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Mass. Senior Action Council tackles affordable housing, transportation and accessible bus stops in Malden, Everett and Revere

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By Tara Vocino


The Massachusetts Senior Action Council (MSAC) improves quality of life for seniors in Malden, Everett and Revere. Advocating for seniors independently of their local senior center, Mass. Senior Action Council members work on critical issues, such as affordable housing and transportation, including a bench for a bus stop.

“It is all driven by the partnerships that we have developed over the years, most notably, with Mass Senior Action Council (MSAC), who I continue to meet with on a monthly basis,” Malden Mayor Gary Christenson said on Friday. “These meetings have resulted in our focus on a host of topics including affordable housing, transportation, and accessible bus stops.”

According to Christenson, their advocacy is contagious, as organizations, like Housing Families and the Asian Community Development Corporation, have joined with MSAC to advocate for more affordable housing. This priority is coming to fruition with three noteworthy affordable housing developments in the works, and the Chinese Progressive Association and our own Disability Commission have been instrumental in advocating for accessible bus stops and more transportation options, which are coming as well with the MBTA’s Better Bus Network and a dozen or so new bus shelters.

“They’re not building federal housing, like 630 Salem St., right now,” Metro North Community Organizer Jake Taber said. “We’re hoping the bond bill will pass at the state level, which will allow us to raise money.”

According to MSAC Metro North Chapter Vice President/State Vice President Karen Lynch, vacant properties can be rented out to become affordable housing. Metro North chapter Treasurer Cindy Harris added there are three vacant properties along Cross Street.

Secretary of the MSAC Metro North chapter/State Board Treasurer Martha London said the council advocates for low Ride fares. For instance, it used to cost $3.70 each way, and it’s now $1.70 when seniors travel within three-quarters of a mile – either to their starting point or reaching their destination. “Transportation is an important issue,” London said. “We also participate in meetings with the T.”

London said Metro North is the only chapter that meets with a mayor monthly. Statewide, the council has 1,000 members and 120 members locally.

Harris said the council learned during one of the meetings that the bus stops that seniors use frequently aren’t always easy to get to. “Seniors have to travel down the block to get there,” Harris said. “There’s not always a bench at each bus stop.” Some seniors can’t get out much, and they want to help them. Taber said the council has advocated for six more bus shelters, especially at 557 Pleasant St. and 630 Salem St.

Another issue that they’re tackling is a water leak at 557 Pleasant St., which, like the others, is an elderly/disabled building. Harris estimated that 30 apartments out of 180 apartments become flooded from a leaking roof when it rains.

“Malden Housing Authority is aware of the problem and working to fix it, but we have been working with some members in the building to push our elected officials for more resources/help to get repairs moving forward faster,” Taber said. “This is because the longer we have to wait until a full repair, the more flooding events that will happen, the greater opportunity for damage and mold.”

For instance, last week, 15 members from 557 Pleasant St. visited U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark’s district office to tell their stories of serious flooding incidents.

“As prices go up and seniors’ income remains the same, their quality-of-life decreases,” Harris said.

Lynch added that they’re working on a Medicare savings plan for employees once they’re retired. The 2024 income limit is $2,844 for an individual and $3,853 for a married couple.

The council’s mission statement is that they’re a democratic, grassroots, senior-run organization committed to empowering seniors to collectively promote the rights and well-being of all people, particularly those of vulnerable seniors. The council meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m. Dues are $10 monthly or $50 yearly. For information, contact Taber at Jake@masenioraction.org.

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