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--- Issued September 1, 2009

The Erie Housing Authority won the 2009 Award of Merit from NAHRO (National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials) for the Authority’s summer internship program. NAHRO gave the award to HACE for program innovation in resident and client services. The Authority was also nominated for a National Award of Excellence.

The NAHRO Award of Merit program was created in 1989 to give national recognition to those Housing and Community Development organizations that are finding innovative ways of making a difference in the lives of people.

“We appreciate receiving this merit award which recognizes, on a national level, the worth of our internship program and the hard work of Authority staff who make this program possible,” said John E. Horan, executive director of the Authority. “Our summer internship program is key in fulfilling a noteworthy portion of our mission statement: to foster among the residents we serve economic self-sufficiency.”

“The majority of public housing youth who make a decision to attend college face multiple hurdles,” Horan said. “In most cases they are the first member of their family to attend college, and they have no real work experience or connections to help them find summer employment. This inability to find summer employment creates a situation where the students have limited funds available to be used for purchasing books and day-to-day college expenses.

“The Housing Authority made a commitment to college-bound Authority residents between the ages of 18-22, that if they were enrolled in college and maintained grades above a 2.0, the Housing Authority would provide them with the opportunity to participate in an Internship Program to earn income that would help them to defray their college expenses; teach them how to apply and interview for employment; guarantee their Internship with the Authority for the four years they attend college; provide them with valuable employment experience; and offer other scholarship opportunities .”

“We are very happy with the results of this program,” Horan said. “Each of our interns has made valuable contributions to our organization. They are role models for our young residents.”
Twenty-six youths were enrolled in the program in the summer of 2009, earning $7.50 per hour. College-bound summer workers were assigned to one of the neighborhood youth clubs, a Housing Authority office position, or to the Authority maintenance department. Jobs lasted for the duration of summer .

The program is open to residents of the Erie Housing Authority, ages 18-22, and currently attending college or accepted for the fall 2010 semester.

For more information, contact John Horan at 452-2425.