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Niagara carrier The Official Magazine of the Niagara Falls Housing Authority




P o ssi b i







Pressing Towards the Mark of Excellence



JAN 2014 V17 Issue 5

on the cover

Winter 2014

contents 2





COVER STORY: My Home. My Choice.


My Home. My Choice. Story Page 5 Photo of Anthony Spallino Towers

Scholarship Opportunities 11






Happy New Year!

We Empower. We Enrich. We Build Strong Communities! Board of Commissioners Rev. Dobbs, Chairman Cynthia A. Bianco, Vice Chairman Vivian M. Watkins, Secretary Carmelette M. Rotella, Member Owen T. Steed, Member Jeff M. Paterson, Member Alicia M. Laible, Member Stephanie W. Cowart, Executive Director Jason J. Cafarella, Counsel

Anonymous Tip Line You can report suspicious or criminal activity anonymously by calling the NFPD’s Anonymous Tip Line at (716) 286-4711. For emergencies (716) 285-6961 Place a work order request (716) 284-9675 Visit our website Email us

The Niagara Carrier is published quarterly by the Niagara Falls Housing Authority. If you have any articles or announcements, please contact Kelly Mariano at (716) 285-6961. Contributors: Thank you to our staff for your articles and photos. Editorial assistance and creative design provided by Jackson Parker Communications LLC.

2014 WILL be a Successful Year! S t e p h a n i e W. C o w a r t , E x e c u t i v e D i re c t o r OK, it has now been written, the next steps to ensure that this statement becomes a reality are to draft a plan and to put it into action. Many may ask why this process is important. One of America’s most respected leaders and 16th President of the United States stated, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” (Abraham Lincoln) This powerful quote serves for me as a call to action. At the end of each year I take a look back to plan forward. My questions include – what has worked this year? What is needed to go forward? President Lincoln’s quote reminds us that we must be continually motivated to take control of our lives and plan for the future. Outlining a personal success plan is a start; but you must activate and work the plan. Emphasis is placed on the word personal because

everyone has their own definition of what it means to be successful. For instance, success for some may mean securing a new job or obtaining an A in a school course or completing a weight loss program. Getting Started–Relax, Focus and Believe. Just think; what is one thing you can put into action this year that will change your life next year or five years from now? Next–Outline how you will accomplish your goals for the year. Remember our success depends upon our attitude, faith, perseverance and many times help from our friends and family. Yes, it begins with you, but no one knows it all. Therefore, part of your success plan will more than likely require seeking guidance and obtaining information to assist you in accomplishing your goals. Sadly, many dreams and plans are halted at this step. A network of advisors from which you can seek assistance will prevent you from being stopped by fear, frustration, and self-doubt. Consider a Personal Board of Directors. One way to overcome

these obstacles is to tap into your personal Board of Directors. A personal Board of Directors is defined as a group of people in your life who support your vision and to whom you turn when you want honest advice and/or when you are looking for help in figuring out solutions to your challenges. Jim Collins, the bestselling author and corporate consultant on leadership and management, recommends that you identify 5 to 7 people that you respect and could turn to for direction during difficult times. My personal board of advisors serves not only as a professional resource but more importantly they provide encouragement and support. As we prepare for the New Year, I hope you will join me in focusing on the positive and putting into action your success plan. Remember, by focusing on the best we can be, we will impact our loved ones and ultimately the entire community. Wishing all a blessed, healthy and successful New Year. May grace and favor be yours in 2014. Make something happen!

I pay tribute to W. Lee Whitaker, a long-time dedicated and diligent employee, who has enjoyed a distinguished career at the Niagara Falls Housing Authority. It was my privilege to appoint her as Director of Occupancy. She has proven to be a valued department head and community leader on whom I can rely. Lee, I wish you well in all future endeavors, even if the path leads you to continued contributions at the Niagara Falls Housing Authority. Niagara carrier JAN 2014






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A Rock and Rollin Christmas


hat warm feeling of the holidays was forever present at the Niagara Falls Housing Authority’s Youth Choir Christmas Concert held at the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building on December 20, 2014.

Entitled, “A Rock & Rollin’ Christmas,” the event featured a variety of upbeat musical selections, dance numbers, heartwarming skits and poetry readings designed to inspire the true meaning of Christmas… in good old rock and roll style.

After receiving several standing ovations, the choir left audience members clapping and cheering for more.

Under the musical direction of Diana M. Reeves, the choir put a modern spin on such classics as Deck the Hall, Jingle Bells, Shake Rattle & Roll, Rockin’ Robin, Rock Around the Clock, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Come Let Us Adore Him. The Youth Choir consists of over 50 talented members with ages ranging from 5–15 years old.

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My Home. My Choice. This article is the first in a year long series of articles in which we will interview various residents of the Niagara Falls Housing Authority to gather stories about experiences in public housing. This series is inspired by the national initiative, ReThink: Public Housing, created to build awareness, educate and inspire others about public housing in the U.S. The initiative encourages the public to consider the people and families in their own community who could be served by public housing. By sharing success stories,the initiative hopes to challenge negative perceptions. PHOTOS Anthony Spallino Towers and Jordan Gardens. 5


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In this issue, we will profile Ms. Vivian Watkins who serves as the Niagara Falls Housing Authority’s resident Board member and is a resident of Spallino Towers and Ms. Melvia Holman, a resident of the Jordan Gardens Community.

Vivian Watkins Retired LPN Nurse Resident: Spallino Towers

How many years have you been a NFHA resident? Ms. Watkins was born in the state of Virginia and in the 1940’s at the age of 8 moved to Niagara Falls, New York with her family. Her father was part of the Great Migration in which southern residents moved to the north for new employment opportunities.

“It is so much more than just a building, it’s a community.” she once again moved out of the Niagara Falls Housing Authority. Yet, as she prepared for retirement, she made the decision to return to public housing and moved into the senior towers. She stated, “I like to tell people, it was my choice, it was not a necessity.” She added, “I moved for the safety and companionship; I like people and the housing is affordable.” How has living in affordable housing changed during the years? Ms. Watkins noted that the residential housing complexes are no longer referred to as “The Projects” but a community. “It is so much more than just a building, it’s a community.”

Upon their arrival, the family moved into Center Court and was among one of the first families to move into this housing development. When she was a teenager, the family moved out of public housing. “We have a community just like any However, after marriage and other community.” children she made the decision to move back into housing provided Another observation is that the by the Niagara Falls Housing Housing Authority has now Authority. embraced community partnerships which have developed programs The reason for this move that help improve the lives of its “I had excellent memories as a child residents. In addition, she noted the growing up in Center Court and technology upgrades in apartments, I had built life long friends from such as the improvements in Center Court.” heating units have made the apartments better. After her children became adults

What do you like about living in your residential community? She stated that along with the sense of community, she liked the safety, convenience to grocery stores, pharmacies and banks. “It is just nice; it really feels like a home where I am surrounded by good neighbors and friends.” Are you active in your community? Ms. Watkins quickly replied, oh yes!” She is a member of the Tenants Organization, a member of one of the original Golden Agers Clubs, a member of the Council of Older Adults in Niagara Falls, NY and she serves as a Commissioner on the Niagara Falls Housing Authority Board.

How can residents of public housing help build their communities? Her advice centered on residents treating their residential apartments like their home and getting involved. She proudly shared that there are several residents who volunteer their time. “They do it because they love it and they do without being asked.” For example, there are residents who help to maintain the lawns on a regular basis. She spoke of one neighbor who volunteers to go to the store for residents who are not able to go out and shop. She summarized by stating, “We just pass it on; just because we get a little older, we can still do for others.”

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SPOTLIGHT ON RESIDENTS What do you believe is the major misconception people have about living in public housing? Ms. Watkins began by stating how some people are afraid of people who are different. She believes that people should give others a chance and get to know them. She provided wisdom received from her mother on how to treat people, my mother always said, “You cannot judge a book by its cover.” “I have met some nice people here.” Another misconception Ms. Watkins has observed is that people believe that all residents of affordable housing are people who want others to do for them. She wants all to know that this is not a true picture.

