HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

The Arlington Department of Health and Human

Services (HHS) consists of the following divisions:

¢ Health Department

¢ Council on Aging

¢ Veterans Services

¢ Youth Health and Safety Coalition

¢ Youth Counseling Center

¢ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Department also coordinates the activities of

the following boards and commissions:

¢ Board of Health

¢ Council on Aging

¢ Veterans Council

¢ Board of Youth Services

¢ Disability Commission

¢ Human Rights Commission

¢ Rainbow Commission

The mission of the Department of Health and Hu- man Services is to protect the health of the public and assist residents with accessing services to meet basic human needs. In order to accomplish this, the Depart- ment relies on many different sources of funding includ- ing Town, state and federal funds, grants, foundation funding and donations. Additionally, hundreds of volun- teers assist.

In 2019 the Department of Health and Human Services continued to promote racial equity work within the divisions of the Department. A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator was hired to coordinate the work of the Human Rights Commission, Disability Commis- sion and Rainbow Commission as well as coordinate the work of the Town related to racial equity.

BOARD OF HEALTH

The mission of the Arlington Board of Health is to protect the public health of the Town of Arlington through enforcement of health codes and regulations while promoting a healthy community. The Board of Health is a statutory board comprised of three commu- nity members at large, one of which must be a physi- cian, appointed by the Town Manager for a three year terms. The Board holds public meetings and conducts public hearings as necessary for health code violations. Additionally, the Board adopts regulations that provide protections beyond the minimum standards outlined in Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) and State Sani-

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tary Code (codified in the Code of Massachusetts Reg- ulations, C.M.R) and sets town-wide policy related to important health issues. In 202, the Board met ten times to conduct hearings and discuss the following topics: ¢« COVID-19 Pandemic ¢ Flu vaccination clinics ¢ Amendments to the Regulations Restricting the Sale of Tobacco and Nicotine Delivery Products ¢ Adult-use Recreational Marijuana regulations ¢ Keeping-of-hens permit applications ¢ Housing code violations ¢ Food code violations

¢ Food code variance requests

HEALTH DEPARTMENT

The Health Department is located at 2/7 Maple Street in the Arlington Senior Center. The Department handles the day-to-day procedural operations and ad- ministrative duties associated with the Board of Health. The Department is required by State statutes and regu- lations to perform many duties relative to the protection of public health and safety, the control of disease, the promotion of safe and sanitary living conditions, and the protection of the environment from damage and pollu- tion. These mandated requirements are fulfilled by en- vironmental health and public health nursing staff within the Health Department. The Department is comprised of a Public Health Director, two Health Compliance Offi- cers, one Office Manager (which is shared with Human Services), a part-time Public Health Nurse, and a part- time Sealer of Weights and Measures.

Calendar year 2020 is hard to put into words, as it was unlike any other year in the field of Public Health. In January the Department began monitoring the global spread of COVID-19 in China. In February the Public Health Nurse started monitoring quarantined residents returning from Wuhan China for symptoms of COVID-19, and shortly thereafter in March Arlington had its first positive case of COVID-19, and Governor Baker declared a State of Emergency in response to the virus. As a result, the Health Department took charge of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Arlington. The Department worked closely with Town administration, meeting daily, to provide briefings on COVID-19 activity in Town and evaluate public health and safety proto-

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

cols in the community. The entire Department shifted its focus from routine work to full-time contact tracing, disease investigation, and enforcement and education as it related to COVID-19. Such duties included the is- suance of orders to isolate and/or quarantine, enforce- ment of COVID-19 safety standards, guidelines, and orders issued by the State, and education to public and private businesses, schools, as well as other entities and organizations on reopening guidance and develop- ing COVID-19 safety plans/protocols. In response to the increased demand on the Department, with COVID-19; two additional Health Compliance Officers were hired over the summer bringing the number of Health Com- pliance Officers up to four. Due to the pandemic, the number of permits issued and inspections completed by the Department will be significantly less than previous years. Additionally, the total number of communicable disease investigations is significantly higher as a result of COVID-19 cases and other communicable disease were under reported and/or investigated across the State.

