prescription drugs or buy three sets of silver-plated place card holders from Saks Fifth Avenue. And when you discovered that 35 million low-income workers--those who need it the most-- would get no rebate at all, you just about went apoplectic.

Well, guess what pal: YOU'RE GONNA GET THE MONEY ANYWAY. They don't just give the rebate to people who agree with the policy. You're one of the 91 million Americans who are going to be getting a big fat collective $38 billion.

Soon you'll get a letter announcing this with a fanfare: ``We are pleased to inform you that the United States Congress passed--and President George W. Bush (news - web sites) signed into law--the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, which provides long-term tax relief for all Americans who pay income taxes.''

This will read like a rouse from Publishers Clearing House or a fund-raiser from the Republican National Committee (news - web sites), but it's from IRS and the message is simple: Here Comes Santa.

The letter says something else: ``You will be receiving a check. You need to take no additional steps.'' But there, dear IRS, I beg to differ. You do need to take additional steps. You need to figure out what you'll do with your 300 ill-gained bucks.

I know. Many folks regard the rebates as their money wrenched back from the thieves in Washington. Many regard it as found money, picked up on the sidewalk of a forgetful administration. Some regard it as house money in the big gamble of the Bush budget.

But you have a suspicion that it's also hush money designed to create silent accomplices.

It's time to put your money where your mouth is. You didn't want it; give it away. You don't like the budget; make your own.

``This is like a giant social experiment,'' says Richard Thau, president of Third Millennium, an advocacy group for young adults. ``If you send unexpected money to tens of millions of households, what percentages of those households will give all or part of the rebate to charity?''

Thau is going to donate his own rebate to a program for homeless women. But his group has set up DonateRebate.org, a site that leads to Helping.org, which lists 700,000 nonprofit groups. Many help the people that are hurt the most.

Tony Adams, a Houston Web site developer and a political in-activist, goes a step further. The 35-year-old Adams, engaged to a woman who ``pledged her rebate to shoes,'' didn't even vote in the last election. But he was so infuriated when Bush reinstituted the global gag rule against international family planning groups, he pledged his rebate to ``help counteract Bush's actions.''

His new Web site, TaxRebatePledge.org, has already attracted more than 300 people who promised more than $100,000 to groups that oppose the administration on such things as international family planning, the environment and civil rights. ``People think I'm some kind of a liberal wacko,'' says Adams. ``If your country is a car and about to veer off the road to the right, you got to jerk it pretty hard to the left to get it back onto the center.''

Now I know that despite all your ranting, it's easiest to cash the check. You could pay down the credit cards or invest both checks at 8 percent and have $6,500 in 2031. Heck, no one-time rebate is going to create an alternative budget or an alternative politics. Your whole point is that individuals can't replace every function of a government. And you can't send it back to the government or they'll use it for some missile fantasy.

But you've got a month or more to turn this rebate scam into a discussion about how to make a difference, where to begin and what's most important. You can be a $300-a-person philanthropist, a $600-a-couple social change agent.

And while you're putting your money where your mouth is, why let the tax-cut supporters off the hook? Didn't they tell us that private folks use the money more wisely than Washington?

When George W. signed this tax cut, he said, ``This bill is more than just tax relief. This bill reflects a philosophy that says we trust the American people more than we trust government.''

Now there's $38 billion coming our way. Sometimes hush money can make a very loud statement.

© 2001, The Boston Globe Newspaper Company

A view of the recentTask Force Meeting!!

David was in attendance at this months Task Force to End Homelesness meeting at Payette Associates.

1) The agenda included :Community Preservation Act

Civic Initiative/Future Search Thelma Barros Guide Roxbury Building

BSA Foundation grants

Build Boston 2001

CHAPA homeless Commitee

Sandra Viera-Homeless Memorial

Mass housing Partnership-Ann Houston

Project Updates

To BSA members and friends in Newton and members of the BSA Task Force to End Homelessness:

Some of the members of the Task Force after a recent meeting!!!

There is a hearing before two Aldermaniacal committees at City Hall on Thursday, May 31 at 7:45 pm to decide to put the Community Preservation Act (CPA) on the Newton ballot this fall or not. There is a groundswell of public support to get it on the ballot either through he Aldermen or by petition.

The CPA is an excellent way to make a better city.

