Residents at Garden Lane public housing recived notification from the Wrentham Housing Authority that they can not display U.S. flags outside their apartments. The notice was distributed by the Wrentham Housing Authority but members of its board were unaware a notice went out to the residents of Garden Lane. Marjorie Hooper, a board member, said, "I didn't know anything about this until last night."
Hooper added that the order came directly from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development which received a complaint. Calls to the EOHED have not been returned at this time. It is unclear if the complaint came from anyone living in the Garden Lane apartments. Hooper believes, the residents in the complex have the right to fly the U.S. Flag.
The letter dated July 11, 2012 says:
To: All Residents of Garden Lane
Due to a tenant's repeated complaints reported to the Department of Housing and Community Development over the July 4th holiday, Wrentham Housing Authority has been informed that the public display of the American Flag in the common areas is not permitted. As a result, all American flag displays must be restricted to the interior of your apartment. Flags may be visible through the apartment windows but may not be displayed on the exterior of the buildings or on the ground around the building.
The Garden Lane apartments contain 66 one bedroom units for seniors and disabled persons. "I have made my own inquiry to the Wrentham Housing Authority and am waiting for them to return my call," says William Ketcham, Town Administrator. "The Authority operates as a separate elected body and does not report to the Town, the Town Administrator or the Board of Selectmen. None of us received any prior information on this letter and cannot comment on its authenticity."
Reached late Wednesday night via email, State Representative Dan Winslow planned to look into the issue first thing Thursday morning. "This is the first I've heard of this," Winslow wrote. "My office will contact the state and town agencies to assess the scope and terms of any such policy. That housing complex has veterans and widows of veterans and I want to support anyone who wants to show the flag."
A U.S. flag continues to fly at the apartments despite the notice to have it removed.