Environmental Health Permitting and Inspections

Staff annually permits and regularly inspects restaurants, tobacco retailers, tanning establishments, body art establishments, public and semi-public swim- ming pools, chicken coops, camps, one medical and recreational marijuana establishment, one BioTech facility, and three bathing beaches. Inspectors from the Department also investigate numerous resident complaints related to any health issue within the com- munity, ranging from trash and dumpster complaints to housing code violations, pest activity, as well as noise and odor concerns. In 2020 the environmental health division was comprised of two full-time inspectors, until two additional inspectors were hired to assist with general environmental health issues and COVID-19 contact tracing. The Department also contracts with two food safety consultants to conduct a portion of mandated food establishment inspections. Highlights from 2020 include:

¢ Staff has responded to over 1,000 Covid-19 calls since the pandemic began.

¢ Staff investigated thirteen food complaints

¢ Seven new food establishments opened or changed ownership and fifteen establish- ments closed.

¢ Staff conducted 14 housing inspections and collaborated with the Attorney General’s Abandoned Housing Initiative Program on five properties.

Permits Issued | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 2020 Food 349 324 368 198 Tobacco 19 19 19 19 Waste Hauler 19 20 21 16 Funeral Director 7 7 7 7 Tanning Establishment 1 1 1 1 Public Pool 8 8 8 4 Public Beach 3 3 3 2 Ice Rink 1 1 1 0 Keeping of Hens 12 13 14 17 Camps 6 6 6 4 Body Art Ps cieninent Body Art cionet 2 2 2 2 Total 428 405 448 271 Inspection Type 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 Food Establishment & Temporary Food Event* 459 503 484, 254 Tobacco Compliance Check 38 12 20 0 Housing 160 172 138 14 Demolition Inspection 26 21 16 7 Nuisance Inspection 417 405 408 124 Keeping of Hens 11 3 10 4 Bodywork Establishment 0 3 0 1 Total 1,105; 1,119; 1,076) 404

“Temporary food event inspections include: Farmer’s Market, Feast of the East, Town Day, and other various

public health events throughout the year.

Type of Food

Permits Issued 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 Food Establishment

Permits 193 191 193 175 Mobile Food

Permits 3 1 3 0 Residential Kitchen

Permits 11 12 11 9 Farmers Market

Permits 13 9 12 f Temporary Event

Food Permit 126 132 149 7 Total 346 345 366 198

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HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

Public Health Nursing Communicable Disease Surveillance

The primary responsibility of the Public Below is a list of communicable diseases that Health Nurse is to prevent the spread of disease in have been investigated and monitored by the public our community. The roles and responsibilities of this health nurse over the the years.

position include health promotion and education, amine ae 8 2018 | 2019 2019 | 2020 2020 2020 communicable disease surveillance and investigation, —————— and emergency preparedness planning. (a ee [Calcivirusinorovius | = | 3 | 1 Ce cae ei [Campylobactor Enteritis | 10 | 9 | 4 au ecg acne foreur eeiacn: and holds flu vaccination clinics for our residents. Eon Page 2) 2] = However, in 2020, the State of Massachusetts [Cyclosporiasis, | | | mandated that all school age children be vaccinated COVID-19, si | 1,051 for influenza. As a result, the Department partnered [DengueFever | ~ | 1 | = with the Arlington Public Schools and focused its Giardia ti(<‘<s@t*é~sYC(CCdTC efforts on holding flu vaccination clinics for school age children. Clinic locations included the Thompson, [GroupAstrep ss | 2 | 2 | Stratton, Ottoson and Bishop Schools, public housing buildings, other Town departments, and the Arlington [Haemophilus influenza | - | 1 | | Senior Center. This year we relied on over twenty Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers to help run HepatiisA | tf 2 fH our clinics. While the majority of school age children HepatiisB | 18) 9 | | were vaccinated at Doctor’s office and pharmacies, the Department was able to vaccinate almost 600 residents. This is a much smaller number than oes z S| 4 | previous years when we conduct vaccination clinics fHepatiisE | = | | for the general public. In 2020, COVID-19 precautions nr |e | | and regulations impacted typical flu clinic operations. mosis In addition to immunizations, our Public Health Nurse lead the charge on COVID-19 disease investigation, Invasive Bacterial Infection | 1 | | contact tracing, and vaccination planning efforts.

