Board of Commissioners

The eleven-member Board of Commissioners is responsible for continuing the mission of the organization as well as enhancing and expanding opportunities to all residents. The Board acts as a decision making body in regards to policies, plans, and the agency’s budget to advance the mission, vision, and work of the PHA.


The Board of Commissioners is comprised of three (3) residents from the PHA who are appointed by the Mayor from a list of nominees chosen by residents in open elections. The Mayor also directly appoints six (6) additional members. All appointees serve five-year staggered terms.

Two (2) Board members are elected by the Providence City Council from among its members. These members serve four-year terms.

Commissioners Vivian Medina and Rochelle Lee are sworn in by former Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza.

Executive Team

Melissa Sanzaro, a native Rhode Islander, is the first woman to serve as Executive Director of the Providence Housing Authority in its 80-year history. Melissa began as Executive Director in January of 2018, having previously served three years as Deputy Director and five years prior to that in the PHA’s Special Projects Office. Since joining the agency, Sanzaro has focused on re-energizing community and resident relationships, building on past successes, and on innovative and comprehensive approaches to providing viable and healthy housing and life-changing opportunities to the Providence community.

Senior Staff

PHA has a leadership team of directors and associate directors across the agency’s 10 departments who work together to continuously improve PHA’s management and operations.


The Providence Housing Authority includes ten departments that manage various aspects of the PHA’s work. Below, please find a brief description of each department.