This was submitted to us by Edie Stephenson. For more information on our Opinion Section please click HERE.
Please back Missouri HB 1715 in the Missouri House of Representatives (99th General Assembly-2016). It is for protection against the bullying of seniors/elderly and disabled persons living in community settings including public or subsidized multifamily housing programs.
In buying a car, we read objective reports and compare prices. When we buy a house, we have a professional inspect to be sure it is safe and sound. But when we choose what may be our last home, if we do not use care, we may move into a terribly unsafe situation and then find ourselves with no way out.
In this article are insights into a multifamily residence for seniors. And steps outlined to take in assuring safety in a new home. To protect seniors, elderly and handicapped from being targets and victims of bullying and mobbing (a group attack), I am advocating for protective legislation. I wish to use my experiences and knowledge as a guide to all.
For those or your loved ones getting ready to downsize and move into a community setting of multifamily, please take heed. Whether it is independent; assisted; full care or subsidized housing, be aware about the world of bullying. It exists. The incidences start out seeming simply mean, petty and small, but they grow. You surely can imagine the fear and the stress this causes.
It is an area the average senior, elderly, and handicapped or their families do not think about. It is aggressive behavior intended to hurt another individual, physically, mentally or emotionally. Behavior is often repeated and habitual. For example, it can come in the form of name calling or taunting; destroying peer acceptance and friendships.
It can be initiated, encouraged and practiced by the owner; management; and/or management staff; and/or management’s tenant friends; and/or their friends and/or from other tenants. It is not uncommon for the manager to befriend a group of tenants who are empowered to control the remaining residents by making their lives miserable. They operate as a group and will back each others stories to protect the manager and/or to harm the victim.
It will include made up incidents and statements. Regardless of being false, the group’s created negatives against you will compromise any case with legal authorities, when pleading for protection or relief.
FIRST, REALIZE MISSOURI HAS NO ANTI-BULLYING LAWS:
Bullying in Missouri is not illegal. Therefore, once you are in such a setting, you are there. Hindrance toward justice or any relief, will be the consequences following the site manager, property owner and their tenant friends having demeaned you; destroyed through slander; your credibility, mental health stability and competence. The practice just described is false testimony which interferes with or corrupts police investigation and will cause you to receive inadequate, if any, legal protection.
THEREFORE; DO CHECK OUT THE FACILITY BEFORE SIGNING:
Be aware, if there is incompetent management along with weak, uninformed and/or uncaring property owners, you should probably move on. If management is not doing their job and the owner is protecting them, the bullies can usually beat down any opposition.
Ignoring the management history can subject you or your loved one to a nightmare society you never dreamed existed. Additionally, even though the site manager could have a few years on the job for example, bunches of classes and an impressive personality to some, be aware, that does not guarantee competency, honesty, professionalism and fairness.
If you become a target and victim, it will take over your health and your life.
Be safe, talk to other tenants; talk to neighborhood residents; talk to local businesses; call the BBB; go to the City; visit with Senior help groups; other senior apartments; DHUD; check with Missouri Housing Development Commission as to if any complaints have been filed; check with your State Representative; Senator, the Governor; the Attorney General’s Office; visit web sites where renters give their opinions and experiences with multifamily complexes, etc.
When you do make a decision, as a precaution, ALWAYS have your applications in for apartments at other developments. There, is no guarantee your new “bully free” residence will remain “bully free”.
We seek broad, bipartisan support for laws to protect our seniors, elderly and disabled persons in community living situations. We need your support. Please, urge your Legislators to support Bill HB 1715.