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Tuberculosis contact, and suspected cases in addition to 42 64 probable and confirmed cases

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Scenes from vaccination clinics. -- Denotes disease not tracked/present in those years

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HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

Emergency Preparedness

In 2018 the Arlington Health Department became the host agency for the 4B Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), now known as the Metro East MRC. The Metro East MRC is one of the four federally recognized MRC’s in the region and consists of 18 communities, including Arlington. The MRC is comprised of local health profes- sionals and non-medical laypersons that contribute their skills and expertise during times of public health emer- gency and non-emergency community events. They as- sist existing community emergency medical response systems, as well as provide a group of readily trained and available resources to help a community deal with pressing public health needs and improvements.

In 2020 the Metro East MRC welcomed an addi- tional 310 new volunteers to the unit. This is largely in response to the pandemic. Although the MRC was un- able to hold in person trainings, they managed to pro- vide a multitude of virtual training opportunities such as Emerging and Infections Disease and Workplace Safety, Overdose Prevention, Narcan & Hands only CPR, Pet First Aid, Emergency Dispensing Sites 101, Prepared- ness for Seniors, Family Preparedness, and COVID-19 Facts and Myths. Additionally, Metro East MRC vol- unteers were called upon to assist in the COVID-19 response through backfilling positions at long term care facilities, providing assistance at COVID-19 test- ing sites, staffing state and local call centers, providing translation services, delivering food and medications to residents in need, and assisting at various flu clinics. In 2020 the Metro East MRC volunteers provided over 6,000 hours of volunteer service which translates to an economic impact value of $189,617.65.

Weights and Measures

To ensure compliance with the Consumer and Merchant Protection Act, the Sealer of Weights and Measures conducts inspections of scales, scanners, and dispensing equipment. This includes retail stores, gas stations, oil trucks, taxi cabs, and food establish- ments. The Sealer responds to all consumer complaints to ensure fairness and accuracy.

As merchants are inspected annually, compliance with standards and accuracy of merchant measuring devices has increased steadily. The Sealer of Weights and Measures determines the amount of savings by computing the amount of fuel pumped each year from a particular measuring device, such as a gas pump.

As a result of the pandemic and employee injury the Department was only able to conduct 2 vehicle tank meter (heating oil truck) inspections.

COUNCIL ON AGING

The Council on Aging, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, is a community based social services organization that supports residents age 60 and over in Arlington. 2020 was a year that the COA adapted and grew in order to support older adults in Arlington through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The year began under the direction of a new Ex- ecutive Director, Kristine Shah, who was previously the COA Supervisor of Volunteers and Transportation. Plans were well underway for the highly anticipated $8M renovation of the Senior Center at 27 Maple Street, which will transform the building in to the Arlington Com- munity Center. A capital campaign continued through 2020 to raise additional funds to furnish the center and make it a more accessible and modern space.

By January 2019, the COA had created an exten- sive plan to continue all programs and activities off site, due to the impending construction at 27 Maple Street. This plan was implemented seamlessly and until the pandemic impacted us in March, older adults were adapting well to the temporary, off-site locations for all COA programs, activities and services. On March 16, the COA shifted extensively and began offering all pro- grams and services virtually, remotely or in a socially distant manor, in an effort to Keep our older adults safe. COA activities expanded exponentially since March and grew to include emergency efforts such as distributing over 4,000 donated masks to Arlington residents, as- sisting as the hotline for the Arlington EATS grocery delivery program, launching our Telephone Call Reas- surance Program to keep track of our most isolated res- idents and founding our Technology Loan Library, pro- viding seniors with devices and internet access so they can connect with the new virtual world that we all live in.

Among this shift, construction began at 27 Maple Street in the spring and is making significant progress. COA offices have temporarily relocated to the 2" floor of the building until construction is complete.

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SERVICES

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HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

Community Center Anage-inendly space connecting senion with their neighbors 2020 Highlights

Established a weekly Telephone Call Reassur- ance Program to connect qualified volunteers with our most vulnerable and isolated residents through a week- ly check in call.

Received new $15,000 CDBG Grant to establish a Technology Loan Library, allowing us to distribute 60+ Chromebooks, hot spots and other devices to older adults in Arlington.

Served as the Arlington EATS grocery delivery ho- tline, assisting in over 9,000 food deliveries in Arlington

through the program.

Conducted over 140 instructor-led virtual exercise, yoga, stretching and other fitness classes on Zoom, free of charge to older adults in Arlington.

