On Tuesday, March 5th, two PHA residents spoke at the RI State House about the importance of public housing in their lives. Members of the Public Housing Association of Rhode Island (PHARI) organized the speaking program to raise awareness around the benefits of public housing and the programming it provides.
PHARI: We are more than housing
The mission of PHARI is to buoy RI’s Public Housing agencies, through advocacy and education in order to ensure safe, decent, affordable housing for Rhode Islanders – the core mission of public housing. PHARI also works with the local housing authorities to create opportunities for residents’ self-sufficiency and economic independence as well as assure the fiscal integrity of all program participants.
The Public Housing and Section 8 programs in Rhode Island are much more than providing decent, safe, affordable housing opportunities though. Providence joins 24 other statewide Housing Authorities to serve over 40,000 seniors, persons with disability, and low to moderate income families with housing assistance, social service programs, education and health services, as well as the necessary tools to become self-sufficient. Combined, the Authorities employ over 500 on-going, sustained staff positions. This has a tremendous economic impact in the State of Rhode Island. Millions of dollars in federal subsidies go directly to the local community’s economies for construction, modernization, and the ultimate preservation of our current housing stock as well as to local property owners who partner with Authorities across the State to create affordable housing solutions.
Meet the Speakers
Both residents who spoke at the event received housing benefits through the PHA but also participated in many of the other programs offered including the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS), Financial Opportunity Center (FOC), and Homeownership Services programs.
Kenya Fullen participated in both the FSS and FOC programs. In her work with the PHA team, she set employment goals and her PHA coach, Jossyln, assisted her with her job search. Kenya is looking forward to starting a new position at the State in April of this year. She is also just a few classes away from completing her master’s degree at Roger Williams University. Kenya now has her sights set on homeownership and is working to buy her own home one day.
Aivley Palmieri participated in the FSS program, building an escrow savings account of over $35,000 in her time with the PHA’s Section 8 program. When she first received her voucher, she had no income at all but worked through the program to increase her income and save for a new car and eventually a home of her own. She is now a proud homeowner who credits the PHA programs for supporting her as she worked towards her goals.
Hear it in their words
To hear Kenya and Aivley as they share their stories or to watch the entire speaking program, visit Capital TV.