Melvia Holman Retired Hospital Employee Currently work as a Foster Grandmother at Henry J. Kalfas Elementary Resident: Harry S. Jordan Gardens How many years have you been a NFHA resident? Ms. Holman could not recall the exact number of years but she believes it has been at least 40 years. She moved from Alabama to Niagara Falls, New York at the age of 6 with her family. Her father like many southern Blacks migrated to the north to work in the plants. Upon arrival, her family moved into the Hyde Park Village. She explained that because she was not able to afford a home public



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housing was part of her foundation as she raised her children. She proudly stated, “This is my home and I respect my home by helping to keep it looking the best it can.” How has living in affordable housing changed during the years? She believes that the most disturbing change she has seen is the attitude of some of our youth. She admits that this is a national concern but is saddened that the

“This is my home and I respect my home by helping to keep it looking the best it can.” youth today do not seem to respect the residential properties. What do you like about living in your residential community? As a person that has always enjoyed working with flowers and having a beautiful lawn, she has great praise for the maintenance staff. “The workers seem to care; they work hard to help keep the place clean.” Are you active in your community? She stated that due to her age and her weekly work as a foster

grandmother at an elementary school, she is no longer active in the community. It should be recognized that Ms. Holman works with Niagara Falls elementary students and makes a significant contribution to the Niagara Falls, New York community. How can residents of public housing help build their communities? Ms. Holman would like all residents to appreciate, care and respect where they live. “You can live in a box but as long as you take care of where you live and be respectful, any place can be made into a home.” What do you believe is the major misconception people have about living in public housing? She stated that most people appear to believe that public housing residents are “throw a ways”. She expresses pride when speaking about how she always received compliments about how nice her lawn looked. “I love flowers and how beautiful they make a lawn look.” Now her children assist in keeping this tradition alive.


For the Love of Dance


he Nutcracker is a beloved family tradition. For Spallino Towers resident John Capello, the Nutcracker is more than just a tradition. It’s a way of life. The Nutcracker is a classic story of a little girl named Clara who dreams her nutcracker becomes a prince. At the age of 93, John has been playing the part of Clara’s dancing grandfather for over 20 years. Performing with the Greater Niagara Dance Company, John has become a star in his own right. Although he is only in one scene, his performance steals the show.

John moved to the United States from Southern Italy at the age of 17, for a chance of a better life. A retired mechanic and senior companion, John has always had the acting bug. “I’m just a big ham. Believe it or not, when I was a young boy I was a star tarantella folk dancer in Calabria, Italy. I have always loved to dance.” One of his favorite nutcracker memories was when he performed with his granddaughter Lora who is now married and living out of state. John has no intentions of retiring. “I will continue to do it for as long as I can,” he said.

HAVE AN ADVANTAGE! The Advantage After-School Program for middle and high school students is accepting applications for the 2013-2014 school year.


ooking for that all around after-school program for your child? One that provides not only homework assistance and tutoring, but introduces your child to a variety of fun activities… well, we have the answer—the Advantage After-School Program! Sponsored by People and Possibilities, Inc. in collaboration with the Niagara Falls Housing Authority and the Niagara Falls City School District, the program offers cooking classes, yoga instruction,

fitness classes, dance, karate classes, self-esteem building classes, SAT Prep, volunteer opportunities and much, much, more! The Advantage After-School Program program operates October– June and is held Monday–Friday at Niagara Falls High School (2:45 pm– 5:45 pm) and at LaSalle Preparatory School (2:30 pm–5:30 pm).

communities, Niagara Falls High School and LaSalle Preparatory School. For additional information, please contact Khaleelah Shareef at (716) 278-0228. More on pages 21-22.

Applications for the 2013–2014 school year are available at all Niagara Falls Housing Authority

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Generosity of Niagara Falls Redevelopment, LLC and Howard MilStein

Helps Make Thanksgiving Feast Possible


he smell of roasted turkey and homemade pumpkin pie filled the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building on November 25, 2013 as the Niagara Falls Housing Authority continued its “Thanksgiving Feast” tradition by providing hundreds of children, youth and adults in need with a complete thanksgiving dinner. The “feast” was served by an all male volunteer staff, which included representatives from the Niagara Falls Police Department, Niagara Catholic junior varsity and varsity football teams, Bethany Missionary Baptist Church, St. John AME Church, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Niagara Falls High School Wolverines Football team, 7th Masonic District Prince Hall Masons, St. John Lodge #16, Electric City Lodge #49, Eureka Lodge #36, Paramount Lodge #73, Ionic Lodge #88 and Master Craftsman Lodge #110. Guests were entertained by the musical talents of the Bethany Missionary Baptist Church Choir. Special

thanks to Rev. Bruce D. Points, Sr. for providing the opening prayer and blessing, Rev. Raymond Allen for providing words of thanks and to Rev. Timothy J. Brown, Sr. for providing the closing prayer. The event was organized by Housing Authority board member and Niagara County Legislator Owen Steed. “This event not only helps those in need, but gives the men in our community a chance to give back. These men serve as positive role models for others to see, especially the children. I am so proud to be a part of it.”

The event was made possible with the generosity of Niagara Falls Redevelopment, LLC and Howard MilStein.



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PHOTOS TOP: Attendees enjoy a good old fashioned feast. ABOVE: Legislator Owen Steed. BELOW LEFT: Check from Niagara Falls Redevelopment, LLC. BELOW CENTER: Wrobel Towers resident Sandra Aughtman. BELOW RIGHT: Serving those in need.


Let There be Light The City owned parking lot adjacent to the Niagara Falls Housing Authority’s Wrobel Towers senior community has been a point of contention for a number of years. The lights in the lot have not worked and the safety of the many visitors to the building was of great concern to both Housing Authority staff and residents.

“Sometimes you just have to grab the bull by the horns,” Wall said. That brought quick action from City officials who promised to resolve the issue.

Truman Wall, Wrobel Towers resident Wrobel Towers Manager Marcia Massaro first brought the lighting issue to the City’s attention in November 2011, through their website. The desperate need for appropriate lighting was a top priority for Wrobel Towers resident Truman Wall. Wall, who also served as President of the River Rapids Block Club, knew something had to be done. At his monthly meetings, he gained support from fellow residents and members of the

surrounding neighborhoods. He, along with other residents, block club members and Housing Authority staff, attended city council meetings, bringing the issue to the forefront. Wall then called Channel 4 News for Action. Reporter Luke Moretti, did a story on the safety concerns the following evening. The story was taped at night, so individuals could see first hand just how dark and dangerous the parking lot was.

Shortly thereafter, the Niagara Falls City Council approved a measure awarding a contract to install new lights in the lot. The contract was awarded to CIR Electric in the amount of $87,900. The funding will come from the City’s share of slot machine revenue from the Seneca Niagara Casino. Wrobel Towers Manager Marcia Massaro said, “Wall was instrumental in ensuring the safety of our residents. It just goes to show you what teamwork can do.” The lighting repairs are expected to be completed within the next couple of months.

PHOTO: WIVB TV Niagara carrier JAN 2014




Scholarship Opportunities The Niagara Falls Housing Authority continues to encourage residents to strengthen their employment skills and career opportunities by obtaining a college degree or completing a training program. The following pages include scholarships available for 2014.

Niagara Falls Education Foundation Inc. 2014 Scholarship Opportunities HOW TO APPLY: Applications are available at Niagara Falls High School, the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building, Packard Court Community Center and all Niagara Falls Housing Authority communities. Applications must be postmarked by Saturday, March 1, 2014. 11


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SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE Five - $1,000 Scholarship Awards One - $1,500 Phyllis E. Jahn Community Service Scholarship Award ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS • Graduating Niagara Falls High School senior accepted into an accredited Community College, College or University in New York State. • A copy of your acceptance letter

• •

from an accredited Community College, College or University that you plan on attending. Two (2) letters of reference from a high school teacher, school counselor, coach or school administration member. A 250-500 word personal statement on your goals and aspirations. Official high school transcript. Listing of extracurricular activities.


Scholarships NYSPHADA $2,500 Scholarship


n order to encourage academic excellence and community responsibility among high school students, the New York State Public Housing Authority Director’s Association (NYSPHADA) has implemented a scholarship program for graduating seniors who are preparing to enter higherlevel learning (defined as a 2-4 year college, trade school or formal certification program). The Scholarship fund will be administered by the NYSPHADA Scholarship Committee. The money will go directly to the school that the recipient will be attending. The school will deposit the money into the student’s account. The money may be used to pay for tuition, books, and activities directly related to the student’s education. If the student discontinues his or her education, the unused portion of the scholarship will be returned to NYSPHADA.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS • Applicant must be a resident of the Niagara Falls Housing Authority. • Applicant must be a high school senior who is preparing to enter higher level learning. • Applicant must have at least a “B” average on his/her school’s applicable scale during his/her high school career, cumulatively, to be considered for the scholarship. The scholarship will be formally presented at NYSPHADA’S Annual Conference and Exhibition on May 7, 2014 at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Verona, New York. The winner will receive travel accommodations for him/herself and one parent/guardian to attend the conference.

HOW TO APPLY: The application can be found on NYSPHADA’s website at On the homepage, click the NYSPHADA Scholarship Application link to download the application. Electronically complete the form, save it to your computer and print a copy. For more information, please contact Kelly Mariano, Tenant Services Coordinator, at (716) 285-6961. The application deadline is February 28, 2014.