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Conducted over 60 additional virtual programs in- cluding weekly art therapy classes, summer concerts, weekly LGBTQ & Friends support groups, Scam Aware- ness Events, UCLA Memory Training, Intergenerational book club, Shakespeare discussion groups, low-vision Support group, movie nights and COVID related infor- mational sessions.

Partnered in a new way with ACMi, to provide con- tent of fitness classes and educational programming for Arlington Residents who do not have internet access, but do have access to cable television.

The robust COA Transportation program contin- ued throughout the pandemic under new guidelines and completed over 4,700 rides. There was no charge for transportation services from April June.

Distributed $14,500 through the Elderly and Dis- abled Tax Relief Fund, $25,500 through the Senior Property Tax Work off program and $3,000 through the Harry Barber program.

Connected over 100 residents with volunteer SHINE Councilors for Medicare enrollment assistance

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and over 50 residents with our volunteer attorney for legal assistance.

Continued as a SNAP outreach provider, assisting 67 residents with enrollment.

Continued providing assistance to residents ap- plying for LYHEAP Fuel Assistance with both new ap- plications and renewals, in a socially distanced manor.

Served 50 residents monthly through the Greater Boston Food Bank CSFP program, moving to a delivery only model due to the pandemic.

Received funding from Lahey Hospital and Medi- cal Center to provide 60 residents with local and organic produce weekly for 20 weeks in the summer months.

Over 1,000 one on-one direct social work services were provided by COA Social Workers via home visits, office appointments or phone consultation.

Our COA Nurse completed over 120 at home flu shots in 2019 which allowed these residents to stay in their homes and not risk exposure to COVID. We also partnered with Walgreens pharmacy to provide an out- door flu clinic as a safer alternative for older adults in Arlington who were limiting indoor exposure.

COA Volunteers assisted with over 500 requests for groceries and pharmacy related errands for high risk Individuals.

65 volunteers delivered 140 turkey dinners to iso- lated older adults on Thanksgiving Day.

75 holiday gift bags were distributed by volunteers to homebound older adults through our annual Warm Wishes program.

The Arlington for All Ages 5K Race took place virtually in September, raising over $3,000 toward the Capital Campaign.

Conducted 3 socially distanced, outdoor podiatry clinics in order to meet the need for this service despite the pandemic.

Held various “grab and go’ drive through events including ice cream socials, pumpkin patch pick up and holiday gift bag distribution in the Maple Street drive- way, allowing us to see our older residents in person, at a distance, and bring a smile to their day.

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

VETERANS SERVICES

Veterans’ Services is a Division of Health and

Human Services. The Director of Veterans’ Services works with Veterans living in Arlington to assist with accessing basic needs. Through Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 115, direct financial assistance is provided to veterans who qualify. Additionally, the Director assists veterans with accessing federal VA benefits.

2020 Veteran Services’ Highlights

¢ The Director serves as the Chairman of the Veterans Council along with six other mem- bers. The Council focuses on addressing current issues related to veteran memori- als, the review and development of policies pertaining to Arlington veterans, and new projects to promote Arlington and veterans. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Director and members of the council conducted public meetings regarding the development of a new Veteran Memorial Park. These meetings will continue once current restrictions are removed.

¢ Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the annual Memorial Day ceremony was broadcast live by ACMi without public participation. The ceremony focused on the meaning and his- tory of Gold Star families along with recog- nizing the 75th anniversary of World War Il. The Veterans Day ceremony was broadcast by ACMi, highlighting various locations in Arlington.

¢ The Director coordinated efforts to collect and distribute personal protective equipment and supplies needed by our first responders to protect them from COVID-19. Arlington residents generously donated masks, gowns, face shields, gloves, and disinfectant prod- ucts.

¢ The Director assists local veterans and fami- lies in applying for, and receiving, federal VA benefits. Arlington veterans and/or depen- dents receive nearly $344,167.00 per month in tax-free veteran benefits from the VA.

¢ The monument honoring Lt. Richard Buz- zell was unveiled. In addition to the new memorial a new flag pole and two benches were installed. These improvements greatly enhance the memorial and allow residents an opportunity to enjoy this new location. An official re-dedication ceremony will be planned in the future.

