"Put your complaints in writing." - State Rep. Garlick
At the April 2021 Needham Housing Authority Board Meeting, State Rep. Garlick spoke on the matter of tenant complaints. She offered up the notorious and ridiculous "7 Step Complaint Process" drawn up by NHA two years ago. I still have a copy. I keep it as an example of bureaucratic deflection and a ludicrous waste of time. (A different complaint form is shown above.)
I would show you the "7 Step Complaint Process" here and now, but I cannot find it - which points to a big part of the complaint process. Step One recommends that you, the tenant, call or write, the office with your complaint. concern, or issue, and (this is important!) keep a copy of your complaint for yourself.
Why would you, the tenant, be required to keep a copy? It might be because the much touted tracking system, which the new Executive Director, brought with her, when she was hired, does not really exist. The tracking system appears as a managerial fantasy.
The situation is designed, now, so that a complaint, concern, or issue, requires that each and every tenant devote part of their limited home office space to their own NHA record keeping system. Some tenants have boxes of NHA related paperwork, because they are interested in self-government, and because NHA public information is not available in a timely and comprehensible form.
The NHA wants to make the tenant the party responsible for solving the problem! NHA will ask, when you call back, "Did you make a complaint?" In other words, what did you, the tenant, do or not do? What mistake did you, the tenant, make? If the system is NOT working for tenants, like the Wi-Fi, it must be YOUR fault.
At this point, Rep. Garlick lectured the assembled multitudes about "Tenant Rights and Responsibilities." I don't know. I am 72 years old, and I have owned and managed rental property, as part of a career. Plus, we have all been renters, so I think we all know the basics. What we do not know, and find it hard to understand, is the idiocracy of public Housing in Needham.
I am not the only one, saying, "Yes, ...called the office, spoke with a person, left messages, emailed, and spoke up at meetings. Others have made it their business to call and write everybody they can think of. It is nearly hopeless.
How about, instead of each tenant doing this work, we try something new. How about when a tenant calls the office, somebody in the office writes down the concern, right there, and deals with it. What a concept!
I am doing my part by putting things down in writing, too.