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--- Issued November 1, 2013

In 2013, we are extremely proud to feature in our annual calendar 12 of our employees who started their careers with us when they were residents of public housing. We think their individual stories are compelling enough to feature on a monthly basis throughout the year -- to honor these employees and to help celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Housing Authority of the City of Erie:

Arcadio Torres-Santos -- November 2013

Arcadio Torres-Santos was born in Puerto Rico. Arcadio has been working for HACE for almost 10 years, thanks to entering the Step-Up Program for maintenance in 1999.

“Thanks to my job with the Housing Authority, I am able to support my wife, Sandra, and two children, Arcadio, 10, and Alexandra, 4. My wife lived in public housing when we first got married, so I lived there with her, but in 2010 we bought our own house, thanks to my Housing Authority paychecks. It’s a nice, big, two-story, three bedroom home; it’s peaceful there; and I was able to buy it and move out of public housing when I was only 32 years old.”

Arcadio, who started as a laborer after finishing the Step-Up Program in 2000, says he wants to work his way up the ladder to mechanic. “I would like to be a supervisor if a position opens up, but if not, I would be happy being a mechanic. I like to work and help people by preparing houses. I like doing wiring, plumbing, painting, drywall – I do just about everything. I like making a living for myself. I intend to retire from here.”

Arcadio says he is capable of doing more. He moved into public housing with his parents in 1989, but in 2000, moved out of public housing and went to Pittsburgh for a year to complete a Pittsburgh Jobs Corps carpentry class.

“Then I came back to Erie and worked for the City of Erie paint and sign division for two years, before I went to work for the Housing Authority.

“Without the Housing Authority, I’d probably be working at a McDonald’s somewhere.

“When other people aren’t working at all, it makes me feel pretty good to have this job at my age. I can make people happy by fixing things for them, and the happier they get, the happier that makes me, and then I can make them more happy!  It's like a big circle!"