The Judge – Jobs, Integrity

Hard to believe it’s been a year since we dedicated CHA Headquarters to our beloved Norma L. Shapiro. I’ll start a tradition and take this day each year to bring up remembrances of her where the Housing Authority was concerned. On this first anniversary, let’s start with two.


Every good organization has this person. They are extremely good in their specialized field. AND they have an eye on everything else. When needed, they can fill in anywhere without much preparation. We have that vital person at the CHA, and it’s largely why we’re good. The letterhead says Maria Zissimos, General Counsel. It’s that and much more.


Chief cook and bottle washer — an old expression to describe a person who does everything, from the important to the mundane.  At the CHA, we have the guy we call Chief. Most think it’s because of his most known function, that of running our small Police Department.  Think again.  Aside from the responsibility of keeping a 24/7 law enforcement operation on the streets, he also runs our IT.

Minister of Section 8

Quite a few years ago, I was asked to address the Saturday morning meeting of the Chester Ministerium, then headed by the late Joel McGee, a good friend and supporter of the CHA. The subject was Section 8 housing in the city, and it was prompted by some animosity coming from one of the member pastors.  As any half-smart ED would do, I brought along my able Section 8 Director, one MARY MARGARET MILITELLO.


It’s been a while since I’ve written. Been busy training new staff for the first time in years and just got through major report-writing time of the year. My next series of blogs will be about the members of our executive team, the men and women who stand beside me in the daily attempt to make sense of the world. I’ll lead with NORMAN DOUGLAS WISE.

The Judge

Over a month ago, we learned of the passing of the Honorable Norma L. Shapiro just short of her 88th birthday. The ensuing weeks have been a time of intensive reflection at the CHA.

S'no Problem

Just as we thought we might escape winter this year (we did for all of 2015), along came The Blizzard of 2016, January 23-24. Any year's first snow always hits us like we've never seen it before. Most years, you get a few small to moderate storms to get you in the groove. Then, by the time the big ones hit, you're in full snow mode and can take it more in stride.

Thank You, HUD

The US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) supports CHA affordable housing programs to the tune of over $21 million per year. As a condition of their continuing support, we must jump through a lot of federal hoops. This, in the name of assuring Congress and taxpayers their money is being properly spent.

Appreciating the Resource That Is "Public Housing"

David Madden of the Washington Post wrote the other day, "From the nearly universal negative coverage of public housing, you'd never know that far more people are trying to get into it than leave it ... a crucial resource for families, the elderly, the disabled and others whom the market does not serve -- and will not -- serve."

In Service to Community

Since the 1990s, our organization has undergone a full transformation from futile bureaucracy to well performing agency serving Chester's affordable housing needs with great integrity. Until last year, that gargantuan effort was overseen by Judge Norma L. Shapiro. A key aspect of the federal receivership's mission was to develop ...

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