MassHousing TAP Dispute Resolution Program
Sites that are members of MassHousing’s Tenant Assistance Program (TAP) are entitled to dispute resolution services as a TAP benefit through Approved Providers. The services are designed to help residents, staff, management, board members, and other interested parties resolve conflict effectively and productively.
The following services are included in the dispute resolution benefit:
A mediator (neutral) will come to the site to help people in conflict reach resolution. Mediation can be between tenants, tenants and staff, staff and staff, staff and management, management and management, as well as management and MassHousing.
Mediation is a process in which parties agree to work together, with the assistance of a trained neutral, to explore their respective interests and generate options for resolving their dispute. The mediator helps to facilitate communication and has no power to impose a resolution. Mediation is a flexible process that allows the parties to discuss in confidence any issues they choose to address and determine the outcome.
Benefits of mediation include:
- High Success Rate
- Self-Determined Outcome
- Time Savings
- Preservation of Relationships
Examples of disputes that have been mediated at TAP sites include noise through the wall, floor or ceiling, deteriorating friendships, housekeeping issues, poor relationships among staff, evictions, and groups not getting along or not willing to share common areas.
Board members, managers, staff members or groups of tenants can utilize facilitation to assist them in having a productive conversation. For groups of residents these sessions are often called “community discussions.”
Facilitations have been used to address issues regarding the overall unhappy tone of the residents at a site. This tone is often described as “negative” or “a broken building.” Other examples include addressing cultural and ethnic tensions and dealing with an inactive or disbanded tenants’ council.
TAP members can contact Josh Hoch at 617-895-4028 to discuss a conflict or situation they are having trouble solving. Josh will match the caller with a neutral who will provide a consultation via phone, often the same day, or schedule a time to meet at the site. Consultation services has been utilized by RSC’s, property managers, staff, and residents to discuss conflicts and options for resolving conflicts.
Workshops & Presentations
Approved Providers also conduct a workshop at TAP member sites for residents or staff. These 2-hour presentations called, “Building Peaceful Communities” are designed to introduce people to tools and skills to promote understanding, addressing, and resolving conflict. Learn more here: “Building Peaceful Communities, A Hidden Gem”
- MetroWest Mediation Services
- North Shore Community Mediation
- The Mediation & Training Collaborative
TAP supports MassHousing’s mission to make affordable housing truly sustainable by assisting property management in preserving well maintained and fiscally sound housing. Annual membership, available to housing developments financed or overseen by MassHousing, offers a unique and cost-effective way to stabilize and enrich a housing community, lower operating costs and reduce turnover of both staff and residents.
For $10 per unit, TAP membership provides these hands-on tools to address issues affecting families and seniors in rental housing:
- Management Trainings: Free for TAP member site staff
- Community Services Conference: Free registration for all site staff
- Resident Programs: On-site programs & workshops
- Dispute Resolution: Services to manage on-site conflict
“Mediation has been a helpful service at our site because it is something else we can offer residents. It is not just management finding solutions to their conflict, it is a third-party neutral helping residents and staff.” – Property Manager
“The mediators were very effective and brought more to the table than I originally understood. I was pleasantly surprised an agreement was reached.” – Resident
For More Information
Please contact Sylvette Betancourt from MassHousing at 617-854-1076 or Josh Hoch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-895-4028.