--- Issued March 15, 2013

The Housing Authority of the City of Erie launched its year-long celebration of its 75 years of service to the Erie community on Wednesday, March 13, at the dedication of the Authority’s new Dental Office and Resident Services Complex, 2120 East 10th Street.

Among those present for the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new dental office were, from left Daniel S. Snow, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, Community Health Net; Erie Mayor Joseph Sinnott; Erie County Executive Barry Grossman; and Housing Authority Chair Agnes Priscaro.

"We are eager to celebrate our years of service," said John E. Horan, executive director of the Authority. "Seventy-five years is a long time. It is worth celebrating!"

Erie City Council established the Housing Authority of the City of Erie on March 11, 1938. "We are one of the oldest housing authorities in Pennsylvania and in the United States," Horan said.

"Ours is a rich and interesting history of providing affordable housing for more than 75,000 citizens of Erie, from World War II into the 21st century. Many individuals who lived in public housing have gone on to make significant contributions to Erie, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and to the United States of America.

"We are proud of our role in the Erie community."

The new dental office dedication was the first of several Housing Authority celebratory events and activities scheduled between now and mid-October.

The dental office is a joint venture between the Housing Authority and Community Health Net. The facility was renovated by the Housing Authority and the dental equipment and professional staffing is provided by Community Health Net, a non-profit medical services agency that provides a full range of medical services to low-income patients. The new dental office provides one full-time dentist, one full-time hygienist and two dental assistants.

The dental office is located in the Housing Authority’s largest family development. There are about 1,000 residents at the John E. Horan Garden Apartments, including about 400 children under the age of seven.
"The piece of health care for low-income families that gets the least attention is dental care, and that leads to a lot of other health issues," Horan said.

Other events and activities scheduled for this 75th anniversary year include:

--  May 25, 2013 - Perry 200 Grand Patriotic Parade. Young HACE residents will help build a float and participate in the parade

-- June 7, 2013 - Meet Your Neighbor Day at the John E. Horan Garden Apartments

-- June 14, 2013 - Senior Summer Celebration sponsored by HomePLUS

-- July 12, 2013 - Public Housing Family Picnic at Waldameer Park

-- August 6, 2013 - National Night Out at Harbor Homes and Erie Heights

-- August 9, 2013 - Senior Picnic at Waldameer Park

-- October 11, 2013 - Gala Celebration of 75th Anniversary to be held at the Bayfront convention Center

-- Art and Poetry Contest open to all public housing and Section 8 residents

-- Talent Expo featuring public housing residents

-- Friendship Apartments 40th Anniversary Celebration

-- Curry/Schell Apartments 25th Anniversary Celebration

-- History of the Housing Authority 1938 - 2013

The Housing Authority will reinforce the theme “It’s About People” throughout the year, starting with recognition of Erie community leaders selected to lead the Authority in 1938: Melvin A. Zurn, President of A.J. Zurn Manufacturing Company; William H. Kneib, Secretary, Marquette Building and Loan Association; H. Eugene Kelly, Secretary to the City of Erie’s Director of Streets and Public Works; Michael J. Campbell, Former Superintendent South Erie Post Office; and Neil A. McLaughlin, President Erie Central Labor Union.

Joseph Anton Schmid was appointed the first Executive Director and Secretary on May 15, 1940. He served until December 1976. Attorney Thomas W. Barber was appointed legal counsel to the Housing Authority in 1940.

Other notable board members through the years, include: former mayor Clairence K. Pulling; Dr. Daniel S. Snow; the Reverend John Vedder Edwards; Attorney J. Leonard Ostrow; State Representative Italo Cappabianca; Common Pleas Court Judge John A. Bozza; and City Councilman Melvin Witherspoon.

The Housing Authority is also extremely proud of the many distinguished former residents who have gone on to make their mark in Erie, the State and the nation. These include: former Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge; attorneys Larry Meredith and James G. Hanes; businessmen John Tullio and Tibor R. Solymosi; former School Superintendent Raymond Dombrowski; Architect Robert Crowner; former Police Chief Chuck Bowers; school administrators Fred Garnon, Jr. and Gregory Myers; County Councilwoman Carol Loll; and fitness guru Billy Blanks.

The Housing Authority provides housing assistance throughout the City of Erie to 3,045 families, senior citizens and persons with disabilities.