People often have a negative image of public housing, but Joy Johnson, chair of the board at PHAR, wants the greater community to get to know the intelligent and hardworking people who work in public housing and reverse the stigma. PHAR stands for Public Housing Association of Residents, a community organization that is made up of and supports residents in Charlottesville.

PHAR’s mission is to educate and empower low-income residents to protect and improve their communities through collective action. Their organization is working towards the redevelopment of public housing, a positive environment for its residents and a vibrant, resident focused future. By attending conferences and spreading the word, Johnson learned how to transition PHAR from a social club to a city-wide nonprofit organization in 1998. PHAR currently represents 376 households and you can become a member immediately when you sign a housing lease – the organization would be happy to represent you.

More information can be found on PHAR’s website.