Housing Authority of the City of Erie Shares Success Stories of Youth

The Housing Authority of the City of Erie (HACE) 2021 Calendar features young adults who have lived in public housing and gone on to enjoy prosperous lives. The success stories include healthcare workers, educators, community leaders, and members of the Armed Forces. Many were participants in the Housing Authority's youth programs, worked in the HACE summer internship program or were recipients of college scholarships through the Ellen Curry Foundation.

"HACE provided me with my first college summer job work experience as a site supervisor for the YMCA Kids Club. HACE opportunities helped shape the man I am today. I have a bachelor's degree in Biology Pre-Medicine and a master's degree in Clinical Research. I work remotely and travel worldwide on one of the largest clinical research trials for the United States government focused on the COVID-19 Vaccine. I recently enlisted in the Army National Guard and plan on continuing my education, working towards a doctorate degree,” said Gustavo Vera, a former resident of Agnes Priscaro Apartments.

Each summer, HACE welcomes twenty plus residents 18 to 24 years of age to be a part of their summer internship program. The HACE Summer Internship Program provided many of the participants with their first real work experience and allowed them to save money for college. The Internship Program was recently expanded to provide work experiences with HACE partners including Roth Marz Architects and the Knox Law Firm.

Many of the those recognized in the 2021 Calendar received college scholarships through the Ellen Curry Foundation Louis J. Tullio Scholarship program founded in 1989 to help young Housing Authority residents complete their college education. The Foundation was established by former HACE board member Ellen Curry in her will. The scholarships provide opportunities to assist college-bound residents in receiving an education that will lead them to economic self-sufficiency.   

HACE summer internships also provide networking opportunities. Housing Authority Solicitor Tim Sennett was introduced to Chrinesse Mpunga, a Gannon University Pre-Law Major working for HACE as a summer intern in the HACE administrative offices. He was so impressed; he encouraged her to apply for a summer internship at the Knox Law Firm for the summer of 2020. Mpunga was accepted for an internship at Knox Law Firm, and she recently completed her sophomore year at Gannon, earning Dean's List honors for the fifth consecutive term.

“I have never forgotten where I come from and the people who have inspired me to be a better version of myself during my formative years. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities I have had because of HACE and the people whose paths I was lucky enough to cross,” said Rosary Giang, a former resident of Lake City Dwellings.

HACE Executive Director, Michael R. Fraley stated that everyone who has seen the calendars comments on how good it makes them feel during these challenging times. He stated that this is just a small picture of the many individuals and families who have used HACE and its public housing and Section 8 programs as a path to economic and family self-sufficiency.

The calendar is distributed to all HACE residents, as well as to HACE friends and partners throughout the United States. To view the calendar and read the success stories, visit hace.org. If you would like a copy of the calendar, contact the HACE Central Office at 452-2425.