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--- Issued Feb. 22, 2008

John E. Horan, excutive director of the Erie Housing Authority, has been chosen a 2008 recipient of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Award. He was honored at a Feb. 22 luncheon at the university.

Horan’s achievements and contributions were seen by the University as reflective of Dr. King’s philosophy and teachings, particularly in the areas of social justice and social activism.

John Horan, left, was honored as a Martin Luther king, Jr., Award
recipient on February 22, 2008, by Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
Shown with him are, at right, Dr. Jeremy Brown, president of the university,
and Virginia L. McGarvey, vice chair of the Council of Trustees.

“It’s an honor to the Housing Authority -- not just to me -- to be recognized this way, especially to the board and the staff which have provided the leadership and support, respectively, to make it possible for us to accomplish all that we have over the past 30 years,” Horan said.

“My contributions simply reflect the mission statement of the Authority,” Horan said, and that is “to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for lower-income families, elderly, and persons with disabilities; and to foster among the residents we serve economic self-sufficiency, and a sense of community and pride in the neighborhoods where they reside.”

He said he embraced the belief of Dr. King and his followers, “that to have a truly color-blind society, we need a commitment to adult self-sufficiency and equal access to schools and to early childhood education.”

Horan has dedicated himself to this philosophy and the Authority mission statement since 1977, when he became director of the Authority. He worked to end the de facto segregation that existed in public housing from the 1940s until he assumed leadership of the Authority. In those early years, Blacks in public housing were kept in their own areas, segregated from whites and other ethnic groups. In honoring Horan, the University recognized that thanks to his work, Erie public housing has been fully integrated for nearly three decades.

Horan has also changed the face of public housing by upgrading the physical condition of more than 2,100 housing units throughout the City of Erie, making Erie’s public housing the envy of housing authorities across Pennsylvania and the country.