2020 Virtual Conference Agenda



Tuesday - September 15


 Welcome/Plenary Session

MassNAHRO President and Executive Director will update members on the Association's activities and progress since the last conference and provide insight on what's in store going forward. This session will also offer an overview of the agenda, speakers and extra activities that make up the 2020 Virtual Conference.

Speakers: David Hedison, President, MassNAHRO; Ben Stone, Associate Director, Division of Public Housing, DHCD; Donna Brown-Rego, Executive Director, MassNAHRO

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

 DHCD Resource Room 
10:00 AM - 11:15 AM  Concurrent Sessions
  • Tips & Techniques for Supporting Tenants with Mental Health Needs in Public Housing 

Participants will gain tools to better respond to behavioral challenges in their housing communities. Whether a result of social isolation related to COVID-19 or increased agitation due to other stressors, housing communities are faced with increased behavioral health needs. This workshop will help housing communities know when and how to intervene, de-escalate problem situations when they arise, gain confidence in speaking with residents with challenging behaviors, and collaborate with other supports in their local community. Tips and Techniques for Supporting Residents with Mental Illness: A Guide for Staff in Housing for Older Adults will be provided to each participant.
Presenter: Mary Curlew, LICSW, Jewish Family & Children’s Service
  • Open Meeting Law
On March 12, Governor Baker issued an Executive Order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law. Come hear how this affects your agency and what you need to know to be sure you’re in compliance.
Presenter: Jeffrey Driscoll, Executive Director, Medford H.A.
  • Repositioning Federal Public Housing
Because federal funding does not and will not meet growing public housing rehabilitation needs, HUD is encouraging local housing authorities to evaluate their public housing assets to determine if repositioning their public housing units could better meet their affordable housing needs. Through repositioning, public housing agencies (PHAs) and their partners can access financing to repair and preserve units to provide better homes to thousands of families and more flexibly manage their affordable housing to better meet local needs. PHAs and local communities can voluntarily choose to reposition their units by converting their current public housing subsidies to project-based rental subsidies or to tenant-based vouchers. HUD representatives and Mass. PHAs will discuss repositioning strategies include voluntary conversion (250 units or fewer), Section 18 Demolition/Disposition (50 units or fewer) and Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD).

Presenter: Tom Davis, Office of Recapitalization, US Department of Housing and Urban Development


11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

 Virtual Exhibit Hall

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

 DHCD Resource Room 
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM  Concurrent Sessions
  • COVID-Related Employment Issues
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to new challenges for employers and human resource professionals. The trend of employees working from home may continue for some agencies. School reopening will also present challenges for employees with children and employers. This interactive session will address some of the recent employment issues evolving from the pandemic including remote work policies, leave implications, tracking employee work hours, travel bans and testing, and workers’ compensation implications.

Presenter: Michelle Randazzo, Esq. KP, Law; David Matosky, CMS Associates

  • Racial Equality & Diversity
Attorneys from Suffolk Law School’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program will discuss fair housing law and best practices with a focus on promoting racial equality and avoiding discriminatory practices. Attorneys will share results from recent research on race and source of income discrimination in the Greater Boston Area which illustrates how systemic racism has laid the framework for our current fragmented society. 
Presenter: Jamie Langowski, Esq.(she, her, hers) , Assistant Director, Housing Discrimination Testing Program, Suffolk Law; Catherine LaRaia, Esq. (she, her, hers), Director of Investigations and Outreach, Housing Discrimination Testing Program, Suffolk Law 

  • HUD Update

The Boston Field Office staff will be giving the HUD Update, which will cover HUD’s response to COVID-19 and tools made available to PHAs, such as the CARES Act funding and important programmatic waivers. They will discuss shortfall funding made available for both the Public Housing and HCV programs this year. Finally, they will provide updates on Repositioning efforts in Massachusetts, including success stories, common hurdles, and resources available to PHAs who may be looking towards repositioning in the near future.

Presenters: Maura O’Brien, Division Director, Caitlin Johnson Acting Division Director, Robert Cwieka, Acting Director, Office of Public Housing, Boston HUB. 

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM  Roundtables
  • Small Agency Roundtable
  • Medium/Large Agency Roundtable
  • Commissioners Roundtable

Come share ideas & best practices, get answers to questions, and learn from your peers. Each of the three roundtables will be in separate virtual breakout rooms. Members can move to a different one at anytime.




Please submit questions ahead of time to roliveira@massnahro.org

Wednesday - September 16

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

 DHCD Resource Room
10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Concurrent Sessions

  • Technology – What Have We Learned in 2020

As we navigate through the world of working remote and social distancing -housing authorities are finding different ways to use technology. Hear what agencies – small, medium, and large are doing to steer their way through 2020 using tools such as Zoom, DocuSign, RoboCalls and much more!