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Scholarships Niagara Falls Housing Authority Doris W. Jones $1,000 Memorial Scholarship May the work I’ve done, the life I lived and the services I gave, speak for me. Doris W. Jones, was a long time resident of public housing who worked tirelessly to improve the overall quality of life of public housing residents through the development of a variety of training programs and related initiatives. In 1975, Doris was elected President of the Center Court Tenant Association. In 1976, she was elected to the Niagara Falls Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, where she served for 25 years. She successfully initiated a variety of training programs for the Niagara Falls Housing Authority, including the Summer Enrichment Program, Livin’ Large and I Can Read Tutorial programs, Annual Run from Drugs, Annual Thanksgiving Feast and a host of job development and training programs. She developed numerous partnerships with local community agencies and organizations and was extremely instrumental in obtaining funding



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for several of the Authority’s mentoring programs and activities. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS • Applicant must be a high school senior. Residents of the Niagara Falls Housing Authority will receive preferred status in the process. • Student must have at least a “C” average during his/her senior year. • School Transcript – Student must provide an original and official copy of his/her high school transcript. • Application Form – Must be completed in its entirety. • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation. One (1) from an educator (teacher, guidance counselor or principal) and one (1) from a non-family member. • Essay (250 word minimum) – Student must submit a typewritten essay on the following topic: “The importance

of community service in the development of leaders.” • Student must provide a description of extra-curricular activities, awards, community service, employment and other accomplishments. • Student must provide written evidence of acceptance at a two (2) year or four (4) year university/college or a certified trade school prior to award of scholarship. A $1,000 one-time scholarship will be awarded.

HOW TO APPLY: Applications are available at your high school guidance office, the Niagara Falls Housing Authority Administrative Offices, 744 Tenth Street, and all site rental offices. Applications must be received at the Niagara Falls Housing Authority Administrative Offices, 744 Tenth Street, on or before Friday, May 2, 2014.


Scholarships Niagara Falls Housing Authority Nathaniel Smith $1,000 Memorial Scholarship Husband, father, mentor, friend…Nathaniel Smith was all of these and more. He was the former Deputy Director of the Niagara Falls International Convention and Civic Center and Personnel Manager for the Carborundum Company. Nate was actively involved in the community. His affiliations included: the American Red Cross, Niagara County Community Center and Girl’s Club, Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, United Way of Niagara, Cerebral Palsy Association, Kiwanis Club, Planned Parenthood and the National Conference for Christians and Jews. He received numerous humanitarian service awards. Nate was a warm, sensitive and caring individual who touched the lives of many people. Because he was a positive role model in the Niagara Falls community and an advocate of education, it is very befitting to honor his memory with a scholarship fund. Nate fought a long, courageous battle against multiple sclerosis. Even in sickness he was an inspiration to all who came in contact with him. He was very determined to live each day to the fullest and to be all that he could possibly be.

When special people touch our lives, they teach us how to live. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS • Competition is open to all high school seniors or high school graduates who are not already attending a college, university or certified trade school and who meet all of the eligibility requirements. Student must be a resident of the City of Niagara Falls. • Student must have maintained at least a 2.5 grade point average (C+) during junior or senior years to be considered for the scholarship for must show a sustained marked improvement over their junior year grades. • Applications must include the student’s transcript, which reflects all of his/her junior year through the most recent marking period of the senior year. Complete senior year transcripts may be requested of scholarship finalists prior to award of scholarship. • Two (2) letters of recommendation. One (1) must be from an educator. • A 250-500 word essay explaining how the candidate would use a college degree to enhance the quality of life in his/her

community and explain his/her life’s goals and objectives. • Student must provide written evidence of acceptance at a two (2) or four (4) year college/ university or a certified trade school prior to award of scholarship. • Student’s family income must exhibit a financial need. All applicants must submit a copy of the Student Aid Report, which is received from the U.S. Department of Education after submitting the application for Federal Student Aid (FAF). HOW TO APPLY: Applications are available at your High School Guidance Office, the Niagara Falls Housing Authority Administrative Offices, 744 Tenth Street, and all Housing Authority site rental offices. Applications must be received at the Niagara Falls Housing Authority Administrative Offices, 744 Tenth Street, on or before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 2, 2014.

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Scholarships PHADA 2014 Scholarship Program Scholarships for high school seniors in public or assisted housing


n order to encourage academic excellence and community responsibility among high school students, the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association (PHADA) has implemented a scholarship program for graduating seniors who are preparing to enter college. PHADA will award three (3) scholarships to deserving youth currently residing in public or assisted housing. Stephen J. Bollinger Memorial Scholarship (one $7,000 scholarship will be awarded) Steve Bollinger (April 11, 1948 – June 18, 1984) was a taskmaster to himself, a human dynamo to those who knew him. He was a natural leader, a person who could rally people around him with wit, satire, and vocal exercises. Steve’s knowledge of and dedication to housing those in need was never absent, especially after he was appointed Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development at HUD. His experience at the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority and the associations he had with colleagues, mayors, and others, afforded him the opportunity to deal with the bureaucracy in a style that we strive to attain. To



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the members of PHADA, he was a friend. His belief in the housing profession motivated him to become a founding member of PHADA, for which he served as Vice President. He accomplished much in a short time and we are all thankful for his achievements. PHADA created this scholarship to memorialize his legacy. HD Supply Facilities Maintenance Scholarships (one $5,000 scholarship will be awarded) HD Supply Facilities Maintenance, the leading supplier of maintenance repair and replacement products to owners and managers of multifamily, lodging and commercial properties has offered significant financial support to PHADA’s scholarship program. HD Supply Facilities Maintenance has elected to reward one deserving youth with a $5,000 scholarship. PHADA appreciates their commitment to serving the needs of public housing residents and the community. Freedom & Civil Rights Scholarship (one $5,000 scholarship will be awarded) In 2005, PHADA’s Board of Trustees met in Montgomery, Alabama for a Trustee Retreat. As part of

a tour of historical downtown Montgomery, trustees visited the Rosa Parks Museum and the Civil Rights Memorial Center. Many PHADA trustees were so touched and inspired by these two historical sites that they chose to give personal donations for the inception of a PHADA scholarship to honor the work of Rosa Parks and the achievements of the civil rights movement. PHADA’s Annual Commissioners Conference Golf Outing was established in 2007 to provide continuous funding to the Freedom Scholarship.

HOW TO APPLY: Applications can be obtained by visiting PHADA’s website at On the homepage, click the “PHADA SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION” link to fill out the online application form. For more information, please contact Kelly Mariano, Tenant Services Coordinator, at (716) 285-6961. DEADLINE: Applications are due to PHADA by Friday, January 31, 2014. No faxes will be accepted.


What’s on Your Dream Wish List?


ell, another year is beginning. For many it is a chance to once again push the “restart” button–another opportunity to put our life plans in action. This is where the traditional New Year’s resolution list comes into play. However, the resolution list initially written with so much energy and enthusiasm within 6 months becomes a depressing and stressful reminder of our failures.

• • • • • • •

So, this year let us adopt a new approach. Begin with your lifelong Dream/Wish List, a list where you can add to or delete items at anytime–you are in control!

Hopefully you are inspired to begin your list. Remember the Dream List is just the beginning. Just visualize the possibilities and then write an Action list. This is the list of steps you will take to make your dreams a reality.

The Dream/Wish List is inspired by the term,“Bucket List”. In the award winning movie, “The Bucket List”, actors Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson referred to the list of things they wanted to do before they died (in other words before they kicked the bucket) as their “Bucket List”. Although this term may at first appear a little depressing, it really is about living.

Believe it Can Happen! While reviewing your list consider the inspirational lyrics of the song “When You Believe” (1998), sang so beautifully by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. There can be miracles, when you believe. Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill. Who knows what miracles you can achieve? When you believe, somehow you will. You will when you believe.

We reached out to Niagara Falls Housing Authority residents to ask them to share a few items from their Dream/Wish List. Here are a few examples of some dreams and wishes. Packard Court resident Faron Travis’ list includes: • Becoming a licensed clinical social worker – LCSW –R • Opening her own practice • Getting married and having a family of her own

Doing missions work in Africa Patenting a successful line of products Taking her niece and Godson on a cruise Start a scholarship fund Curing her allergies Learning to speak a second language fluently Changing the world!

We wish our readers and residents success with all of your dreams and goals.

A Few Spallino Towers residents Wish Lists I would like…. ...“An old fashioned dance with a band playing music from the 40s and 50s.” David Lucas ...“Go to Mardi Gras.” Joyce Blanchard ...“Win the lottery so I can help my family.” Rafael Perez ...“To know that all my children are happy.” John Amato

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Go Red for Women Eleventh Annual National Wear Red Day

February 7, 2014


ational Wear Red Day is a massive public awareness day urging everyone – women, men, businesses, community organizations, towns and schools to “Go Red” to bring attention to the number one killer of American women – Heart Disease! Women’s heart disease causes more deaths than all forms of cancer combined. On Friday, February 7, 2014 wear something red and show your support for this national movement helping raise awareness and empowering women to reduce their risk of heart disease. Knowledge is empowerment. Heart disease and stroke are largely preventable if you work to lower your risks. It’s important to know there are a range of factors that can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of developing heart disease and having a heart attack or stroke.

