Fiorelo Badilla, Arlington Housing Authority
Fiorella Badilla

Changes are taking place on the board of the Arlington Housing Authority. Among them is Fiorella Badilla.

The native of Costa Rica who is a tenant at Menotomy Manor wants to put her background in housing to work.

"I simply want to make the process fast and effective for everyone that is receiving help and everyone who still needs it," she wrote, referring to services the authority provide. "I am hoping to achieve clear communication and a welcoming platform to help tenants grow individually."

To achieve this goal, she hopes to organize a tenants' association where she lives "to create a flow of ideas and self-growth options with other tenants' association leaders for all tenants to feel supported and willing to follow any goal or vision they may have for their future.

"I want for everyone to feel understood and comfortable in their homes. That entails necessary maintenance communication that will support a healthy foundation for all families and individuals to succeed daily and in the long run."

4 tenant associations

The authority has tenant associations among four of its properties  -- Chestnut Manor, Drake Village, Winslow Towers and Cusack Terrace. Menotomy Manor, whose residents raise issues at board meetings, has no association.

As to housing concerns, she says that "in the broad sense of the question, [her background] comes from what I have seen from being a resident of the world, the homeless community. A community filled with stories, goals, needs and traumas in need of listening ears, giving hands and welcoming souls." That background also comes from issues that arise where she is a tenant.

"I am thankful for the opportunity to unravel these goals. The Arlington Housing Board and Select Board have been a welcoming community, and I have no doubt that with their help we will achieve these goals in whichever way they may form," she wrote in response to questions from YourArlington.

Although new to the board member, she speaks up. At the Jan. 20 meeting, she asked for clarification about incidents referred to from last October, before she was appointed. A tenant explained about condensation in windows and high heating bills.

At the December meeting, she noted the little time that board members had to review the annual budget before meeting.

An Arlington resident since 2012 works part time as a nail technician at MiniLuxe.

Fills set vacated by Murray

She was appointed the authority board Nov. 30, to the seat vacated by veteran board member Richard Murray last August.

She said that a neighbor heard about the vacancy and suggested she look into it. "I was immediately intrigued by the position," she wrote.

The term lasts four months from the time of her appointment, she wrote.

"One of the reasons for wanting to serve on the Arlington Housing Board is the language barrier between the board/maintenance and tenants," she explained. "A language barrier can disrupt self-esteem in an individual."

Another reason is the time in which it is standard to be on a housing waiting list -- “at least seven years,” she wrote.

Her age sets her apart. She is 23. Contrast that with Joe Daly. The 88-year-old was elected AHA board chairman last May, the first time since its founding nearly 72 years ago.

On June 6, he lost his reelection bid to Jo Anne Preston.

This summary was published Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.