Providence — Nicolas P. Retsinas on behalf of the Board of
Commissioners of the Providence Housing Authority announced today the
retirement of Paul J. Tavares after five years of exemplary public service as
Executive Director and the unanimous selection of current Deputy Director,
Melissa Sanzaro as Executive Director effective January 1, 2018.
Chairman Retsinas thanked Director Tavares for his
professionalism and integrity throughout his tenure. “Paul brought 21st Century
procedures and timeless compassion for the residents during his tenure as
Mr. Tavares shared,” It has been a distinct pleasure serving
at the PHA. I am truly thankful to the
Board of Commissioners, committed employees and resident community for all
their support. I wish them much continued success”.
“Throughout his service Paul demonstrated stellar leadership
that strengthened PHA’s efforts to provide housing opportunities,” said
Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “I join numerous people impacted by his work
in wishing him much happiness and success on his next chapter. I’m excited to
continue working with Melissa to connect those most in need with safe and
During his service, Mr. Tavares stabilized the agency in a
time of transition and established an improved management structure. His
experience in fiscal management resulted in substantial agency savings and a
reduction of $5M in long term liabilities He guided the PHA through the difficult,
2014 federal budget sequester and successfully secured $9M in new financing to
install automated fire sprinkler systems and upgrade elevators in five
Melissa Sanzaro has been with the agency for eight years,
serving as the Deputy Director for the last three. In that capacity she gained
extensive experience and knowledge overseeing the entire PHA operation. She has
been nationally recognized for her achievements in various healthy housing
initiatives and has worked closely with community stakeholders to leverage
resources to strengthen the PHA’s mission.
Most recently, she led the charge in acquiring the PHA’s Job Plus
Program and was a recipient of the Providence Police Department’s Community Award. She is the first woman Executive Director in
the history of the agency.
Ms. Sanzaro is a graduate of the University of Rhode
Island’s Talent Development Program. Her
community work includes service on the City of Providence’s Mayor’s Substance
Abuse Prevention Council and the Community Advisory Board for Brown
University’s School of Public Health.
The PHA looks forward to the next phase of its success,
under Sanzaro’s leadership. “I am honored to be able to lead and work alongside
the PHA’s talented and dedicated team.
This is an exciting time for the agency; a time to build on our past
successes, reenergize community relationships and develop innovative approaches
to provide housing and life changing opportunities to those we serve,” stated
Established in 1939, the Providence Housing Authority owns
and manages 2,600 units of public housing and administers approximately 2,600
units of Section 8 housing.