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Stern Village Resident Defends Tenants' Association

The following is a letter to the editor. 

“The Tenants’ Association at Stern Village, Trumbull, is very much alive and thriving contrary to public remarks made at the Trumbull Housing Authority’s board meeting, Monday,” said Paul G. Littlefield, the organizations founder and officer.

Littlefield responded to Robert Lewis’ statement to the THA Board of Commissioners that the Association was “being phased out, that we don’t need it.” Lewis had been elected President of the Association in June by the Association’s board of directors.

According to Littlefield, “the Association’s board had not authorized, discussed or supported Lewis’ statement about dissolving the Association. He did that own his own.” Littlefield noted that the THA Executive Director, Harriet Polansky, applauded Lewis’ remarks.

As far as the organization’s existence is concerned, Littlefield noted that, since January, 2013, it has been recognized by the THA, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, the new state Department of Housing, the Connecticut Housing Coalition and the Public Housing Residential Network. Littlefield added, “The Tenants’ Association will continue as long as the THA exists.”

Stern Village and the Henry S. Stern Center congregate facility are subsidized low-income elderly and disabled housing created and built through state financing. The facilities and the land are owned by the State of Connecticut. The facilities are managed by a local board of commissioners, the THA, which hires staff for day to day operations. 

The THA Commissioners are appointed by the appointing authority of the Town of Trumbull. State and federal law provides for one of the five commissioners to be nominated and elected by the tenants. The SVTA is a legal entity, separate and distinct from the THA. The organization is autonomous with its own Bylaws.

Paul Littlefield 

Robert Lewis October 25, 2013 at 10:18 AM
Paul, here we go again. There are 8 paid up members of the Tenants' Association, out of 222 residents. This is according to your financial report. The Tenants' Association is not incorporated and the officers includes myself, Bob Lewis, President and you. There is no official recognition of the organization. The SVTA is NOT a legal entity, since it is not incorported. As President, I have gathered approximately 75 signatures from the residents of Stern Village who want to see the association dissolved. Furthermore, several of the 8 paid members, want their money back! You have refused to give back to them. You are not concerned about the welfare of the residents of Stern Village. You don't participate in any activities nor do you come to the monthly Tuesday Tea with Harriet. Stern Village is owned by the Trumbull Housing Authority. It is NOT owned by the State of CT. Stern Village (only) does not get financing from the state. You need to get your facts straight. Paul, you are an embarrassment to the Stern Village community. You do not represent the voice of the majority here at Stern Village. If you really cared about the welfare of your neighbors, you would stop this nonsense. For someone who always complains how money is being spent on the much needed updates and repairs to Stern Village, the fact is YOUR actions are costing us $$$ to repond to your allegations.
Kathleen McGannon October 26, 2013 at 09:40 AM
Mr. Lewis, I have spoken with many of the residents of Stern Village--many of whom implored us to help them because they were frightened at what was happening at Stern Village. And I continue to speak with many of them. They are STILL afraid. But they are more afraid to join the Tenants' Association, they are more afraid to attend the teas, so they stay away, they are more afraid of attending the THA meetings, so they skip them as well. I have seen some of the responses sent by the Director to a member. Those who claim she "treats everyone the same and with the same respect" are sadly mistaken. I am also aware of a very serious violation that occurred and only hope that the person involved will gather the courage to expose this issue. I am working with her, but fear of retribution is holding her back. I am hoping that this will come to light soon, but if it does not, it is due to FEAR. I am not in support of everything Mr. Littlefield does, but I will stand behind him in quest for public information to which any resident is entitled. I will stand behind anyone who wishes to speak his mind, including you. I am happy for the residents that the community room is a pleasant place to socialize, has computers, a pool table, etc. But for you to assert that all the residents are happy? I only wish that was true. I was present at the meeting when the Director stated that everyone "should expect rent increases" as Stern Village was "one of the lowest rents around." That is NO reason to raise rents. Gee, my mortgage is lower than my brother's mortgage in New Canaan. Maybe the bank should make mine comparable to his? People are afraid!!!! Afraid to attend teas, afraid to attend meetings, afraid to join the tenants' association, AFRAID TO APPEAR TO BE ON ONE SIDE OF THE ISSUES OR THE OTHER. They are afraid of being treated differently, afraid of being treated disrespectfully, afraid of being singled out as "for" or "against" the issues. Although they cannot be evicted, that is a huge fear for them. They want to know who will protect them. Without the participation of a number of residents of the town, there would have been no "sunshine" on some of what went on at Stern Village. I, for one, will continue to speak with residents of Stern Village. They deserve to be treated respectfully, regardless of their position on issues, and they deserve to live peacefully.
Dan Luposki October 26, 2013 at 08:01 PM
Ms. McG: The only thing missing from your party line sound bite is a defense of Obamacare. I cannot believe that anyone is afraid. From the article written, there is a gap between the democrat’s fictitious visualization and the truth. These are intelligent seniors with an opinion. You and your party portray them as senile seniors. They are not.
Kathleen McGannon October 26, 2013 at 08:44 PM
If the residents were senile, none of this would matter to them! (If you would let the rest of the readers know your true identity, it would certainly put your comments in the proper perspective.) These seniors are smart and savvy. They see what has gone on, they understand the political reasons for the charade, and they know that they are no match for those who would use them for political gain. THAT is what scares them. They have seen the disdain with which some who have spoken out have been treated, they have watched as public comments at a public meeting have been squelched, they are not comfortable having to sign in and indicate the topic about which they would like to speak, and they do not wish to be "labeled" troublemakers and have veiled threats of eviction made to them. No, "Steve", they are far, far from senile. They see what is happening, and they are smart enough not to become a "target" of the director and/or First Selectman. To hear the First Selectman, during the last debate, malign an 82 year old resident who is simply attempting to defend the residents by obtaining PUBLIC information which should have been readily available, was disgraceful. For the FS to use this private resident's name in such a demeaning way just shows that anyone, ANYONE, who goes against Tim's wishes is a target. He owes Mr. Little field an apology.
Dan Luposki October 28, 2013 at 07:50 AM
McG; You make cowboy seem like a pathetic old man. He is irrational and unpopular and does not represent anyone. In fact, as a candidate for the finance board, why would you align yourself to someone who literally took money, never incorporated and will not return the alleged dues? He was thrown out of the association. He was asked not to return to his church. You two and the rest of your cohorts deserve each other. If your logic is what it seems god help us if you get elected!

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