Hingham Housing Authority Receives 100K State-Funded Grant for Creative Placemaking

Photo provided by the Hingham Housing Authority.

Thursday, October 15, 2020 submitted by the Hingham Housing Authority.

The Hingham Housing Authority, now under a new administration with James Marathas serving as Executive Director, through a management agreement with the Quincy Housing Authority, has received a $100,000 Grant Award from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. The grant was awarded as part of a Creative Place Making Competitive Grant and will be used to improve the availability of social activities for the elderly and disabled residents. 

“We are very pleased and appreciative of this award and the ability to improve the lives of the residents of the Hingham Housing Authority. The grant will be used to renovate the existing community room with new flooring, blinds, air conditioning as well as heat, the installation of two gazebos with benches, computer learning stations, fitness equipment, an outdoor patio, cooking area, and community garden. The present level of State funding would never permit these items to be priorities and receive funding without a program such as this. We are looking forward to a COVID-free and much-improved 2021," stated James Marathas, Executive Director. 

The new management agreement with Quincy Housing Authority creates a unique opportunity for the residents of Hingham. The resources of a large agency managing over 3,000 units of housing is now available to the approximately 100 units in Hingham. Since the inception of the agreement many units have been remodeled, new flooring installed in many units, renovation of the exterior of the community building, extensive landscaping improvements, repair of many plumbing and electrical deficiencies, conversion of maintenance office to an occupied unit, and addressing many outstanding maintenance repairs throughout all of the properties. The agreement also provides Hingham with an Elderly/Disabled Program Coordinator and a Family Supportive Program Coordinator to assist residents in bridging needed services. The agreement has been approved by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and is encouraging for small agencies having under 500 units to assist them in providing additional resources and staffing with limited budgets. 

The new management agreements provides Hingham with a public housing inspector, a property manager to assist with resident’s needs, a program coordinator, a tenant selector to assist in processing new prospective tenants, elderly coordinator, family coordinator, finance director, administrative assistant, secretary, and a new executive director. 

“The addition of these new services and staffing for a small agency where all of the jobs were performed by one Executive Director is much more effective and delivers an increased level of services to the residents which one person would never have been able to offer. For me it’s personal as much as it’s my job. We encourage our staff to treat each and every resident as if they were their own mother or father," says Executive Director Marathas.

The new services have included the delivery of free prepared meals throughout the pandemic along with free groceries being delivered. The authority has been hosting a fresh vegetable market for Its residents and as recently as yesterday offered full bags of vegetables for $2 along with receiving free groceries. 

“Stay tuned for our new website ready to launch by the end of this year which will provide prospective applicants with all the necessary links and information on the new process to apply for public housing. Visit us soon at www.hinghamha.com," shares Marathas.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to have this meaningful, working relationship with the Quincy Housing Authority staff,” said Hingham Housing Authority Chair, Janine Suchecki. “The residents have continued to express how happy they are with the new management of the Hingham Housing Authority."

The impact of the new management agreement extends beyond current Hingham Housing Authority residents: “I have also received positive feedback from Hingham residents outside of the Hingham Housing Authority, who have been able to ask questions and receive guidance in filling out applications for varying forms of assistance,” Suchecki continued. “Being able to help people faced with these difficult challenges is most significant. We are able to accomplish this because of James Marathas and the staff of the Quincy Housing Authority.”

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