Niagara Falls Housing Authority staff will be wearing red on that day… Please join us by doing the same! Risk Factors You Can Control or Treat These risk factors can be controlled or treated with help from your healthcare professional. You can modify others by changing your lifestyle. • • • • •

Cholesterol Blood Pressure Smoking Physical Activity Obesity

• • • •

Diabetes Stress Birth Control Pills Alcohol & Illegal Drugs

Risk Factors You Cannot Control Unfortunately, there are a number of factors such as age, family history and race that you cannot control. That is why it is so important to understand all of your risk factors, and to discuss them with your healthcare professional and address the risk factors that you can control or treat. • • • •

Age Gender Heredity and Race Stroke

It only takes a few minutes to assess your cardiovascular health risk factors. You can learn your risk for heart disease by taking the on-line “Go Red Heart Checkup”. It only takes a few minutes to take and will assess your main cardiovascular health risk factors. After receiving your results, you will be rewarded with a personal action plan. It’s your customized guide to help you achieve your fitness and nutritional goals and live heart smart.



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Fast Facts on Why You Need Health Insurance Everyone deserves quality, low-cost health care. It’s an important tool for building strong lives and strong families. Here are 4 reasons why you and your family need health insurance: 1. Because you want to protect yourself and the ones you love. Sickness or injury can change your life in a moment. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to be prepared. To know you can get the right care—when you need it—without worrying about the cost. That’s the best reason for having health insurance. 2. Because you want to keep small problems small. Health insurance covers the cost when you go to the doctor. Not just when you are sick, but when you are healthy, too. Doctors can find problems when they are small, simple, and less costly to treat. Keeping small problems small is the smart way to take care of your health. 3. Because you want to live more boldly and confidently than ever before. When you have health insurance, you have peace of mind. You can face the unknowns in your future and deal with the risks that are part of everyday life. You can feel secure, knowing that you and your family are covered--no matter what. 4. Because New York State of Health has made it easy to shop. This new online marketplace has many health plans to choose from. It also offers help from people trained to walk you through the sign-up process, step by step. You can get this help online, on the phone and in person in whatever language you speak. And, for the first time ever, many New Yorkers will have help paying for a health plan.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Online: By phone: 1-855-355-5777 In Person: Call (716) 278-4264 to make an appointment.

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Getting Healthy in 2014: Make it a Family Affair Holidays are times in which many look forward to gatherings with family and friends. These gatherings provide a perfect opportunity to not only enjoy delicious meals and have fun, but to discuss your family tree and medical history.

For instance, have you ever wondered what disease caused a relative’s death and whether the disease runs in your family? Take notice of your family member’s weight and waist sizes. Is obesity a health concern? Is Obesity Your Family’s Common Link? The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) distinguishes between people being overweight and obese. However, according to the CDC, overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the “body mass index” (BMI). The BMI is a number doctors use to describe how healthy your weight is. According to the CDC: An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. Recent research indicates that more than one-third

of U.S. adults (over 72 million people) and 17% of U.S. children are obese. The alarming concern is that obesity is a common and dangerous link to major chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, high cholesterol, kidney disease, diabetes (Type 2) and cancer. Family Care physicians and specialists in our region are witnessing the devastating effects of the obesity epidemic among their adult and teenage patients. The Solution: Make it a Family Affair The encouraging news is that chronic diseases are preventable. Although we are born with certain family genes, we still have the power to change behaviors t affecting our health, such as smoking, lack of exercise and poor eating habits. To fight the bulging waistline and obesity, people are encouraged to plan healthy meals, snacks and drinks and to start an exercise plan. Family gatherings are a perfect place to start the conversation and to create a healthy action plan. Make a pledge this year to make an appointment with your family doctor and to add exercise as a weekly goal. An adult BMI chart has been provided on the next page for your reference.

Calculate your BMI online: visit bmi/index.html. It may be a good idea to speak with your health care provider if you have a BMI over 25 or if you have any concerns about your weight.



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HEIGHT (ft/in)

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Body Mass Index WEIGHT (lbs)

2013 Auction: “It Takes A Village” A Community Success Auction Benefits Youth Programs


ore than 200 beautifully decorated baskets filled the gymnasium at the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building on November 2, 2013 as the Niagara Falls Housing Authority held a basket auction to raise funds for its many youth programming initiatives. “The generosity and support from the community was overwhelming,” said Annie Fields-Chapman, General Manager of the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building. “This funding will definitely make a difference in the lives of the children we serve.”

“The generosity and support from the community was overwhelming.” 21


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A Big Thank You… to the NFHA staff for organizing and hosting another fun and empowering event! to all who made generous donations of raffle items to our attendees.

“This funding will definitely make a difference in the lives of the children we serve.” Niagara carrier JAN 2014





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Basics of Budgeting Patricia L. Barone

• If you get paid once per week, multiply your net weekly check by four • If paid bi-weekly, multiply your net bi-weekly check by two

The key to a successful financial future is living within your budget. In order to live within a budget, you must first prepare a budget. A good budget has three basic building blocks: 1. The money you make. 2. The money your spend. 3. The money you save. The value of a budget is that it lets you spot potential money issues and correct these issues before they become problematic and overwhelming.

4. Figure out how much money you have available to you each month. • Take your net amount (after taxes)

5. Then, figure out what your monthly expenses are. Write down a category for each expense (such as utilities, groceries, daycare, etc.) 6. Last but not least – savings. This may sound like a luxury, but it is a necessity.

Stay updated on what’s happening in our community

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I am Retiring! A Legacy of Hard Work and Making a Difference W. L e e W h i t a k e r


am really retiring! Those are happy words, yet hard words to digest. As you read this, I will have officially retired effective December 31, 2013 and I’m beaming with joy. What a blessing! As more and more of my friends, colleagues, relatives, well wishers, as well as those who welcome my departure (a little humor) learn of my retirement, I am often given the advice that I cannot retire without a plan. The reason they share this advice is because they know I enjoy keeping busy and active. Well, my plan is to NOT have a plan. I have worked for 60 of my 66 years, beginning as a child working on my late father’s farm where my duties ranged from working the soil for the successful growth of cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans, ribbon and sugar cane, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, pecans, peaches, pears, grapes, in addition to taking care of the various fowl and animals and helping my mother prepare meals for the farm workers. After my high school graduation I worked at the Fruit of the Loom shirt factory before heading off to college.   Upon arriving in Niagara Falls, I was employed by the local Air Force Recruiting Office followed by years of employment with Bell Aerospace.



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Continue my community work with Niagara Falls Chapter of The Links Inc. I “plan” to spend more time with my beloved husband Eugene and hope that we do not get in each other’s way.

My employment came to end at Bell Aerospace due to a staff lay-off which led me to a position with the Niagara Falls Housing Authority (NFHA). However, after working a number of years at NFHA, I had the opportunity to expand my professional skills by working for Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and in the construction industry for 10 years. My employment journey finally led me back to the Niagara Falls Housing Authority where I remained for 30.2 years. What do I “plan” to do with all the free time? Well let me see… I “plan” to spend more time volunteering at my church where I have served as Church clerk and secretary for over 32 years; in addition I will continue to serve in the following capacities: trustee, deaconess ministry, president/ co-choir director, the Kitchen (hospitality) ministry, mission’s ministry, Wednesday night prayer/ bible study and the Sunday School.

Well, there is the cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, butting into my 4 grown daughters’ business, keeping up with our tractor-trailer driving son, being a good grandmother and godmother, keeping up with my siblings because I am the “matriarch”(which means I am the older and wiser one). Relax and enjoy girl talk and sharing stories and interesting updates with my friends. Participating in Board activities on the several Boards that I serve on in addition to continuing local community activities. I also “plan” to set aside time to think before I forget to remember what to think about!   On reflection, I have had 30 wonderful years as an employee of the Niagara Falls Housing Authority (well actually, more than a few years were sometimes a little bumpy). Believe it or not, the


employees are the most dedicated, hard working group of individuals to work with. I have gained a wealth of knowledge by being able to attend conferences, workshops, training programs, meeting housing constituents from across the nation. Proud of the NFHA’s Accomplishments and Life Long Lessons We have suffered through economic hardships, constant rule and regulation changes that were mandated but not funded, we have had to “do more with less” but still continue to produce stellar products and services. I must give kudos to Executive Director Stephanie W. Cowart who is one of the most astute business persons in this country. I will always remember working with Mrs. Patricia Barone, my immediate supervisor, who gently chastised me one day after I complained of being docked by payroll for being late by stating, “Well, Lee if you just leave home a little earlier, you wouldn’t get docked”. Recognizing the wisdom in her statement, I shut my mouth and stopped complaining. To the NFHA Family I will miss each and every one of my co-workers immensely (Allison Moore, Annie Fields-Chapman, Janine Guy, Nicole Bass, Yolanda Walker, Eric Fields, Ken, George the funnyman delValle, John Mickiewicz, Sam Pulliam, Steve Haefner, Lisa Robbins, Karen Whitmire, Evelyn Buffone and George Dreer in Accounting, Markeeta Payne, Geraldine Sankey, Renee Lane, Kevin Janik, Mark

