I am Sue Cohen and I am seeking re-election as a Commissioner of the Brookline Housing Authority. I have served as a commissioner since 2018 and look to continue the important work the BHA and its board are doing.
I have devoted my life’s work to ensure public and affordable housing is available for all and also well managed as our tenants have a right to expect.
I began my career as an attorney representing low-income tenants: first at the Housing Allowance Program (HAP) in Springfield under the leadership of Amy Anthony, who later served as Governor Dukakis’ Secretary of Communities and Development, and then at Greater Boston Legal Services. At HAP, I represented low-income families in landlord/tenant matters, developed a fair housing testing program, and developed expertise in housing subsidy programs.
While at Legal Services, I represented low-income families and elders in the Elder Law and Housing Units. I was lead counsel on a case in federal court dealing with discriminatory tenant selection processes that resulted in a consent decree that ended housing authorities’ discriminatory local preference rules.
After leaving legal services, I have represented various public housing authorities for nearly four decades, including the Brookline Housing Authority for over 20 years. I spent over 25 years engaged in that private practice before leaving it to go in-house as General Counsel at the Cambridge Housing Authority in 2011, where I continue to serve.
While serving at the Cambridge Authority, we have totally transformed our public housing portfolio, with deep rehabilitation of the developments into modern, energy-efficient, and attractive housing that will serve the low-income community for the next generation. We have used every potential tool to finance these projects; experience that has proved valuable in my role as a BHA Commissioner as BHA also upgrades its developments, such as 61 Park Street (O’Shea House), 90 Longwood Avenue (Morse Aparments), 50 Pleasant Street (Sussman House), and 32 Marion Street (Colonel Floyd Apartments).
I am a long-time board member and past president of the Housing Development Law Institute in Washington, D.C., a national organization of housing authority attorneys and agencies. Through HDLI, and my participation in other local and national organizations, I have been actively involved in the effort to protect and improve public housing and develop affordable housing both here in Massachusetts and nationally.
I am actively participating in the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization’s Housing Justice Campaign, for its focus on the urgent needs for funding for public housing.
I am a 41-year resident of Brookline. I am married to Fred Taub, a retired administrative judge at the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents and former chairperson of the Brookline Retirement Board. We raised our two children here. They both went to Brookline Public Schools, first to what is now the Florida Ruffin Ridley School and then graduated from Brookline High School in 2001 and 2005, respectively. We are the proud grandparents of three grandchildren: ages 9, 7, and 4.
I am a former Town Meeting Member from Precinct 9. I also served as a member and chairperson of the Brookline Rent Board in the 1980s.