A Statement from Providence Housing Authority Director Melissa Sanzaro: “ Amid growing concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Providence Housing Authority (PHA) is taking the necessary precautions to maintain the health and safety of our residents, employees, vendors and community at-large based on recommendations from government leaders and health experts. “We are asking our residents and their family and friends to help protect the safety of our high rise communities in particular by suspending all nonessential visits to the buildings. We realize it will be difficult for our residents, many of whom live alone, to not have visitors but given the large number of individuals over age 60 and with underlying health conditions in the buildings, visits should only be to deliver food or other essentials or provide essential care. “This pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge and the PHA team has come together and worked diligently to prepare and ready ourselves to contribute our absolute best to help slow the spread of the virus across our public housing communities, our City, and our State. Our residents and participants rely on us and we cannot and will not let them down. “The PHA wants all the people it serves to know we are working day and night during this difficult time to provide them with the highest quality customer service while seeking to keep our residents and employees safe. We remain open for business and have adapted, and will continue to adapt and refine, our services to meet the changing demands a successful COVID-19 response requires. “I am grateful for our team, 230 strong, who have stepped up and taken our response seriously. They have offered their time and talent and showed flexibility, creativity, and passion allowing us to take the following actions: Limiting in-person interactions and meetings, offering patrons the ability to submit documents electronically or via mail, and conducting one-on-one meetings via phone. Limiting our entry into units whenever possible. Cancelling all PHA-sponsored in-person events. Meetings will be conducted by phone or other technology whenever possible. Closing community rooms and asking residents not to congregate in common areas such as hallways, lobbies, or laundry rooms. Increasing efforts to clean and disinfect high touch surfaces in residential developments and offices including additional assistance from an outside vendor. Similarly, we’re working with a vendor and the Providence Police Department to promote the safety of our residents. Reaching out to our residents, beginning with the most vulnerable – our elderly and disabled – to ensure their health and well-being as they shelter in place. This includes letters, phone calls and emails. We want our residents to know they are not alone and that we are here to provide continued support and assistance as we weather this storm together. Continuing to make applications for housing available online, as PHA has recently eliminated paper applications. The applications for public housing and privately run project based housing can be completed at www.WaitlistCheck.com/RI1104 and applications for our Housing Choice Voucher program remain on the statewide site, waitlistcentralri.com. “While we are open for business, many of our staff will be working remotely to serve our residents and participants safely. In addition to continuing to serve our customers during our normal business hours of 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM, members of our security and facilities teams will remain on-call 24 hours a day. We ask our residents for patience as we expect some delays in regular maintenance as we prioritize emergency repairs and cleaning and limit face-to-face contact. “We understand that staying connected and staying informed is important, as we know our plan and our responses will change as this unprecedented crisis evolves. What will not change is our unwavering commitment to our mission and to the people we serve. To stay up-to-date on the PHA’s COVID-19 response, you can visit our website www.provhousing.org or the PHA’s Facebook page @ProvHousing. “We want to thank our Board of Commissions, Resident Advisory Board members, partners, staff and residents who have rallied together during this crisis. Our continued efforts will take time, patience, adaptability, and a willingness to join together to fight the spread of this disease. “The PHA family is resilient and together we can, and will, get through this.” About the Providence Housing Authority Founded in 1939, the PHA develops and maintains decent, safe and sanitary housing and addresses the economic and social needs of its residents. They operate 2,60 6 public housing units in Providence and administer more than 2,600 units of Section 8 rental assistance, that allow low-income families to rent in the private market or project-based units throughout Providence. In total, the PHA serves of 12,000 Rhode Islanders with housing and social services.