Johnston, Doug Hamilton, Greg McClinton). While at work, close friendships and relationships are formed. You share in the joys and sorrows of your co-workers, share recipes, children’s graduations, honors you learn how to form and maintain a spirit of cooperation, boost self-esteem, apologize, energize, congratulate and share in defeats. It is a family affair. A special “THANK YOU” to Ragini Jain, Pat Cali, Rozanne Muto and Kelly Mariano who put up with me and worked hard to make the Occupancy Department a great department and who often “had my back” when it came to a belligerent or obnoxious applicant. I also must thank Kelly Mariano for her positive attitude; she never wanted to hear anything negative. Nancy Haley who got those apartments ready! The Managers, Angela Smith, Marcia Massaro, Ida Seright and Margaret Smith – thank you. Maria Vitello – I am done with Vacancy Reports!   I will miss being one-third of the “oreo” cookie gang (you know who you are).   Oh yeah, I will miss getting up on freezing cold mornings, scraping ice from my car windows, heating it up, slip and sliding to work, trying to beat the clock. (OK, who believes this part?).

I WILL miss the many, many viewers who often stop me to tell me they watch and enjoy our show. Thank you OSC 21 for making my buddy Angela Smith and I, familiar faces from Niagara Falls, New York to Lockport, New York. To our Residents The majority of you have passed through the Occupancy Department in some form or other and I am happy to have been able to assist you in finding the best housing in the City of Niagara Falls. I can truthfully say that you are the best residents and I thank you for that–but please remember to keep paying the rent!   I will truly miss the future endeavors the Housing Authority will find itself immersed in, whether it is the launch of new programming, opening of a new building or major renovations. During my tenure, I have been involved in so many projects that it will be hard to not miss the excitement and participation. However, to everything there is a season and that season of my life is behind me, I must press toward the mark of a fulfilled life that has had its season of work, parent-hood that consist of seeing all of my girls get a college education, the growth and development of the grandkids and now the season of enjoying quality time with Gene and relaxation.

I will not miss walking across the cold parking lot at NFHS to tape our TV show “People and Possibilities” (maybe I will start a shuttle from the parking lot to the school). However,

That’s my “Plan” Wish me luck and I invite you to come party with me on Friday, January 31st.

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Beloved Community

Modernization and Maintenance Updates N a n c y H a l e y, D i r e c t o r o f M a i n t e n a n c e a n d M o d e r n i z a t i o n On behalf of the Niagara Falls Housing Authority Maintenance and Modernization staff we wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and look forward to serving you, our residents in 2014! Â WINTER MAINTENANCE Winter is now upon us and our Maintenance staff strives to keep our streets and main walks clear from snow and ice. Please remember that if you reside in one of our family communities it is your responsibility to clear the snow from the main, front walk to your door. If this walk is not cleared, your mail may not be delivered. We urge you to do your part to assist us during



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this time. Remember to be patient and understanding during these cold months and again do your part to assist with the snow removal and keeping your sidewalks clear. During a snowfall, the maintenance crew must complete their regular daily maintenance so we request you do not call the work order line to request snow removal or a snow

removal update. Â It is important during very cold weather to keep the water running in your faucets to prevent your pipes from freezing. Also, make sure you secure personal items that cannot be stored inside so they do not blow around the development possibly creating damage to our buildings.

Very important!! Work order line: 284-WORK(9675) Notify the maintenance office before 4:30 p.m. if you have

A WORD FROM OUR STAFF problems during the day to ensure a more timely response.   AFTER HOUR EMERGENCIES Should you have an emergency after 4:30 p.m., you should call our emergency answering service at 285-6961; they will ask you your name, address, phone number and the nature of your emergency. This information is immediately turned over to an NFHA emergency on call staff member. You will receive a call back to the number you provided in a timely manner. The on-call staff member will assess your call and advise you as to whether someone will be dispatched immediately or if maintenance service will be provided on the next working day. Understand that the on call staff member WILL NOT send anyone out without first talking to the resident. You must be present to grant the maintenance staff access to your home. Should you lock yourself out of your apartment, be prepared to show identification listing both your name and address.   EVERYONE WANTS TO BE FIRST Please take a moment to applaud your maintenance staff. They are committed and work very hard to service everyone within the NFHA community. Every call is important, we will do our very best to handle all calls in a timely manner. Understand that work orders are completed based on their priority level. Emergencies are handled immediately. Although we strive to complete each and every request some items such as light bulbs out, trimming bushes around your homes and moving furniture to the dumpster may take time. Remember to be patient and

respectful to all NFHA staff. Lastly, when your work orders are taken by the work order attendant, we will ask you if it is “ok to enter” should you not be home. If you prefer to be home to grant us access and we should miss you or you do not hear us knock – we may not get back to complete that work on that same day, causing us to make a return visit at a later date. Again, I would ask that you give your maintenance staff a note of appreciation for all their hard work.  

IMPORTANT! CALL IMMEDIATELY FOR ALL ITEMS IN YOUR HOME THAT ARE IN NEED OF REPAIR. We greatly appreciate all work orders to be called into our work order line at 284-WORK (9675). EMERGENCY SERVICES Should you have a need for emergency services after 4:30 pm, you are required to call our emergency answering service at (716) 285-6961.

PACKARD COURT Should you require assistance or directions with your programmable thermostats – please contact the work order line. Written instructions for the thermostats can be sent to you if you request them. PACKARD COURT EXTERIOR RENOVATIONS Report any and all problems with your windows, doors, siding, etc. by calling the work order line to

make sure that your need for repair is documented. Some of the buildings are experiencing loose stones, report these occurrences to us as soon as you are aware. Not all work is deemed contractor related premature damage found to be caused by mistreatment will be repaired by our maintenance staff and the resident of record will be charged accordingly. AIR CONDITIONER REMOVAL All air conditioners should be removed from your windows (and stored with your platform) until next Spring. We suggest, you write a reminder on your April 2014 calendar to have your name placed on the installation list. All billing questions are to be directed to your Site Manager and not to the work order line.   2013 REAC and UPCS INSPECTIONS – THANK YOU RESIDENTS! The NFHA conducts annual UPCS inspections as mandated by HUD. Most, if not all, of the UPCS Inspections at Wrobel Towers and Jordan Gardens have been completed.   The HUD REAC inspections scheduled for November 12-15, 2013 are now completed. My sincere appreciation to the residents of the Beloved Community – Phase I Homes, residents of Spallino Towers and Packard Court, for your patience and understanding and for allowing access to the community and NFHA staff, and the HUD Inspector into your homes. The actual apartments entered and inspected were randomly selected by computer on the day Niagara carrier JAN 2014




of the inspection. There were 66 dwelling unit inspections over a three-day period along with all common areas, maintenance shops, community buildings and exterior grounds. 2014 CAPITAL FUND It was my pleasure to attend your resident chats in the past month. Thank you for welcoming me and for providing me with the opportunity to update you on the upcoming submission of the NFHA’s Annual Plan, 2014 Capital Fund Budget and Five Year Action Plan. I will include all of your

comments and requests for future improvements mentioned at these meetings. It is never too late to submit your request. Please contact me at the Administrative Offices at 285-6961. RESIDENTS OF JORDAN GARDENS With weather permitting, the Roof Replacement work is underway. The urgency of repairs needed determined which buildings were placed on the top of the list when the schedule/order was completed. We are hoping for a mild winter, which will allow this project to

progress. Each building will receive a resident notice prior to any work. ONCE YOU HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED, PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR BELONGINGS AND STORE THEM SO THE WORK CAN PROGRESS WITHOUT DELAY. PLEASE EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION WHILE THIS WORK IS TAKING PLACE. DO NOT ENTER THE WORK AREA AT ANY TIME. I am here to serve you and welcome your input. Again, all the very best in 2014!  

WE’RE HERE FOR YOU Special Transportation for Persons with Disabilities The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) has curb to curb, lift equipped van service called Paratransit Access Line (PAL) for persons with disabilities who qualify. THINGS TO KNOW • To qualify for PAL you must be unable to: board, ride or disembark from a Metro Bus or Rail vehicle, or travel to and from a bus stop. • Eligibility is determined by completing an application and obtaining certification through a qualified health care professional. • A list of qualified health care professionals are listed on the application.



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• After qualifying, trips may be scheduled up to 14 days in advance by calling the PAL reservation line.

For further information or to obtain an application call PAL at 855-7268 (voice) or 855-7337 (TDD), or call Steve (285-7812) or Sam (286-9248) in Senior Services.


Happy New Year!

