The Malden Human Rights Commission Strives to Protect Housing Rights

The Malden Human Rights and Fair Housing Commission (MHRFHC) is on a mission to “protect the civil rights of renters, owners and landlords,” according to the City of Malden Website.

The commission stands to advocate for people to ensure that all Malden citizens are treated fairly because, as stated on their website, they deserve to have someone there for them no matter their “religious creed, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ancestry, disability, national origin, Veteran or military status, marital, familial or parental status.” 

According to Paul Weston, Chair of the MHRFHC, as well as a representative of the National Association of Realtors, the most recent iteration of the commission was from 2016. Prior to 2016, there had been a “separate Human Rights Commission, and that was a separate Fair Housing Commission.” Eventually, both commissions seemed to have been forgotten, most likely due to no one really paying attention to them. 

The Commission itself covers broad topics with many spots of expertise. However, Weston feels that his personal goal would be to help people. They receive lots of calls about many issues related to housing, such as people being stressed out, as well as tenant and landlord conflicts. 

Weston feels that many people reach out because they do not know who to turn to within the city. Some people have issues that they may not know how to handle and are not informed about who to talk to. That is where the MHRFHC will then do their best to help, or link the person to someone who could help them even more, such as the “police department, fire department, the building commissioner.”

Some issues they have handled include tenant to tenant issues, conflict with a neighbor, landlords not responding as well as noise complaints. At the moment Weston mentioned they were working on an issue with water submetering in one of the big apartment buildings.

Recently the Commission began trying to establish a new logo. They then decided to open a google form where they let people vote for their favorite logo of the three options at choice. The logo is said to be used for the city website, written materials, and at events sponsored by the Commission. 

The logos themself were designed by Commission member Meghan Volcy who is the Secretary and a City Council Resident Member. They started off with around six or seven designs, and they ended up rounding down the number to the three shown in the google form. 

Weston originally came up with the idea to make the logo voting public. He expressed that “sometimes I don't think people know we exist,” so he hopes the voting will help generate more traction for the Commission and what it is they do. As for the logos themselves, Weston hopes that they are interpreted in a positive way. 

As simple as some of the designs are, Weston hopes they will generate a comfort for those in Malden as well, a sort of statement saying that “we try to help resolve the conflicts and bring everybody together.” 

Maria Luise who is a part of the Commission as well as working in the Mayor’s Office, and an ADA Officer, was incredibly helpful in this process. According to Weston she got the form up and running, she “does a lot of the outreach.” Luise helps a lot with communication, between the Commission and the many city departments that they work alongside.

Next time if you have any worries about anything relating to anything on the spectrum of things the Commission handles, make sure to reach out. Because as Weston said, “at the end of the day, sometimes you just want somebody to talk to, to help resolve work for your issues.”

Correction: Maria Luise name was originally mispelled as Marie Luise.

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