Framingham Housing Authority COVID Success Case

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FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham Housing Authority acted quickly at the end of February, when news about the Coronavirus pandemic began.

With 1,100 units and almost 3,000 residents there have been only a handful of coronavirus cases this year.

Currently, we have zero cases now, said Executive Director Paul Landers, over the weekend.

“I truly believe the biggest reason for the FHA’s success of only having a handful of  COVID cases was our communication with residents and how quickly we acted at the very beginning of the pandemic (end of February),” said Deputy Executive Director Helen Plant.

But despite the success, the City of Framingham wants to test residents starting September 9. The City wants to offer free testing to seniors, as part of the Stop The Spread campaign. The City of Framingham has averaged about 2.8% infection rate recently.

Framingham was named one of 9 communities out of 351 in the state at high-risk for the virus last week with a rating of 8.7. As of Monday, that rating increased to 10.1. the state’s newest rating is due out Wednesday night, September 2.

The Framingham Housing Authority is a quasi-state agency, that manages and administers state and federal housing in the city of Framingham. Although the Framingham Housing Authority has strong relationship with the City of Framingham, the Housing Authority operates independent of the city.

“The Framingham Housing Authority continues to lead by example. Paul Landers has an amazing staff. They were all hands on deck since day 1 of this pandemic. Safety was their number one concern,” said Framingham Housing Authority member Janet Leombruno.

Constant communication is one of the reasons why Framingham Housing Authority leadership has been able to stop the spread of the virus in their complexes.

“At the beginning everything was changing so fast and whenever guidance changed we sent a new flyer with updated info for the residents,” said Plant.

Signs about how germs spread, about the need for social distancing, and unfortunately prohibiting non-essential visitors went out in March.

“If you drive through any of our campuses you will see the large posters,” said Plant.

One posted was created specifically due to Mother’s Day said Plant. Residents were concerned about many visitors in the buildings.

Some of the posters came “directly from the CDC website with the social distancing guidelines. Those went up in all relevant languages,” added Plant.

The Framingham Housing Authority supplied all residents care packages during the pandemic too, which included masks and important information.

They also helped those residents with food insecurity.

“Our main concern going into quarantine was that residents would not be able to afford to stock up on essential items and food. We tried to address that very early on so that residents knew they could come to us for those needs. We connected with local pantries and pharmacies and our Resident Services Deptartment  basically turned into a delivery service for the first couple months of quarantine,” explained Plant.

Early on in the pandemic, the Housing Authority realized they needed paper goods.

“Our Resident Services Director applied for a grant from the MetroWest Health Foundation which we then used to purchase toilet paper and paper towels from our supplier during the time when nobody could get those items. We distributed hundreds of rolls at all of our sites with the help of some resident volunteers,” said Plant.

As like many during the pandemic, some residents felt isolated and lonely.

“We called every resident directly just to check in on them once a week,” said Plant. “Callahan Center and Jewish family Services helped with that too.”

“They never shut down, showing up to work every single day, and are accessible 24/7,” said Leombruno of the Framingham Housing Authority. “The Framingham Housing Authority has 1,100 units with many elderly, some of our most vulnerable residents. The fact that there was only a handful of cases is clearly attribute to that.”


Sporadically, Plant said they still receive calls for those in need of masks. Plant said those requests are filled quickly.

Plant said the Authority has been sending out reminder flyers on social distancing, the need to wear masks, and other important COVID guidelines.

“Our resident services staff as well as property managers visit all our sites regularly and allows us to monitor and keep the messaging of social distancing and masks in the forefront,” said Plant, who said the Authority also uses social media to get out its message.

“Helen has done just a terrific job with the whole COVID outreach she deserves all the credit,” said Landers.

“It really was a team job,” said Plant. “We have a great resident services director and staff and they were the muscle.”

The Authority receives federal and state funding in order to provide housing programs to qualifying individuals and families. The funding requires the Authority to adhere to any applicable housing regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

The Framingham Housing Authority strives to provide, safe, sanitary and secure housing for extremely low to moderate-income families while promoting and encouraging economic self-sufficiency and creating a welcoming environment for residents to live.

The Housing Authority works with private and public entities to optimize resources through innovative programs. 


email: call or text at 508-315-7176

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