Good things can happen. It’s all about the attitude. Angela L. Smith, Senior Housing Manager

Are you a complainer or a changer?


ast year, I, like many others, experienced a lot of highs and lows in my life. There were some good days and some bad days, but the good truly outweighed the bad….so I won’t complain! Are you a complainer or a changer? Many people are complainers… they do not have anything positive or uplifting to say and find fault in almost everything. They are never happy, quibble and grumble all the time. These are people you want to keep at a distance – they only want you to attend their party – a pity party!   Changers are people who make a difference. They have vision and the ability to indirectly or directly cause change, are people you want to be around and have spirits that are contagious. You feel so much better once you have been in their presence; they speak positively and are always looking for ways to improve themselves.   Evaluate yourself to see if you are a complainer or a changer.  

an active change agent. There are also 5 things that you can do instead of complaining:

Answer true or false to the following: • I constantly seek to improve my work habits. • I encourage others to look for ways to improve their performance. • I am comfortable with who I am and understand that to be different from what I do. • I know that how I was taught to think is not necessarily the best approach to knowledge gathering. • I understand that how I relate to and think about work, relationships, money, accomplishments, failures, etc., is part of my mindset and can be changed. • I take action to create better outcomes. • I work on developing my selfawareness to become more effective. • I choose creativity over uninspired thought, always. • I envision a future that includes efficient and effective processes everywhere. • Most people would say that I am

1. Practice Gratitude: Count your blessings every day. If you focus on gratitude, you can’t focus on the negative. 2. Praise Others: Instead of complaining about what others are doing wrong, start focusing on what they do right. 3. Focus on Success: Start a success journal and each night before you go to bed, write down the one great thing about your day. 4. Let go: Focus on the things you have the power to change and let go of the things that are beyond your control. 5. Pray and Mediate: Doing this daily reduces stress, boosts positive energy and promotes good health. Source: We all have areas in our lives that need self-evaluation and require change. We owe it to ourselves and the people we are surrounded by, to do the work. I challenge you this year to focus on yourself and do the work… the good will truly outweigh the bad and you won’t have room to complain.

God’s peace and good journey for a prosperous and successful 2014! Niagara carrier JAN 2014




New Year. New Start. Organization Will Help. As the New Year begins, take just a little time to get yourself organized. It will save a lot of time down the road. S t e v e H a e f n e r, S e n i o r S e r v i c e s C o o r d i n a t o r


ne of the easiest ways to do this is to get some sort of file system for your paperwork. Office supply stores, discount department stores, and even corner drug stores sell small file boxes and pleated file folders. FILE IT! • Keep a folder or pocket for each category of paperwork and label them as such. You may have a section labeled for current bills. This should hold all bills that need to be paid. Use the other pockets to keep paid telephone, medical, and cable bills you have already paid. • Keep a separate pocket for letters from social security or SSI. If you have Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP) or other benefits, keep all paperwork for these in separate files. When it comes time to re-apply, or if you have a question, you will have all the information, such as the name and telephone number of your worker, handy. • As you acquire medical receipts over the year, put them all in one pocket labeled medical receipts. When it comes time to retrieve them for your annual re-exam



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they will already be in one convenient place. • When you get your mail, try to keep in mind the adage of “touch it once.” This means, if it needs to be filed, place it immediately in the appropriate pocket. If it is a bill to be paid, place it in

the to be paid pocket and after paying it, write down on the bill when you paid it, what the check number was that you used to pay it and place it immediately in the pocket where it belongs. • If you prefer, you could use a small file box with separate folders instead of an accordion pleaded folder. The system works just the same. Keeping your papers straight now will save you a lot of time when you need to re-apply for services, refer to a bill you believe you have already paid, or prepare for your annual re-exam.

GET HELP If you need assistance organizing a file system that will work for you, or need help locating a file box or folder system, contact Steve (285-7812) or Sam (286-9248) in Senior Services.


Older Americans Empower Themselves You Have the Power. M . Anne Smith, Ma n a g e r, An t h o n y S p a l l i n o To we r s

The elderly are the fastest growing segment of our society and they are also an important part of our country’s economy. Because of the growing senior population, they are uniquely vulnerable to a broad range of exploitation and abuse. Financial crimes in particular impend upon seniors with alarming frequency, and are often successful. Millions of older adults fall prey to financial scams every year. Use these tips from the National Council of Aging to protect yourself or an older adult you know.   TOP 8 WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SCAMS   1. Be aware that you are at risk from strangers— and from those closest to you. Over 90% of all reported elder abuse is committed by the older person’s own family members, most often their adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others. Common tactics include depleting a joint checking account, promising but not delivering care in exchange for money or property, outright theft, and other forms of abuse, including physical abuse, threats, intimidation, and neglect of basic care needs. Everyone is at risk of financial abuse, even people without high incomes or assets. 2. Don’t isolate yourself—stay involved! Isolation is a huge risk factor for elder abuse. Most family violence only occurs behind closed doors, and elder

abuse is no exception. Some older people selfisolate by withdrawing from the larger community. Others are isolated because they lose the ability to drive, see, or walk about on their own. Some seniors fear being victimized by purse snatchings and muggings if they venture out. 3. Always tell solicitors: “I never buy from (or give to) anyone who calls or visits me unannounced. Send me something in writing.” Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company and always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. Neighborhood children you know who are selling Girl Scout cookies or school fundraising items may be an exception, but a good rule of thumb is to never donate if it requires you to write your credit card information on any forms. It’s also good practice to obtain a salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business. And always take your time in making a decision. 4. Shred all receipts with your credit card number. Identity theft is a huge business. To protect yourself, invest in and use a paper shredder. Monitor your bank and credit card statements and never give out personal information over the phone to someone who initiates the contact with you. 5. Sign up for the “Do Not Call” list and take yourself off multiple mailing lists. Visit www. to stop telemarketers from contacting you. Be careful with your mail. Do not let incoming

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A WORD FROM OUR STAFF mail sit in your mailbox for a long time. When sending out sensitive mail, consider dropping it off at a secure collection box or directly at the post office. You also can regularly monitor your credit ratings and check on any unusual or incorrect information at To get more tips on protecting yourself from fraud, visit www., which has interactive games to help you be a smarter consumer on issues of related to spyware, lottery scams, and other swindles. 6. Use direct deposit for benefit checks to prevent checks from being stolen from the mailbox. Using direct deposit ensures that checks go right into your accounts and are protected. Clever scammers or even scrupulous loved ones have been known to steal benefits checks right out of mailboxes or from seniors’ homes if they are laying around. 7. Never give your credit card, banking, Social Security, Medicare, or other personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call. Misuse of Medicare dollars is one of the largest scams involving seniors. Common schemes include billing for services never delivered and selling unneeded devices or services to beneficiaries. Protect your Medicare number as you do your credit card, banking, and Social Security numbers and do not allow anyone else to use it. Be wary of salespeople trying to sell you something they claim will be paid for by Medicare. 8. Be skeptical of all unsolicited offers and thoroughly do your research. Be an informed consumer. Take the time to call and shop around before making a purchase. Take a friend with you who may offer some perspective to help you make difficult decisions. Also, carefully read all contracts and purchasing agreements before signing and make certain that all of your requirements have been put in writing. Understand all contract cancellation and refund terms. As a general rule governing all of your interactions as a consumer, do not allow yourself to be pressured into making purchases, signing contracts, or committing funds. These decisions are yours and yours alone.



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STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU’RE A VICTIM If you think you’ve been scammed, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about it—waiting could only make it worse. Immediately call your bank and/or Credit Card Company. Cancel any debit or credit cards linked to the stolen account. Reset your personal identification number(s). ADVICE TO CARE GIVERS Protect Your Loved Ones: Signs to Look For If you know or care for an older adult, here are some additional warning signs that may indicate they are the victim of financial abuse: • There are unusual recent changes in the person’s accounts, including atypical withdrawals, new person(s) added, or sudden use of a senior’s ATM or credit card. • The senior suddenly appears confused, unkempt, and afraid. • Utility, rent, mortgage, medical, or other essential bills are unpaid despite adequate income. • A caregiver will not allow others access to the senior.      

Adult Protect Services (APS) Every state operates an Adult Protect Services (APS) program, which is responsible for receiving and investigating reports of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, and in most states, the abuse of younger adults with severe disabilities. APS is the “911” for elder abuse. Anyone who suspects elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation should make a report. The reporter’s identity is protected. APS services are confidential, so the reporter may not be able to learn the outcome of the case. APS respects the right of older persons to make their own decisions and to live their lives on their own terms. In cases of cognitive impairment, however, APS will take steps to protect the older person to the degree possible.