¢ Arlington suffered the loss of two military vet- erans this year. Mary Foley, an Air Force vet-

eran and long-time Arlington resident, was a Korean and Vietnam era veteran who passed away in April with no living family members. While adhering to COVID-19 guidelines resi- dents lined Mass Ave to honor Mary and her service to our nation. In November CWO2 Marwan Gahbour was killed while serving

on active duty overseas. Ihe Director worked closely with state and local agencies to coor- dinate a fitting tribute, honoring the service of CWO2 Marwan Gahbour and his family.

FY2022 Veteran Services’ Goals

¢ The re-dedication of the new memorial hon- oring Lt. Richard Buzzell.

¢ The Director will continue to engage local residents, in public meetings, regarding the development of a new Veteran Memorial park.

¢ The Director will continue to engage the community on benefits and services avail- able to our veterans and families. The focus will include increasing public participation in our Memorial Day and Veteran Day ceremo- nies.

¢ The Director will continue to work with other agencies and companies in the area to pro- mote benefits and services provided on the local, state, and federal level.

AYCC

Arlington Youth Counseling Center

ARLINGTON YOUTH COUNSELING CENTER

The Arlington Youth Counseling Center (AYCC) is a community-based mental health center licensed by the Department of Public Health and serving Arlington youth (ages 3-21) and their families. AYCC is the leading provider of outpatient and school-based child and ado- lescent mental health services in Arlington, offering indi- vidual, group, and family counseling, psychiatric evalu- ation, and medication management. AYCC is committed to ensuring that all community youth and families have access to culturally sensitive and high quality care. To this end, AYCC strives to identify and address systemic inequities that create barriers to care, including financial barriers. AYCC is one of the only providers in the area that accepts youth with public health insurance and provides thousands of dollars of free and reduced-fee care to families who are uninsured, under-insured, or who otherwise cannot afford the cost of deductibles and copays. In addition to mental health services, AYCC

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HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

oversees First Step- a support group for victims and survivors of domestic violence, and offers community resource support and case management services to Ar- lington residents experiencing homelessness, econom- ic instability, and other basic resource needs.

The following list captures some of AYCC’s high- lights from 2020:

Provided mental health services to 367 children, teens, and adult caregivers, including 107 new AYCC clients in 2020. Conducted a total of 7,750 sessions (including psychotherapy, psychiatric evaluation, and medication treatment).

Provided an additional 600 hours of clinical con- sultation and care coordination to AYCC clients and families.

Implemented telehealth services in March to en- sure continued access to care for existing and prospec- tive AYCC clients during the pandemic. In total, AYCC conducted over 6,000 telehealth sessions with clients and their families.

Between January and March of 2020, provided 436 school-based counseling sessions to 69 students in the Arlington Public School through the Project Success program. During the pandemic, AYCC clinicians contin- ued to offer counseling services to 75 Project Success clients via telehealth.

Provided weekly therapeutic support to students in the Workplace via a combination of in-person and vir- tual activities.

Conducted a nine-week Parenting Support Group for parents and caregivers of elementary-aged children In Arlington.

Provided over $30,000 in free and reduced fee care to 23 families in need of financial assistance.

Facilitated weekly therapeutic groups for victims and survivors of domestic violence. Support groups were suspended in March due to the pandemic, but group leaders provided ongoing support to individual group members remotely.

Collaborated with Arlington Public Schools to address the impact of racism on the mental health of

students, and helped coordinate anti-racist and implicit bias trainings for school personnel and administrators. Provided community resource support and case management to 76 Arlington residents experiencing economic instability, homelessness, housing instability, food insecurity, barriers to healthcare, and other basic resource needs. ¢ Partnered with the Arlington Health and Human Services Corporation to establish the Arlington COVID19 Relief Fund. To date, the fund has raised over $200,000 in com- munity donations, sponsorships, and grants to support the essential needs of community members impacted by the pandemic. ¢ Administered over $100,000 in emergen- cy financial assistance from the Arlington COVID19 Relief Fund to 60 community members in need. ¢ Collaborated with the Board of Youth Ser- vices and Arlington Public Schools to offer a Virtual Forum “Holding Strong During Tough Times: Managing Anxiety and Promoting Resiliency in the Family.” The presentation featured Dr. Nadja Reilly, and was attended by over 60 parents and other members of the community.

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¢ Collaborated with the Board of Youth Ser-

vices to organize AYCC’s “SOfor50” Fundrais- ing Campaign. The campaign sought to raise $50,000 in honor of AYCC’s 50" Anniversary. Thanks to the generous outpouring of sup- port from the community, AYCC far exceeded its goal, raising nearly $60,000 to help fund future mental health programs and services at AYCC.

