First in a series of case studies and personal experiences by seniors living in HUD-subsidized apartments where bullying by other residents or management takes place
Introduction to Bonny's story
“Bonny” has been harassed by the resident “Guardians,” a group of bullies that hang out in an area that commands the single entrance to “Wuthering Heights.” Wuthering Heights is an apartment building including younger people with handicaps as well as seniors. It is located in “Wutherport,” a city close to Boston.
The population of the city is a mixture of working class, students, and young professionals. The city has vibrant artistic and theatrical communities, and a hotbed of progressive activism.
In Wuthering Heights, rents for persons of limited means are subsidized by HUD, and the management is under the Wutherport Housing Authority (WHA). Many of the residents of Wuthering Heights are retired working class, some grew up in the projects. Many residents have what Bonny describes as a “siege mentality”—they hunker down to avoid trouble, may not approve of bullying but don’t dare stand up to it. Bonny is different from other residents due to her professional education and training, her exceptional intelligence and creativity, her engagement in community life outside the apartment building, and her aloofness from the bullies and their gossip. Despite her efforts to improve life in the community by working with the tenants’ association, she became the target of harassment by the Guardians.
The building entrance creates a kind of check point through which all must pass to enter or leave. Bonny was driven to distraction by the constant hassle whenever she left or returned to her home. One of the bullies even let their off-leash, badly-managed dog bother Bonny. Management was not responsive to her concerns.