* We are only half way to meeting the goal of Chapter 40B --10% of housing units are affordable -- not counting prison cells.

* Remaining open spaces are being filled with high-end housing

* Every day buildings of distinguished character are lost to speculation and insensitive development.

Architects can play a needed role in visualizing where new development can happen, how good older buildings can be saved and adaptively reused, and how open spaces, affordable housing and historic presentation efforts can be overlaid in a win-win situation.

I've prepared some supporting material and if you are interested, write or call the bsa at bsa@architects.org/617-951-1433x221 and they will send it to you.

Thank you.

John Wilson Chair, Task Force to End Homelessness Newton resident

John Wilson, Chair, Task Force to End Homelessness

Our NELRC cohorts have just issued an RFP for the ABE-to-College Transitions Project, funded by the Nellie Mae Educational Foundation. The 17-page RFP is online as a Portable Document Format (PDF) version only, as such highly formatted documents really don't translate well into HTML:

Particulars: Estimated grant range: $25,000-45,000 for first year

Bidders conference: June 28 at World Education

Proposal deadline: July 27

They are especially interested in funding Massachusetts programs in this round. For further details, please contact Jessica Spohn, project coordinator 617-482-9485

Shortly, HomeStart will start to provide field-based case management, housing search and stabilization services to homeless consumers in Cambridge as a result of taking on the Housing Resource Team and Field-Based Case Management Program contracts. We will keep you posted as to when we will officially open to take client referrals and how that process will work. In the meantime, we have begun the hiring process to bring on staff for these two programs. We need your help to spread the word about these job opportunities. Please find below five job postings in plain text. We have also attached the job postings which are in an easy-to-read format. Please post and forward to interested parties. If you know a qualified candidate, they are welcome to call or email me before submitting their cover letter and resume to hear more about the positions. Thank you for helping us find creative and compassionate staff to assist homeless people in Cambridge.

Cambridge Cares about Aids has 2 new job postings. Please pass them along.

David Pearson, Shawmut Education Executive Director

School is ending. Summer is beginning. And VES activity is increasing!

Now that the school year is winding down, we would like to tell you about a variety of opportunities that will enable you to continue your participation in VES throughout the summer months.

1. Online Professional Development Opportunities: VES Summer School will be offered to all VES users starting June 25th. Learn about standards based resources available to you, participate in discussions with other educators across the state, and contribute to the design and development of VES. Self-study modules will be rolled out weekly, allowing you to participate at your own pace. The program has been designed for those who wish to earn PDPs and for those who just want to learn more about VES. You will be able to access the Summer School Registration Form on the VES Homepage by June 22nd.

2. VES Design and Development Opportunities: Many of you know that VES will have major development activity underway this summer and next fall. Massachusetts’s public school educators are an incredible resource for the VES Initiative. As a result we are looking to you to support and augment our efforts this summer.

We are seeking individuals for intensive multi-day workshops, part time assignments during the summer, and part time assignments during the fall. All of the projects will give participants direct and early access to VES capabilities, as well as an opportunity to help direct the course of VES. For some it will also mean a chance to participate in advanced wireless, handheld, and Internet Appliance hardware. The following is a list of the projects that we invite you to join:

a.Student Design Team: --> We seek students who are willing to participate in an extended set of activities throughout the summer and fall, as the Student Design Team. This team will participate in the design of the student tools, resources, and student workspace.

b.Technology Competency Project: --> These individuals will help write ISTE and NETS based technology competencies for teaches and students. The competencies will be used to develop an online professional development course.

c.Standards Based Education Competency Project: --> These individuals will prepare standards for what teachers should know and be able to do in implementing standards based teaching and learning. The standards prepared by this group will be used to develop an online professional development course.

d.Curriculum Mapping Project: --> These individuals will prepare model performance based maps of the curriculum in their discipline. The product of this multi-day process will be used with the Instructional Planning and Management tools.

e.Beta Test Program: --> These individuals will test early versions, and proof of concept prototypes of VES tools, resources, and applications.

f.Edge Device Beta Test Program: --> These individuals will test early versions, and proof of concept prototypes of VES handheld, wireless, and Internet Appliances.

g.Professional Development Team: --> These individuals will help VES staff write and test online professional development courses and modules.

h.Educational Content Research and Evaluation Project: --> These individuals will work with VES to identify, validate, document, and integrate high quality Web resources into VES.

i.Programming Projects: --> J2EE, Java and XML, XSL programmers are sought for challenging assignments with the VES team.

j.Librarian Focus Group: --> Participants in this team will work on the VES Virtual Library and Content Gateway projects.

k.Business Manager Focus Group: --> Participants in this team will work on the VES District and School Administrative Support projects.

l.Research and Development Team: --> Educators with research, evaluation, cognitive science, instructional theory, HCI, knowledge base, expert system, or VR expertise are sought for challenging R&D assignments with the VES team.

