As outlined in greater detail below, DIRC and the Town have been fighting to protect the private information of North Reading residents who live in group homes. Recently, representatives of individuals living in group homes in Town have come forward to support our position at the Housing Appeals Committee (HAC). Their attorney has filed a motion to intervene in the HAC proceedings. This motion adds pressure on the HAC to deny Mr. Yebba and his team access to the confidential group home addresses in North Reading. It also strengthens the existing coalition between the town, DIRC and its residents.
With the General Land Area Minimum (GLAM) calculation in North Reading exceeding the 1.5% minimum threshold and a united opposition to the proposed development, we are poised to see the Town's safe harbor declaration UPHELD! Once upheld, the housing complex proposed for 20 Elm Street will be stopped. We are closer than ever to reaching this goal!
The next status conference at HAC is scheduled for March 4th. Following that conference, we will provide another update. Please help support by our efforts by donating via the link above.
Group Homes Background
Mr. Nick Yebba is suing state agencies for release of highly confidential locations of supportive living units run by the Department of Developmental Services, Department of Mental Health, or contractors that run such homes for North Reading's most at-risk residents who need intervention with care and activities of daily living. In addition, a separate document request served on the Town is so broad that it may compel the disclosure of addresses of transitional housing, including foster homes, sober living, safety homes (for example from abusive partners), and others.
Despite the addresses of group homes being protected by HIPAA and state privacy laws, Mr. Yebba's legal team is seeking specific addresses in an effort to overturn the Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI) that shows North Reading already meets the Commonwealth's 1.5% required GLAM for affordable housing. As it stands, North Reading's calculated GLAM of 1.55% now prevents Mr. Yebba from building the five-story apartment complex proposed for 20 Elm Street. In line with confidentiality statutes, state protocol provides the overall land use total when considering group homes as part of a 40B filing, but does not provide specific addresses. Such closely held data both provides a consistent way to calculate required land area across communities and, even more critically, protects the locations of the group homes and their residents, who are some of our community's most vulnerable members, from those who might prey on them, such as abusive partners or financial scammers. These critical safety considerations and substantial legal precedent in other 40B cases are strong reasons to keep this specific information confidential.