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Who invited these non-resident visitors to Bliss?


HUDSON—In addition to a proposed agreement on additional land for the planned expansion of restricted-income housing (See “Promised lots improve Bliss…” September 29), the September 19 meeting of the Hudson Housing Authority (HHA) Board had other issues on the agenda. The business meeting also chose its officers as well as discussing the presence of uninvited non-residents as well as updates on the elevators.

•The HHA Board of Commissioners selected its own officers for the year: incumbents Revonda Smith, chair; Ms. Cousin, vice-chair; Rebecca Wolff, treasurer; and Rebecca Borer, secretary. Ms. Smith is also a specialist for the Columbia County Board of Elections. Ms. Cousin is also Supervisor of Hudson’s First Ward (D). One commissioner, Anthony Bennett, lives in a HHA building. The longest serving member of the board is Ms. Wolff, who joined it in January 2020. The newest commissioner is Nick Zachos, who joined it in August, after months as interim executive director

•HHA Executive Director Jeffrey Dodson said the HHA is looking for someone to take the minutes of board meetings

•Mr. Bennett and an HHA resident reported that people who are neither HHA residents nor their guests have been occupying the HHA’s smoking area and parking places and drinking alcohol on its grounds.

Smoking is not allowed in HHA buildings. There is a designated a smoking area on HHA grounds.

But Mr. Bennett said non-residents often fill the smoking area and chase residents away. As a result resident smokers “are afraid to” go there and end up smoking in areas they are not supposed to. “We look and see cigarette butts by the curb. We don’t want that.”

‘We don’t want to make this a police state.’

Commissioner Anthony Bennett

Hudson Housing Authority

Mr. Dodson said he does not see that on his daily walk around Bliss grounds and down the street. But this is only at certain times of the day.

“Do the police officers know who [the outsiders] are?” asked Ms. Wolff.

“We don’t want to make this a police state,” said Mr. Bennett.

“I’d like us to do something before” the police get involved, said Ms. Cousin. She suggested community policing could make involvement by official police unnecessary many times.

A resident mentioned people driving up, parking on or next to HHA property and starting to drink alcohol in public.

“You can sit and watch people who obviously don’t live here pull into our parking lot,” said Mr. Bennett. “Is parking for our residents only?”

“Yes, and we can start enforcing that,” said Executive Director Dodson. This enforcement can even include towing cars that should not be there.

“But that would make it a police state,” said Mr. Bennett.

Mr. Dodson said that HHA could put a fence around the property, but he said the organization wants to be part of the community.

Maybe this is a reason to start a tenants’ association, said Ms. Cousin.

Mr. Dodson said a tenant had approached him about that

•Mr. Dodson said he is not getting the information he needs to decide whether to rehabilitate or replace Bliss Tower’s two elevators. He reported asking Otis Elevator three weeks ago for a quote on rehabilitating Bliss Tower’s elevators, but he had not gotten a response. “I’m not used to this lack of responsiveness,” he said. “I might have to go there myself, he said.

He pointed out that the elevators are serviced anytime they are inoperable, possibilities for rehabilitating and replacing them have been discussed at HHA meetings for years, as board members and Executive Directors change.

Bliss elevators have broken down less frequently recently, Mr. Dodson said, but he did get a complaint that call boxes were not working, and he had them fixed. Mr. Bennett said an elevator makes a crack-crack-crack noise that is “very disconcerting.” A resident said that when some people wiped the elevator buttons with sanitizer, some might have “overzealously” applied cleaning fluid that stuck between the buttons.

Lately most trouble seems to be in one elevator, and someone expressed concern that everybody would crowd into the other elevator, causing overload problems

•Mr. Dodson reported holding a tenants’ meeting where over 40 people came. A resident added, “People were at the edge of their seats. I never heard so much laughter.” Mr. Dodson said he hopes to hold such meetings around quarterly

•Director Dodson said some Columbia Apartments residents at the meeting reminded the Bliss Tower residents that they are also part of the community

Mr. Zachos said, “Tenants should always feel safe and comfortable on the property.” If any tenants feel unsafe, they can go to the office when it is open and to security at night.

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