If you are interested in working on any of these projects, please go to the VES Opportunities exchange at www.ves.mass.edu/voxmain.htm. You can also access the form by clicking on the VOX link on the VES homepage (www.ves.mass.edu). Once you’ve completed the form, you will be contacted regarding the specific opportunities for which you have indicated an interest.

For additional information on any of the above summer opportunities, please contact Mark Rodgers at vox@ves.mass.edu.

Finneran bills push low-cost housing

By Rick Klein, Globe Staff, 6/21/2001

House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran

House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran is to unveil a sweeping package of proposals today designed to reduce the state's affordable-housing crunch.

The details have pleasantly surprised housing advocates, who said they were impressed that Finneran's plan includes a larger-than-expected $508 million bond bill, and other elements advocated by House members, even Finneran critics.

''The speaker has kept his promise,'' said Representative Byron Rushing, a South End Democrat who has clashed frequently with Finneran.

The Finneran plan eliminates some of the more explosive ideas initially floated - such as a proposal to count jail and prison inmates in affordable-housing tallies - and puts together a well-rounded strategy on housing policy, said Aaron Gornstein, executive director of the Citizens' Housing and Planning Association.

''It's one of the most comprehensive housing bills we've seen in many years,'' Gornstein said.

If the package becomes law, it could lead to the construction and rehabilitation of thousands of affordable homes and apartments across the state, Gornstein said.

The bills include a series of tax incentives for housing developers, along with the bond authorization, which would fund new construction and repair aging public housing. It would also set up a special commission that would develop a five-year plan to end homelessness in Massachusetts.

Finneran is to appear today in Roxbury to announce his plan, along with several other state lawmakers and Mayor Thomas M. Menino. The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to approve the housing bill by early next week, and it is scheduled for debate on the House floor next Wednesday.

The bond component of the bill, if left at $508 million, could force a confrontation with Acting Governor Jane M. Swift, who is not obligated to issue bonds approved by the Legislature. Her administration has recently agreed to increase the state's bond spending on housing from $71 million per year to $100 million, but the House bill would require $166 million per year for each of the next three years.

A Swift spokesman, Jason Kauppi, said the administration needs to review the details of the House proposal before deciding whether to raise the state's bond cap.

Finneran's stamp of approval on the proposal represents a significant concession to the liberal members of his party, many of whom have criticized the Mattapan Democrat's leadership style. The speaker and his staff were careful to include housing advocates, committee chairmen, and rank-and-file House members in cobbling together the package over the past six weeks.

''It was a combined internal and external effort, and I'm proud of what's been put forth thus far,'' Finneran said. ''Housing production at all income levels is very, very important to not just the economic picture in Massachusetts, but to the quality of life.''

The plan also includes a compromise concerning anti-snob zoning laws, which require communities to shoulder their fare share of affordable housing.

The proposal would make it slightly easier for communities to comply with the law, while at the same time opening the door to penalties for cities and towns that don't. A special commission would address sanctions for communities that don't reach state-set affordable-housing thresholds.

That aspect of the speaker's plan would effectively replace the scores of other anti-snob zoning proposals on the table, including the one to count prisoners as housing, which was filed by Finneran's own Ways and Means chairman. But any number of those proposals could come up on the House floor next week, and debate on the issue could be considerable.

Housing advocates said that although the House proposal doesn't solve all the issues in the realm of housing, it makes significant progress.

''It's been a very good process,'' said Lew Finfer, an organizer with the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization. ''He's following through. It has a lot of good things for affordable housing.''

Rick Klein can be reached by e-mail at rklein@globe.com.

This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 6/21/2001. © Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.

Shawmut Education

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