Message from the President

Our vision is taking root…

The Public Housing Youth Academy is off the ground.

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.”            Walter Elliot


The first time I heard a hail of bullets in the street outside my apartment in the public housing development in South Boston where I live, was in the summer of 2017. At first, I wasn’t sure about what I’d heard, because I wasn’t used to hearing gunshots outside my apartment.  That shooting incident sent a young male to the hospital with life threatening injuries. 

After that shooting, the police mounted a constant vigil, sometimes with two patrol cars, but despite the constant police presence, there was another shooting 2 weeks later. It was a beautiful late summer evening…still bright outside with neighbors sitting out front while kids played on the basketball court next to an elementary school. 

Suddenly, shots ring out as the shooter goes up the street firing. Pandemonium breaks out: the neighbor is screaming for her kids; others are running and yelling: “close the door, close the door!”  The shooter proceeded to (according to news reports) hide th gun in the school.

Since then, hardly a week/month goes by without some incidence of gun violence. 

In June, 2018…a young male was shot while sitting in his car…and a bullet ended up IN a school classroom, which thankfully was closed for the day. 

Meantime, ambulances make frequent calls to treat drug overdoses. Drug dealing and drug use is rampant. Think of a kid growing up in this environment? Teenager drops out of school in 9th grade, he/she follows bad influences, gets arrested for some misguided, poorly though out act (like gun possession or drug dealing) and ends up in jail. He/she gets out 10-years later, has NO skills, no-one wants him/her living in their neighborhood or building complex and won’t hire him/her because of the CORI.  We have just created a hardened criminal out of someone who could likely have been saved with some attention and funding…

Millions of dollars have been thrown at public housing…so what is holding tenants back?

Phya thinks the BEST people to change tenants outcomes are the tenants themselves – the people who LIVE there…and that is what we are about. “We The Tenants” are no longer willing to wait on others to ride in and save th day.

WE need to take the reins and BE the agents of our own change.


C. Paul

PHYA President/CEO



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