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HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION

In 2019 the Department of Health and Human Services hired a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEl) Coordinator to serve as the ADA Coordinator, to man- age and support the work, initiatives and goals of the Disability Commission, Human Rights Commission and LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission, and lead the racial equity work for the Town. In late 2020 the Diversity, Eq- uity & Inclusion Division was established and is made up of a DEI Director and an Administrative Assistant. The DEI Division collaborates and partners with a num- ber of departments, boards and commissions across the Town, in addition to external organizations, to ad- vance equity goals. The DEI Division is heavily involved in the planning and executing of many of the programs and events put on by the three commissions under the division. The following activities and programs are some of the highlights that took place during 2020:

Training & Education

¢ Arlington joined the Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE), membership includes participation in monthly meetings with jurisdictions across the country working on various aspects of racial equity, additional discussions and topic tailored workshops are attended.

¢ The Town started the Race And Equity Lead- ership (REAL) Training Program facilitated by the National League of Cities, in which approximately 65 Town leaders are partici- pating in a multi-level racial equity training, expanding knowledge and skills in how to operationalize and properly use racial equity toolkits in our work.

¢ ACore Equity Team made up of Town em- ployees, representing most departments, has been established to work more closely with DEI Director to advance initiatives.

¢ The Town contracted with racial equity consultancy Powerful Pathways to facilitate community dialogues around race, social justice, and equity, and to help foster a stronger relationship to build trust within the community.

¢ DEI Director is an active member of bi-week- ly Racial Equity Learning Community offered through the CHNA 17, and an active member on both the Reparations and the Education Committees with the NAACP Mystic Valley Branch.

Programs and Projects

Established a Business Task Working group, with members of the Disability, Rainbow, and Human Rights Commissions to focus on how to engage with businesses to promote and support an anti-discriminatory and unbiased set of best practices. Set up a recurring chairs/co-chairs meeting, for the leaders to come together to share ideas and work through group challenges. Hosted Community Conversations-series of race talks in collaboration with the AHRC, APD, APS, VISIONS, INC, ACMi and other participants; topics included ¢ Session 1: A Time of Reflection & Action ¢ Session 2: Racism and Housing ¢ Session 3: Arlington Public Schools Talk about School Discipline ¢ Session 4: Elevating Suppressed Voices ¢ Session 5: VISIONS, Inc. Diversity/Equi- ty/Inclusion Climate Assessment of APD ¢ Session 6: Arlington Public Schools Listens to Suppressed Voices ¢ Session 7: Town Session with Richard Pedrini: Apology and Acknowledgement Co-sponsored Black Lives Matter Vigil and Juneteenth Celebration. Co-facilitated with Powerful Pathways to provide the Community Racial Justice Teach- Ins; a five-session pilot program for commu- nity members to participate in workshop style discussions on racial justice topics over the course of three months in early 2021. Coordinated commission involvement in Fair Housing Action Plan, in collaboration with the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD). Pride Banner campaign with Rainbow Commission to create Pride banners for the center of town to celebrate and spread awareness of Pride Month. Co-Hosted with the Disability Commission a public information session on the ADA Self -Evaluation Transition and Implementation Plan, presented by the Institute for Human Centered Design and DPCD. In partnership with DPCD and DPW success- fully awarded CDBG funding to continue the curb cut ramps program. Established the Elevating Arlington’s Voices of Color (EAVoC) Archive Project, in partner- ship with the Robbins Library and Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture (ACAC) in early 2021.

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HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

Future Goals

Establish Municipal Equality Index (MEI) Working Group to address areas in need of change to improve the Town’s laws, policies, and services affecting the LGBTQIA+ community.

Continue to craft an Equity Action Plan that will provide the beginning stages of a roadmap for advanc- ing equity across all facets of the Town, that will be a liv- ing document to be added to, and changed as seen fit.

Continue to provide, improve, and build up edu- cational programming and opportunities, for employees and the community at large.

Sustain and expand the EAVoC project and sup- plemental programming throughout the 2021 year

COMMISSION ON DISABILITY

The Arlington Disability Commission (ADC) con- tinued to provide information, referral, guidance, and technical assistance to Arlington officials, residents, public and private agencies, and others to ensure that people with physical, sensory, cognitive, mental illness, and other disabilities have equal access to Town facili- ties, services, and programs. The ADC thanks our new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director, Jillian Harvey, who was a tremendous support during a difficult year.

