Greetings, this holiday season of giving. This is a time of the year when many reflect on how fortunate they are, and are more conscious of those who are not as fortunate and want to do more to help them. It is a time when we also look forward to a better year in 2014.
Our town, a beautiful city of national historic significance is home to a diverse population of social, economic and ethnic backgrounds and the University of Virginia (UVA). The attractiveness of Charlottesville and UVA, have brought many to our city, increasing both the demand for housing, and housing costs that have most adversely affected the affordable housing available to low income households.
Affordable housing for many low income families in Charlottesville is Public Housing – 376 units managed by the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority (CRHA). To provide a voice for Charlottesville public housing residents in the decisions that affect their lives, The Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR) was founded fifteen years ago.
PHAR has progressed to become one of the strongest and most well-known resident organizations in the country. PHAR’s governing board is made up entirely of people living in public housing. PHAR’s Advisory Council is made up of other community partners. PHAR’s mission is to educate and organize low income people to protect and improve our own community through collective action. PHAR advocates and organizes in our community for systemic changes and assists residents to improve their quality of life.
PHAR’s programs and activities positively impact the lives of residents of public housing:
- The six month Internship program develops individual advocacy and leadership skills: Interns learn about public housing, local government, community organizing and public speaking. Graduates of PHAR’s intern program serve on local and national boards. More than 80% of intern graduates (excluding elderly or disabled) find employment or continue their education. Last year an intern graduate and his family celebrated their first Thanksgiving in their new Habitat home.
- The Residents’ Bill of Rights ensures that residents can return after completion of any CRHA redevelopment.
- Residents are represented at and encouraged to attend City or CRHA meetings affecting public housing in Charlottesville.
- Residents are informed of any prospective policy changes affecting their tenancy and the consequences of these changes.
- PHAR’s Resident Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) Program links residents to community educational and job training opportunities and supportive services that promote independence and self- sufficiency and help elderly and disabled residents age in place.
Whether it involves attending meetings or issuing newsletters, brochures or speaking engagements, PHAR seeks to inform residents, community groups, legislators and social policy makers about the current needs, problems and accomplishments of Charlottesville public housing residents. Our ultimate aim is to demonstrate that all citizens are important and can play a role in making a community active and viable.
Your contribution goes directly to supporting our efforts to achieve socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in Charlottesville have affordable and decent housing. We are not a United Way funded agency. Contributions to PHAR are tax deductible.
…or mail a check made out to Public Housing Association of Residents to:
1000 Preston Ave, Suite C
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Thank you for your support. Your generosity and kindness is much appreciated.
Sabrina Allen Shymora Cooper Jane Foster
Intern Board of Directors Advisory Council