Presenters: Pamela Rogers, Executive Director, Amherst H.A.; Steve Beauregard, Executive Director, New Bedford H.A.; Dan Ouellette, Executive Director, North Attleboro H.A.

  • Procurement During a Pandemic

Public procurement is often challenging in normal times.  What happens when there is an emergency?  The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has raised several questions about public procurement that this training intends to answer.  How do I conduct an emergency procurement?  How do I open bids publicly when we are not holding in-person public meetings? How can I receive bids when my office is closed? Do I continue to pay vendors that are under contract if they are no longer providing services? These are some of the questions and topics we will review to help ensure that procurement can continue lawfully and effectively under any conditions.   

Presenter: Neil Cohen, Director of Regulatory & Compliance, Office of the Inspector General

  • Lease Enforcement During the Eviction Moratorium 
This session will not be recorded and must be attended live

The attorneys will begin with a quick review of the current law. Then they will discuss strategies for getting the rent paid (including repayment agreements, no income statements, investigating fraud in income reporting and collection options). Next they will talk about creative strategies to encourage general lease compliance (including smoking, unauthorized occupants, noise, harassment, minor criminal activity, and violations of Agreements for Judgment). Finally, they will cover ways to advance a summary process matter to eviction when the criminal behavior(s) or lease violating conduct impacts the health and safety of other residents, health care workers, emergency personnel or persons lawfully on the property during the eviction moratorium.

Moderator: Andrew J. Bailey, Esq., Leased Housing Supervisor/Executive Assistant, Dedham H.A.
Presenters: Karen Ahlers, Esq. – Regional Attorney serving Worcester County; Mary John Boylan, Esq. – Regional Attorney serving Essex County; Patricia Grace, Esq. – Regional Attorney serving Plymouth, Bristol, Barnstable and Nantucket Counties; Lori E. McBride, Esq. – Regional Attorney serving Middlesex County; Sarah O’Leary, Esq., Risk Management Specialist & Regional Legal Services Program Coordinator, DHCD

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

 Virtual Exhibit Hall 

 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

 DHCD Resource Room
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Concurrent Sessions

  • Climate Change Hazard Adaptation & Resiliency Masterplan (CHARM) 

DHCD and consultant partner New Ecology Inc. will present the conclusions of their study of the state-funded public housing portfolio’s vulnerability to climate change. This study includes assessment of developments vulnerability to extreme heat, inland flooding, and coastal flooding and sea level rise over the next 50 years, updated design guidelines incorporating climate change resiliency, and recommendations for updating our capital planning process to take into account resiliency needs.

Presenters: Simone Early – Supervisor, Architecture, Engineering and Sustainability Unit (AESU), DHCD; Greg Abbe, Sustainability Program Developer, DHCD; Tom Chase - Senior Project Manager, NEI; Deb Hall. Director of New Markets, NEI; Nathalie Beauvais - Principal, Climate Change Practice, Kleinfelder

  • Advocacy 101

Effective advocacy is crucial to getting adequate funding for our programs and influencing policy and change. But walking into the State House or calling a legislator’s office can be intimidating if you’re new at it. In this interactive session, learn when and how to contact your elected officials and how to present an effective message.  State Representative McMurtry will share his perspective on communicating with his constituents and the importance of knowing their issues. Legislative consultants will provide tools and tips to help you strengthen relationships with your legislators.

Panelists: Representative Paul McMurtry, 11th Norfolk District; Neil O’Brien, Consultant, Brian S. Hickey Associates

  • Property Insurance Claims 

When unexpected damage occurs to housing authority property you will not only need to address the problem, you will also need to know about how to deal with property insurance, what to do to find temporary accommodations for tenants, and answer questions tenants have about their belongings which may be damaged. Executive Directors will talk about their experiences with two of the most complicated property insurance claims the program has had. The Massachusetts Housing Authorities Insurance Program claim adjuster will discuss how he approaches claim evaluation and give you suggestions on what you can do at the beginning of a claim to help make the repair and insurance claim process go smoothly. Representatives from DHCD will discuss legal and administrative issues related to temporary tenant accommodations, and the DHCD Property Insurance Program.

Panelists: Colleen Doherty, Executive Director, Taunton HA; Mark Roy, Executive Director, Canton HA, Andy Ernst, Executive General Adjuster, Sedgwick; Chris Devore, Assistant Director of the Bureau of Housing Management, DHCD; Sarah O'Leary, Risk Management Specialist & Regional Legal Services Program Coordinator, DHCD



**Agenda to be updated as information becomes available**