To The Editor [University of Massachusetts student paper]:
One night early last spring one of my co-workers pointed out that Springfield had made the Big Time. Much to my amazement the big dot in Western Mass. was referred to in Jack Anderson’s column. He had hit the nail on the head as far as what was going to happen in the city this summer. He predicted that it would be a long, hot summer in the field of landlord-tenant relations. He could not have been more correct!
Even though you might not be aware of it, just twenty miles down Route 91 there is a seemingly feudal battle going on between the Springfield Housing Authority and the people that live in Public Housing. There are about five thousand tenants who are living under the czarist rule of the Housing Authority. These people are tired of being told how they are supposed to live, thus they started a tenant organization. The Springfield City-wide Public Housing Tenants Organization is striving to give themselves a say in how they live and what policies effect them, but moreover, what the policies are.
In Public Housing now, the Housing Authority tells you what if anything you can put on your walls, if you can put anything different in your apartment (i.e. hang a shelf) and if you can or can’t have over-night.
visitors. Could you live like that?
Well, they do everyday and will continue to unless they can keep their Tenant Organization alive. The primary goals of the organization are to create safe, sanitary and decent housing for all in Public Housing. However, more than anything they want to destroy the picture that most everyone has of Public Housing tenants (lazy, filthy and pregnant). Another goal is to rid themselves of the desperation and hopelessness that goes with their current life-style. The Housing Authority has got to start listening to what they say and really hear it! They have got to end their passive attitude toward things that need to be done but still aren’t.
They don’t want people to think that they’re stupid, ignorant hustlers, they just want people to realize that they are people, maybe less fortunate than others but they still have pride and the good sense to know that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Springfield City-Wide Tenants Organization is looking for people to work as community organizers. call
If you are interested either the Univ. Year for Action or come to the table in the C.C. Concourse Tuesday.