The ADC publicly applauds the work of the De- partment of Public Works for the sidewalk replacement project in the center of town. Residents’ access to Town buildings, shops, and events was vastly improved. With an expanded budget, ADC was able to contribute as- sistance funds to other projects around Town, including renovating flooring in the Town Hall vestibule, and using CDBG (Community Development Block Grants) funds to continue the curb cut ramps program.

The ADC continued to meet with Town Officials to discuss the rights of people with disabilities in order to work towards full community inclusion within the Town of Arlington. Therefore, the ADC welcomed presenta- tions and dialogues with Special Education Director Alison Elmer, Police Chief Julie Flaherty, Department of Public Works Director Michael Rademacher, Town Counsel Douglas Heim, and several members of the Planning and Community Development Department.

Commissioners continue to volunteer and partici- pate on various Town committees and projects to share our unique lived experiences. For example, the ADC was actively involved with the Arlington High School Building Committee, including funding an Institute for Human-Centered Design review of the plans. In 2020, ADC members were also particularly active on the Elec- tion Modernization Committee, the Sustainable Trans- portation Advisory Plan Committee, and Arlington Re- development Board meetings.

Communication is crucial to improving accessibil- ity in Arlington.

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In 2020 the ADC: ¢ Debuted a Facebook page. ¢ Voted to assist funding the Town’s website ADA-Redesign project. ¢ Consulted with Town staff to ensure caption- ing for Virtual Town Meeting.

The ADA Self-Evaluation Transition and Imple- mentation Plan, which examined twenty-seven munic- pal buildings, was presented to the public during 2020. Going forward, this detailed assessment will help prior- itize necessary improvements to infrastructure through- out the Town. Further, the ADC was able to use this plan to apply for a Massachusetts Office of Disability Munic- ipal Improvement Grant.

In March the ADC attended the Town-sponsored Volunteer Fair. Dedicated volunteers with disabilities are making a difference here in Arlington. The ADC notes with sadness the passing of long-time Commis- sion member Beverly Bevilacqua, whose kindness was legendary as a long-time volunteer with the ADC and the Council on Aging.

The ADC will continue to advocate for and ensure the rights of Arlington residents living with disabilities. All interested residents are encouraged to attend the monthly public meetings, on the third Wednesday of each month at 4:00 p.m.

tat HUMAN RIGHTS

COMMISSION

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

The Arlington Human Rights Commission (AHRC) was created by Town Meeting in 1993 to advance issues related to the fair and equal treatment of individuals and to create a mechanism for addressing complaints aris- ing out of these issues. The mission of the AHRC is to work individually and collaboratively with other groups in our community to celebrate the ever-changing tapes- try of our town, and to emphasize, through educational

outreach, the danger of intolerance at every level. The Town Manager, School Committee, Select Board, and the Town Moderator have appointing authority for thirteen members of the Commission.

The AHRC met monthly throughout the year. The current co-chairs, Sharon Grossman and Kristen Bauer, were elected in August 2019. In January 2021, new co- chairs will be elected.

During 2020 there was continued discussion with- in the Town about diversity, racial equity, and inclusion.

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

The Black Lives Matter movement encouraged deeper reflection and examination of systemic racism within our town. Continuing incidents of racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and others demonstrated the continued need for us all to address these issues. The AHRC took many concrete steps to address individual incidents of human rights violations, promote discussion and debate about critical human rights issues in town, and foster activities to make Arlington a more welcoming and in- clusive community.

During 2020 the Communications, Schools and Education, Events, and Outreach Working Groups con- tinued to engage community members to partner with Commissioners, expand the Commission’s work and reach, and enable us to develop more programming. Working Groups meet monthly and report back to the full Commission at regular meetings.

Education, Training, and Institution Building

¢ Drafted a Commissioner role description, adopted a protocol governing police partic- pation in AHRC meetings, and amended rules and regulations governing the work of the AHRC to reflect current conditions.

¢ Trained Commission members on biases with True Story Theatre.

¢ Held two retreats for AHRC Commissioners to address our governing rules and regula- tions, community engagement and top goals for the year ahead.