Happenings at Wrobel Towers

Residents Taking the Lead Wrobel Towers Resident Organization Marcia E. Massaro, Manager


he Wrobel Towers Resident Organization has been very busy over the past year. The “Resident Store” is open on the first floor and sells everything from candy bars to laundry soap. In addition to the store, each Tuesday evening a hot dog and hamburger sale is held. For a small donation, you can purchase a hot dog or hamburger with fries, chips or onion rings and a drink. During the summer months the grill is moved outside and the menu expands to include sausage with peppers and onions…delicious! The resident store and Tuesday evening gatherings have been very popular with the residents and have raised funds for other resident activities. For instance, in July, a bus trip to Vidler’s in East Aurora was held. Residents spent the day shopping on Main Street and then all gathered for lunch before heading back home. Other bus trips have included a trip to the Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Irving, NY.

All residents are eligible to join the Wrobel Towers Resident Organization. The annual dues are nominal. Kudos to the Wrobel Towers Resident Organization for a job well done! River Rapids Block Club The River Rapids Block Club has also been very busy. Each month a meeting is held and they usually host a guest speaker. Anyone may attend the block club meetings. The block club has been working with management to get the lights working again in the city owned parking lot. Some of the members appeared at the Niagara Falls City Council meeting on September 30, 2013, where a few of the members

addressed the City Council about the status of the parking lot off Niagara Avenue. WIVB News did a story on the non-functioning lights. For several years the lights in the city parking lot have not worked. Our hope was to draw attention to the dire need for proper lighting on this lot ensuring the safety of all who use it. At the time of this writing the lights were not repaired and hopefully there will be lights soon. Niagara Nutrition Program There are many programs, activities and services available at Wrobel Towers for all of our residents. One of the better programs is the Niagara County Nutrition program. Lunch can be purchased Monday through Friday at Wrobel Towers for a $3.00 donation. A full meal including: a main course, dessert, milk and coffee is served. All residents are eligible to participate. Please see Cecelia in the first floor kitchen for more information and menus. You must sign up by noon a day in advance. Everyone is welcome. Hope to see you at lunch!

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Happy New Year to all residents of Packard Court!

A Few New Year Thoughts Time to Reflect and Move Forward Ida P. Se right, M a n a g e r, P a ck a r d C o u r t C o m m u n i t y


nother year has flown by, where did the time go? I trust that everyone had a beautiful and enjoyable holiday season. Now is the time to start thinking about what you plan to do or accomplish during the coming year. Whether it is to save more and spend less or lose those extra ten pounds you have packed on during the holidays, start the year off by making a plan. Commit and don’t quit. Even the greatest of athletes and strategic planners in the world fail badly and sometimes publicly, but those who are great do not let failure define them or stop them. Let’s all look to the New Year with great anticipation and expectation. Set plans and goals, plan ahead to avoid or minimize setbacks, get back up and keep going when things do not go as planned. With a well designed plan and daily action, you can achieve any goal you set out to accomplish. Achieving your goals, whether big or small, does not require brilliance, but it does require determination, tenacity and most of all, a realistic plan of action. If you must take baby steps, go ahead. Visualize Success Take a moment to envision yourself reaching a set goal; you will then be motivated to press on to accomplish it



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with positive momentum. What do you want to improve this year? If there is a personal area in your life upon which you would like to improve, do so. Whether it is to have a better relationship with your children, family and friends or just to make a commitment to be happier and healthier, this is the time to move forward in the spirit of renewal and reconciliation. Even if just planning to become a better resident, there are things you can plan to do this year that you did not do last year. If you failed to properly budget and found yourself paying your rent late, you can start the year off on a good note by making rent paying one of your top priorities. Get Involved in 2014 Get more involved in what goes on in the Packard Court Development. If you did not attend a resident chat last year, or if you were not involved with in the Tenant Association, plan to get involved and participate this year. If you had some ideas that you did not share, plan to do so this year. You can make a difference! Lastly, if you observed any criminal mischief, drug activity and did not report it, plan to do so this year. With everyone’s help the Packard Court community will remain a GREAT PLACE TO CALL HOME! Good luck and much success in all your endeavors for the New Year!


Starting Anew! K h a l e e l a h F. S h a r e e f , D i r e c t o r P a c k a r d C o u r t C o m m u n i t y C e n t e r


any seasons have come and gone and we are now in the midst of winter. We have made resolutions for changes in our lives, some we will keep and some we will forget. Most importantly, always remember to practice caring for yourself and for others. Most recently, as I stood in line at the grocery store, this young man standing behind me started to complain about the rain and the cold weather we were experiencing outside. I could not resist saying to him “seriously, you are complaining about the weather we are having— think about it”. Just so you know I did know the young man. Immediately what came to my mind was the devastating and deadly Typhoon Haiyan that swept through Talcoban, Philippines that killed thousands of people and leveled entire villages. We must keep all these people, those directly affected by the devastation and those that have been sent to offer aid, in our daily prayers. We must remember them long after it is no longer front page news or the leading story on our televisions and other electronic devices. Each day that we are blessed to be alive and well we must count our blessings. And yes, it is so easy to complain about what may not be perfect in our lives as opposed to

looking around and being thrilled about what is right in our lives. If we just look around, we will definitely find someone else who is experiencing challenges that will outweigh our “pity party”. This works for me as I try to put it into practice on a daily basis. When you have challenging days whether in your personal life or your professional life…and I am sure we all have them, we must reflect on the good and look for ways to embrace and sort out that which is not good. A GUIDING EXAMPLE THAT ASK US TO REFLECT and ACT KWANZAA “KWANZAA” is a time for celebration of the good, the good of life, community, culture, friendship, the bountifulness of the earth, the wonder of the universe, the elders, the young, the human person in general, our history, our struggle for liberation and ever higher levels of human life”. -Dr. Maulana Karenga KWANZAA is celebrated from December 26 through January 1.

The seven principles of Kwanzaa called the Nguzo Saba are: Umoja (Unity) to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race. Kujichagulia (SelfDetermination) to define ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) to build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) to build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together. Nia (Purpose) to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness. Kuumba (Creativity) to always do as much as you can, in the way you can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it. Imani (Faith) to believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. Interested in finding out more about this celebration? Visit the Kwanzaa website at www.

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What will YOU do with your tax refund? Evelyn Buffone, Junior Accountant

It is estimated that 85% of Americans receive a tax refund, and the average tax refund is $2,800 (, 2013). Lots of people use their tax refund as a method of saving money – if they did not have it automatically deducted from their paychecks, they would never be able to save the money. If you are one of these people, consider using that ‘extra’ money in a different way this year. Your future will thank you! Put some of your tax return money into an emergency fund. I have written about this before, but it bears repeating, when you have a large amount of money available, it is a good time to start an emergency fund. Having some money set aside in an emergency fund could be the difference between happiness and disaster. Do you carry a balance on credit cards, student loans, retirement loans, or other loans? Why not take some money from your tax return and get rid of that debt? Credit card and other debt costs you far more than the cost of the original purchase, because you pay compound interest. Compound interest is interest that is paid both on the original purchase AND on the



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Contributing to an IRA can actually increase the amount of your tax return, so you wind up getting even more money to stash for later in life.

interest of the unpaid debt – so you actually pay interest on interest! Paying off your high interest debt pays you back immediately, since you will pay less to your creditors. Spend your money on things you really need. Do you need work done on your home? Have you put off having some dental work done? How is your car running, or do you need a car? Spending your tax return on these types of expenses pays you back because you will not wind up paying more as the problem becomes bigger or worse. Remember to first spend the money on something you NEED, not something you WANT. Do not go into debt to afford life’s necessities. Use your tax refund! How is your retirement going to look? Do you have anything put aside for your ‘golden’ years?

Is there a charity that you want to contribute to, but never had the extra cash to do it? The windfall of a tax return is the perfect opportunity to do something good for someone else. What about going back to school? Even if you qualify for tuition assistance, TAP/PELL, there will always be a need for extra cash. Using your tax return to invest in YOURSELF is a step toward a better future for you and your family. Finally, if you have come this far and the other items on this list are already taken care of, take 10% of your tax return and buy yourself something nice. It is, after all, your money. You worked for it, and gave it to our government interest free for a whole year. Do not feel guilty about using the money for something nice. Just don’t get carried away by the excitement – a $500 refund is no excuse for a $3,000 vacation!

Executive Bulletin


am pleased to announce that Melissa Matsulavage has been appointment to the position of Director of Occupancy for the Niagara Falls Housing Authority effective November 12, 2014. Mrs. Matsulavage comes to the Housing Authority with over 22 years of experience in housing management, tax credit and Section 8 programs.

Mrs. Matsulavage worked for the Niagara Falls Housing Authority for 12 years as a typist, account clerk and occupancy assistant. She went on to work for CohenEsrey Real Estate Services where she was employed as Property Manager for the Woods at Blairville housing development in Lewiston, New York. Mrs. Matsulavage also served as the company’s Section 42 Compliance trainer for housing properties in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky. Please join me in welcoming Melissa to the Niagara Falls Housing Authority team!

