Dear Commissioners, Funders, and Community Partners:

For the last twenty-five years, I have enjoyed the privilege of serving as the Executive Director of the Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority (BCRHA). Our staff at BCRHA strives to remain creative, flexible, collaborative, dynamic, and willing to take risks to make our organization an industry leader, positioned to meet the changing needs of the households we serve. Many of these include the most vulnerable members of our community. We constantly plan for the future, while, at the same time, actively taking stock of our current accomplishments as well as the challenges we face. BCRHA remains both energized and positioned to make a positive impact on the communities of Berkshire County and, more importantly, to help the people we serve transform their lives.   In the last year, BCRHA’s performance has been truly remarkable, especially for an organization of our size.

Some specific BCRHA program highlights over the last year include the following:

  • We served a total of 1,909 Berkshire County households
  • We successfully mediated 446 claims filed for hearings in the Berkshire County District Courts involving over 892 disputants
  • We prevented 586 Berkshire County households from becoming homeless through the Program’s legal counseling, anti-foreclosure counseling, mediation, case management, housing search, and financial assistance programs
  • We provided Legal and Housing Counseling to 517 Berkshire County tenant households and 115 Rental Property/Homeowner households
  • We responded to more than 140 consumer complaints and recovered approximately $162,217.25.
  • We were awarded a grant to fully fund our Youth Homelessness Prevention and Resolution Program, which allowed us to serve 58 unaffiliated at-risk and homeless youth.
  • We received increased funding from the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration, allowing our school mediation program to expand into three schools.
  • Three BCRHA staff members passed HUD’s National Housing Counseling Certification Exam, making BCRHA the only agency in Western Massachusetts with certified counselors on staff.

At BCRHA, we are proud of and committed to the work we do, especially the positive impact we have on so many of the households we serve. My hope is that everyone who reads this year’s Annual Report will view each number set forth in the report as person, very possibly someone you may know, facing often extraordinary, but not insurmountable, challenges. I know that is the view we at BCRHA take every day.

The overarching ethos at BCRHA is perfectly captured in “Good To Great”, which describes the flywheel phenomenon as follows: “In building greatness, there is no single defining action, no grand program, no killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle movement. Rather, the process resembles relentlessly pushing a giant, heavy flywheel in one direction, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough, and beyond.” I look forward to engaging all of you, breakthrough by breakthrough, as we continue to be difference makers in the communities we serve.

Brad Gordon

Executive Director/Staff Attorney

The Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority (BCRHA) is a regional housing authority organized in 1980 pursuant to MGL, Chapter 121, Section 3A. BCRHA acts as a local housing authority for those 23 towns in the county that do not have a local housing authority. As a regional agency, BCRHA is also mandated to provide housing programming, and related services and technical assistance to all communities in the county. Since the late 1980’s, the Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority (BCRHA) has developed programming and services that are not typically administered by housing authorities. BCRHA has moved away from the traditional activities of solely developing and managing housing. Specifically, in 1988 in an effort to provide greater assistance to Berkshire County residents, BCRHA expanded the scope of its mission to include the development, administration, and implementation of the following: Comprehensive housing counseling programming, legal and educational counseling services, loss mitigation (anti-foreclosure) counseling, community and court-connected dispute resolution programs (i.e., mediation, conciliation, negotiation programs), homelessness prevention (Tenancy Preservation Program) services; and anti-poverty programming. BCRHA is a court certified mediation program, a HUD approved “Counseling Agency” a Community Dispute Resolution Center, a member of the Western Massachusetts Foreclosure Prevention Center, Berkshire County’s primary provider of housing stability and homelessness prevention and resolution services, and Berkshire County’s designated Consumer Services Program. In 2001, in collaboration with Berkshire Housing Development Corporation, BCRHA established the Berkshire based Housing and Consumer Education Center (HCEC), which currently serves as an umbrella program for all of the agency’s programming and services
The mission of BCRHA is to develop opportunities that will assist Berkshire County households in securing the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to achieve self-sufficiency and household stability by:

Developing and implementing a continuum of services and programs that address the underlying causes of household instability and homelessness.

Assisting households to develop strategies to overcome barriers to self-sufficiency.

Collaborating with other human service providers, including grass roots organizations and faith-based organizations, to alleviate the causes and effects of household, housing, and community instability.

The agency’s goals and objectives are as follows:

Prevention of homelessness in Berkshire County

Prevention of foreclosures in Berkshire County

Promotion of early intervention and prevention strategies to increase household stability and minimize the escalation of housing problems for homeowners, renters, and rental property owners

Promotion of long-term tenancies in safe, decent, appropriate housing

Promotion of the development of a household’s living skills with emphasis placed on responsible self-sufficient behavior and economic independence

Promotion of community awareness, support, linkage, and organization to address housing and household stability related issues

Promotion of Consumer/ Merchant Education

Provision of technical assistance on housing, homelessness, household stability, financial literacy, consumer education, and dispute resolution to Berkshire County Courts, human service providers, including faith based and grass roots organizations, and the private bar

Promotion of mediation and other forms of dispute resolution options to reduce the number of housing, neighbor, consumer, and other types of civil and criminal disputes filed in the Berkshire County courts

Richard Grillon – rjgrillon@hotmail.com

Lisa Sloane –  lsloane@tacinc.org

Andy Hochberg – amhpc@aol.com

Steve Como – scomo@wesoldieron.org

Jim Pasquini – pasq@roadrunner.com

Jen Hohn – jen@northadamsha.com