Advocate/Activist

Shelley is and was a major player in the Massachusetts Subsidized Housing world, acting on behalf of disabled families as well as the state’s Department of Mental retardation (DMR), to help place disabled clients into affordable or subsidized housing. (This was during the crucial years when the state changed from institutionalization to residential placements with support services, which were healthier for clients and their families.) Shelley also served as a trainer to hundreds of social service workers, state funded and otherwise, who found that housing placement was their number one case management issue. In addition, Shelley founded and ran a large, popular, continuing education group in Southeastern MA region, where direct service workers shared insights, built coalitions, and learned more about our extremely complicated housing world. Shelley pioneered many innovative ideas that influenced state policies-not just for disabled persons. In particular, she provided expertise to our company, which was just beginning to create a solution for one aspect of this very complicated problem that involved 16 different state and federal agencies, many with overlapping jurisdiction in the housing realm. She is tireless, imaginative, brilliant, and good-natured, which is a hard combination to find in the advocacy world!

— John LaBella, Housingworks President