Community Outreach

¢ Continued to offer a citizen’s forum during each monthly meeting to give residents the opportunity to address the Commission on matters relating to equality and fairness. This year, at least several dozen citizens took ad- vantage of this opportunity. Citizens attended most Commission meetings.

¢ Continued monthly agenda item to enable Commissioners to discuss issues raised by community members at the previous month's meeting.

¢ Continued monthly Commissioners’ Coffee Chats to enable members of the community to informally meet and share ideas on human rights issues with two Commissioners each month.

¢ Regularly received information about and participated in Massachusetts Association of Human Rights Commission (MAHRC) meetings.

¢ Continued co-sponsorship of the Town’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration and began working collaboratively to support its efforts.

Celebrated Black History Month in Febru- ary 2020 by sponsoring a series of events including hanging banners along Massachu- setts Avenue highlighting Black Massachu- setts citizens and a film series, one of which attended by 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment Reenactors. Co-Sponsored a series of Community Con- versations in 2020 related to racial equity, education, housing, and policing. Sponsored virtual Black Lives Matter Vigil and Juneteenth Celebration. Issued statements on the following: ¢ Protecting Human Rights During the COVID-19 Pandemic ¢ Standing Against Police Brutality and Racial Violence ¢ Vandalism of the Black Lives Matter Banner at Arlington High School ¢ Social Media Misuse ¢ Black Lives Matter Sign Vandalism ¢ Ongoing Repression of the Muslim Com- munity in India ¢ Back the Blue Rally ¢ Upcoming Town Meeting Articles ¢ Encouraging voter participation Proposed a proclamation in support of Black Lives Matter that included the hanging of a Black Lives Matter banner at Town Hall, which the Select Board adopted. Hosted a forum on Native Imagery and en- couraged celebration of Indigenous People’s Day, cosponsored a Native American Heri- tage Day social media takeover, and drafted a proposed proclamation and warrant article for adoption in 2021. Joined the Town’s effort to encourage busi- nesses to be inclusive and welcoming. Hosted panel discussions on COVID-19 in Community, Equity and Affordable Housing, and Beyond Banners: From Symbolism to Substance as the keynote for BLM Day. Started a regular e-newsletter that reaches over /00 subscribers. Posted 180 times on Facebook, with some posts reaching nearly 3,000 people. Started a Twitter account which currently has 500 followers. Made 110 tweets, which were seen by approximately 52,000 people. Started an Instagram account, that current- ly has 148 followers, and a YouTube page where all of the recorded events are avail- able for viewing. Continued the internship program with Ar- lington High School that included four AHS students.

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HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

¢ Cooperated with, co-sponsored events with, or publicized events with a wide range of community groups and government entities.

¢ Reached out to the Arlington School Com- mittee to express concerns related to equity and disproportionality of discipline issues within the Arlington Public Schools in hopes of working together.

¢ Began monthly meetings with a land ac- knowledgement statement: “We acknowl- edge that the Town of Arlington is located on the ancestral lands of the Massachusett Tribe, the tribe of Indigenous peoples from whom the Colony, Province, and Common- wealth have taken their names. We pay our respects to the ancestral bloodline of the Massachusett Tribe and their descendants who still inhabit historic Massachusett territo- ries today’.

¢ Sent a letter to the Arlington School Com- mittee related to the recent superintendent search process.

¢ Adopted the following tagline, which is now being used by many Town Departments on email and other correspondence: Arlington values equity, diversity, and inclusion. We are committed to building a community where everyone is heard, respected, and protected.

Incidents and Complaint Response

¢ Hate incidents continued, with increasing complaints related to BLM signs and pro- tests.

¢ Collected information regarding hate inci- dents occurring in Arlington from residents, schools, and the APD, as follows: 48 Cases, 8 of which involved the APS and 29 of which were also referred from or handled by the APD.

¢ Continued to work closely with the APD and APS to learn of, track and, where necessary, address incidents impacting human and civil rights.

¢ Continued to work under a Memorandum of Agreement that included the APS, AHRC, and APD that set forward Guidelines for Responding to Hate Incidents in the Arlington Public Schools.

AHRC Year and Goals Moving Forward

Our Commission has one new member this year, increasingly reflecting the growing diversity of our town. Our entire Commission is energized to work together with the community to address the challenging human rights issues facing those who live, work, pass through, and visit Arlington.

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As we move forward, we are ever mindful of the