Police Officers Living in Public Housing (Boston Housing Authority)

Joshua Dankoff filed this request with the Boston Housing Authority of Boston, MA .
Multi Request Police Officers Living in Public Housing
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Joshua Dankoff


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, I hereby request the following records:

1. Rules, policies, or other practice documents concerning residency restrictions for police officers, command staff, and other police staff. If residency restrictions allow for a waiver, then records for each year from 2016 through 2021 that reflect
(a) the number of residency rule waivers applied,
(b) the stated reason for the residency waiver, and
(c) the outcome of the residency waiver.

2. Rules, policies, or other practice documents from your municipality that lay out whether police department staff (including officers) can receive housing subsidies and/or live in public housing, even if they do not qualify under the income guidelines.

3. Records that indicate for each year from 2016 through 2021 how many police department staff (including officers and staff of all ranks) live in public housing, and the name of the housing development where the officer lives. This can either be a snapshot on January 1st of each year 2016 through 2021, or a summary of the entire period

4. Records that indicate housing allowances or other subsidized housing (not already covered in question 3 above) provided to police department staff (including officers and command staff) in your or another municipality.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by the recommendations of the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

I expect the request to be filled in an accessible format, including for screen readers, which provide text-to-speech for persons unable to read print. Files that are not accessible to screen readers include, for example, .pdf image files as well as physical documents.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Joshua Dankoff

From: Boston Housing Authority

Dear Joshua Dankoff,

The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) acknowledges receipt of your request for public records received on April 5, 2021. You have requested that the Boston Housing Authority provide copies of the following records:

“Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, I hereby request the following records:
1. Rules, policies, or other practice documents concerning residency restrictions for police officers, command staff, and other police staff. If residency restrictions allow for a waiver, then records for each year from 2016 through 2021 that reflect
(a) the number of residency rule waivers applied,
(b) the stated reason for the residency waiver, and
(c) the outcome of the residency waiver.
2. Rules, policies, or other practice documents from your municipality that lay out whether police department staff (including officers) can receive housing subsidies and/or live in public housing, even if they do not qualify under the income guidelines.
3. Records that indicate for each year from 2016 through 2021 how many police department staff (including officers and staff of all ranks) live in public housing, and the name of the housing development where the officer lives. This can either be a snapshot on January 1st of each year 2016 through 2021, or a summary of the entire period
4. Records that indicate housing allowances or other subsidized housing (not already covered in question 3 above) provided to police department staff (including officers and command staff) in your or another municipality..”

The BHA will produce the above records as requested with no fee.

The BHA has not had any police officers living in public housing during the stated period. Below is an excerpt taken from our ACOP:

“10.6 Occupancy by Police Officers (Federal Developments/AMPs Only)

10.6.1 Definition of Police Officer

For purposes of this subsection, a police officer is defined as a person who is employed on a full-time basis as a duly licensed professional police officer by a Federal, State or local government or by any agency of these governments. An officer of a local police force or an accredited police force of a housing agency may qualify.

10.6.2 Purpose of Policy

In order to increase security for BHA public housing residents, the BHA may allow police officers to reside in a public housing apartment, even if such police officers might not otherwise qualify, based on income, for BHA public housing.

10.6.3 Terms of Tenancy for Police Officers

1. Occupancy

Police Officers who apply for BHA housing will be subject to the same terms, standards (other than income) and procedures that are applied to all other BHA Applicants.

2. Verification

Police officers will undergo the same verification procedures applied to other BHA Applicants. Those procedures are outlined in this Admission and Continued Occupancy Policy. Screening criteria contained in this policy therefore apply.

3. Waivers

Police Officers approved for occupancy in BHA apartments will be given a waiver that allows them to be chosen for BHA housing without being placed on the Authority’s waiting list.

4. Lease

Police Officers shall execute a lease or occupancy agreement with the BHA providing for the terms of occupancy of an apartment. BHA Admissions & Continued Occupancy Policy Page 169 Rev 10/08/2019

5. Annual Re-certification

Continued employment as a police officer as defined in this subsection, will remain a determining factor in the renewal of a Police Officer’s lease or occupancy agreement. Police Officers are therefore required to submit annually to the BHA proof of continued employment as a police officer.

Failure to remain employed as a Police Officer will therefore result in a refusal to renew a Police Officer’s lease or occupancy agreement.

6. If a person is no longer a Police Officer, but meets the BHA eligibility standards, the Police Officer may apply for admission as a BHA resident.

10.6.4 Apartments to be Occupied by Police Officers
The BHA will offer apartments to Police Officers based upon BHA-determined security needs. In no event shall the number of apartments allotted for Police Officers exceed one Police Officer per development/AMP with more than 100 apartments but less than 500 apartments, and not more than two Police Officers for any development/AMP with over 500 apartments.”

This excerpt is from the code of Federal Regulations:
24 CFR § 960.505 Occupancy by police officers to provide security for public housing residents.
(a) Police officer. For purpose of this subpart E, “police officer” means a person determined by the PHA to be, during the period of residence of that person in public housing, employed on a full-time basis as a duly licensed professional police officer by a Federal, State or local government or by any agency of these governments. An officer of an accredited police force of a housing agency may qualify.
(b) Occupancy in public housing. For the purpose of increasing security for residents of a public housing development, the PHA may allow police officers who would not otherwise be eligible for occupancy in public housing, to reside in a public housing dwelling unit. The PHA must include in the PHA annual plan or supporting documents the number and location of the units to be occupied by police officers, and the terms and conditions of their tenancies; and a statement that such occupancy is needed to increase security for public housing residents.
If you disagree with this response to your request to access the above records you have the right of an administrative appeal to the supervisor of records under 950 CMR 32.08(i) and the right to seek judicial review of an unfavorable decision by commencing a civil action in the superior court.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 617-988-4501 or via email at laurie.roy@bostonhousing.org.

Sincerely,

Laurie

Laurie Roy
Paralegal/Records Access Officer
Boston Housing Authority
52 Chauncy St. - 10th Floor Legal Department
Boston, MA 02111
Tel: (617) 988-4501(direct)
Fax: (617) 988-4278

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