Tributes to Mildred Hailey were offered by local leaders this week after her retirement from Bromley-Heath housing development’s groundbreaking Tenant Management Corporation (TMC) was announced.
State Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez: “She’s the mother of the tenant management movement. That’s big! She was always the first one to be angry when people tried to stir up the neighborhood. With her, it was straight to the grain.
“She was the catalyst to bring the probation department, the court system, the police department together. She would make a home-cooked meal to make sure people showed up to the table. She understood that challenges the young people who live in the community face. She worked to bring the trust levels of those young men to the point where they could work with each other.”
Anna Mae Cole, co-founder of the TMC: “She had 40 years of good work and influenced a lot of how housing is now done across the country. That’s all I have to say.”
Richard Heath, author of “The History of Bromley-Heath Public Housing Development” and a 40-year Jamaica Plain resident: “Hailey really embraced the Southwest Corridor Park Project and made it work for [the development]. They made certain that there were playgrounds and sports facilities built…that served the public housing residents…The big success of the Tenant Management Corporation was the alleviation of the separation between Bromley-Heath and the community.”
Richard Thal, executive director of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation: “In the early 1970s, Bromley-Heath was one of the most dangerous places in Boston…[Hailey was instrumental] in creating a lot of very important institutions, community health organizations, and in the partnership between the supermarket, the health center [and Bromley-Heath].”
Mordechai Levin, co-developer of the JP Plaza mall and Stop’n’Shop, along with JPNDC and TMC: “She was incredibly supportive of a supermarket and health center being developed on that site…[The TMC] was very vocal and very passionate about it.
“When [Hailey] speaks, when she believes in something, it comes from the heart…She always acted for what would be best for the greater community. That’s an incredible legacy…She has a love and concern for where she lives and a desire to improve the quality of life. I think [Hailey and TMC] did it.
“Not only did they bring about change, [it was a change] that brought about a change in perception of the whole neighborhood, and I think that’s a huge accomplishment.”