Lucille’s Cookbook ORDER YOUR COPY OF LUCILLE’S COOKBOOK Over 300 recipes (172 pages) for only $16.20. Order your copy here:

What is Lucille’s Cookbook? I am excited to announce that with the GREAT help of the wonderful publisher, Leigh Porter, YOU have the opportunity to own this cookbook! Your family will thank you, and you will probably gain 10 pounds the first month after purchasing it! You will find commentary from Lucille’s children (Deidre, Carla, Tina, Gwen, Terry, Steven, and Anthony) and favorite recipes. You will also find the recipe to the best cheesecake we ALL have ever tasted!

grandmother, Lucille Reid-Averhart, died a little over a year ago (May 9, 2012). She was always cooking, and lets not forget that Kool-aid ALWAYS tasted better at her house, LOL! After celebrating her life with family, my mother brought home a bag containing binders (about 6 of them). Inside of those binders were notebooks filled with my grandmother’s recipes, all handwritten by her! Listen—she was NOT playing—because she even had a table of contents in the front!

The first recipe I made was a cream cheese pound cake, and I had NEVER made a cake from scratch before! The funny thing is, every time someone tastes it, I ALWAYS hear them say that it’s some of the best pound cake they have ever tasted! Anybody from home (Niagara Falls) knows that my grandmother was one of the best cooks around. She was always in the kitchen cooking for EVERYONE! My mother had the idea to publish the recipes, so even after my grandmother’s death, we can enjoy these meals.

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Avoid the #1 Money Mistake. Create a Budget. Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Niagara will Hold Workshops for Residents As the New Year begins, residents of the Niagara Falls Housing Authority are encouraged to start fresh by establishing a budget and by reviewing their finances with a certified credit counselor. Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) has set up an office at 1522 Main Street, in the Family and Children’s Services’ Niagara Family Center--a one stop of human service providers. Free counseling is available, and all are welcome to schedule appointments by calling 712-2062. CCCS expects to start holding workshops in conjunction with the Niagara Falls Housing Authority This past Fall, CCCS established the Niagara County Financial

Literacy Coalition (NCFLC) to provide opportunities for financial education and awareness. Here is the array of services that CCCS and the NCFLC now offer: • Financial Coaching (One on One): Participants will meet with certified financial counselors for sessions on a quarterly basis. • Financial Literacy: ClassesDollars & Sense; Credit Counts and Money in Motion • Access to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Collaboration and synergistic partnerships play a key a role in the project. CCCS is counting on community engagement with partners in building the Coalition, and has received an overwhelmingly positive response from many local agencies. CCCS will use partners’ offices to deliver financial education and counseling services as needed-or requested. Participants in our financial counseling program will be provided with referrals to other agencies with whom we collaborate. To date, CCCS has forged partnerships with the following Niagara County providers: • United Way of Greater Niagara • Family & Children’s Service of Niagara • The American Red Cross • Literacy Volunteers • NiaCap (Niagara Community Action Program) • YWCA of Niagara • Niagara Falls Housing Authority • City of Niagara Falls Department of Community Development • Worksource One • Niagara University • Soul for Heart, Love and Soul

Free counseling is available, and all are welcome to schedule appointments by calling 712-2062. 39


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Come and enjoy a free, fun-filled, family evening! Independent Health Foundation’s “Good for the Neighborhood” 2014 Schedule


he “Good for the Neighborhood” program features free health screenings, information on health insurance, ask the expert, free fruits and vegetables, health and wellness information, fun activities for kids, healthy cooking demonstrations and much, much, more! WHEN: All events will be held from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 pm on the following dates: March 20, May 22, August 21, and October 23, 2014.

The Niagara Falls Housing Authority teamed-up with the Independent Health Foundation in 2006 to provide the Niagara Falls community with access to health information and wellness resources. The program is FREE and helps individuals and families make better healthcare choices through a variety of wellness initiatives.

WHERE: Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building 3001 Ninth Street, Niagara Falls

Come and enjoy a fun filled family evening with games, prizes, raffles, hands-on activities and refreshments!

FREE LINE DANCING CLASSES The Niagara Falls Housing Authority is offering FREE Line-Dancing classes at the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building. WHEN: Wednesdays from 5:30 pm–7:30 pm. WHERE: Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building, 3001 Ninth Street, Niagara Falls.

All ages are welcome to participate. For more information, please call (716) 285-5374.

Please join us for a Retirement Celebration honoring W. Lee Whitaker Friday, January 31, 2014 Purple Carpet 5:30 pm; Dinner 6:15 pm Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls 101 Old Falls Street Niagara Falls, NY 14303 $40 per ticket. RSVP to Maria Vitello at (716) 285-6961 by January 15, 2014 Individual tributes welcome. Niagara carrier JAN 2014



Calendar of Events WEDNESDAYS

JAN. 31

Free line dancing lessons 5:30 pm–7:30 pm. Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building, 3001 Ninth Street, Niagara Falls.

Retirement celebration honoring W. Lee Whitaker Friday, January 31, 2014 Purple Carpet 5:30 pm; Dinner 6:15 Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls, 101 Old Falls Street $40 per ticket. RSVP by Jan. 15 to Maria Vitello at (716) 285-6961. Individual tributes welcome.

FIRST WEDNESDAY Free health events and savings for seniors Rite Aid Pharmacy

JAN. 16 A Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 6:00 p.m. Niagara Falls High School Performing Arts Center, 4455 Porter Road, Niagara Falls.

FEB. 7 Go Red for Women 11th Annual National Wear Red Day

MARCH 20 Good for the Neighborhood Program Free health screenings, information

on health insurance, ask the expert, free fruits and vegetables, health and wellness information, fun activities for kids, healthy cooking demonstrations and more! 6:00 pm–7:30 pm. Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building, 3001 Ninth Street, Niagara Falls.

MARCH 28 Let’s Talk Conference Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building, 3001 Ninth Street, Niagara Falls.

APRIL 11 Male Summit Conference Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building, 3001 Ninth Street, Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls Housing Authority 2014 Holiday Schedule Our offices will be closed on the following dates: January


1 – New Year’s 20 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday

4 – Independence Day

February 17 - President’s Day




1 – Labor Day

October 13 – Columbus Day



11 – Veterans Day 27 – Thanksgiving Day 28 – Day After Thanksgiving

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25– Christmas


18 – Good Friday

26 – Memorial Day


EMERGENCY SERVICES Should you have a need for emergency services, you are required to call our emergency answering service at (716) 285-6961.

Directory (716) 285-5374 General Manager: Annie Fields-Chapman Packard Court Community Center 4300 Pine Avenue Niagara Falls, NY 14301 (716) 278-0228 Director: Khaleelah Shareef Senior Services Program (located at Anthony Spallino Towers & Henry E. Wrobel Towers) (716) 285-7812 Coordinator: Steve Haefner NFHA SUNY ATTAIN LAB (Located in the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building) Site Supervisor: Howard Patton (716)285-5374


Executive Offices 744 Tenth Street Niagara Falls, NY 14301 (716) 285-6961 Anthony Spallino Towers 720 Tenth Street Niagara Falls, NY 14301 (716) 285-5505 Manager: Margaret Anne Smith Henry E. Wrobel Towers 800 Niagara Avenue Niagara Falls, NY 14305 (716) 284-9129 Manager: Marcia Massaro Packard Court 4200 Pine Avenue Niagara Falls, NY 14301 (716) 285-6111 Manager: Ida Seright Beloved Community 1710 Calumet Avenue Niagara Falls, NY 14305 (716) 285-8050 Manager: Kim Kuebler Harry S. Jordan Gardens 2910 Highland Avenue Niagara Falls, NY 14305 (716) 285-5381 Senior Public Housing Manager: Angela L. Smith Doris W. Jones Family Resource Bldg. 3001 Ninth Street Niagara Falls, NY 14305

For emergencies (716) 285-6961 Place a work order request (716) 284-9675 Visit our website Email us Anonymous Tip Line You can report suspicious or criminal activity anonymously by calling the NFPD’s Anonymous Tip Line at (716) 286-4711.

Let’s Chat 2014 Resident/Management Chat Schedule Anthony Spallino Towers Meeting to be held in the Rec. Room, 6:00 p.m. March 20, June 17, September 23, December 16, 2014

Packard Court Meeting to be held at the Packard Court Community Center, 6:00 p.m. April 17, June 19, September 18, December 18, 2014

Henry E. Wrobel Towers Meeting to be held in the Rec. Room, 6:00 p.m. March 12, June 17, September 23, December 16, 2014

Beloved Community Meeting to be held at 1710 Calumet Avenue at 6:00 p.m. January 29, April 30, July 30, October 29, 2014

Harry S. Jordan Gardens Meeting to be held at the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building, 6:00 p.m. January 23, April 24, July 24, October 23, 2014

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We Empower. We Enrich. We Build Strong Communities. Niagara Falls Housing Authority YEAR IN REVIEW- 2013 HIGHLIGHTS

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Niagara Carrier - Winter 2014  

The Official Magazine of the Niagara Falls Housing Authority.