Florida Housing Authorities Honor Dedicated Dads


[Photo: From left: Joseph Lettelleir, Chairman, St. Petersburg Housing Authority Board of Commissioners; Gerald White, HUD-VASH participant and his children; Ed Jennings Jr., HUD Southeast Regional Administrator; Jan Moss, Commissioner, Clearwater Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.]
Photo by: Audra Butler, Courtesy of St Petersburg Housing Authority

For kids wanting to bond with dad, the housing authorities of Clearwater, Dunedin and St Petersburg put together a special joint effort to make their wish come true. On Saturday, June 16, they offered a day of entertainment, support and useful information to 173 kids and 28 dads, all of them tenants of these housing authorities.

Ed Jennings Jr., HUD Southeast Regional Administrator, a brand new dad himself, joined the celebration and reminded the audience about the importance of a father's presence, since studies show that children who live apart from their biological fathers are more likely to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems and be victims of child abuse. Jennings applauded the efforts of dedicated dads like single parent Gerald White, a veteran (82nd Airborne) who was homeless for a while. With the help of VA and a HUD-VASH voucher, Mr. White was able to find stable housing for his five kids. "This is just the kind of support that President Obama has called for to support our nation's veterans after putting their lives on the line for the cause of freedom at home and around the globe", said Jennings.

Father's Day 2012 in St Petersburg, Florida, offered music, a fire truck for tours, face painting, theatrical performances, a balloon twister, and arts and crafts. But it was also more than fun. A host of community organizations provided resources and help for fathers and their families to create healthy families and to achieve a more stable future.

Last year, the first year HUD kicked-off the Father's Day initiative, 209 housing authorities from 33 states held Father's Day events that combined supportive services with promoting fatherhood to strengthen families. An estimated 22,000 fathers, children, mothers and many others participated in events that local public housing authorities held all over the nation. Local offices of federal agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education and Justice, offered on-site information and services such as employment resources, healthcare consultation and legal counseling at the events.

This year, 30 housing authorities in Florida alone planned activities, and 137 in the Southeast, for a total of more than 270 events nationwide, ranging from lunch with dad to workshops, tournaments, and health screenings. HUD is facilitating ideas that will bring fathers and their children together more than just on Father's Day, but to make that connection throughout the year. For example, dads can plan to volunteer at their children's schools, including attending Parent's Night when school opens, or help coordinate Mother's Day events.

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Content Archived: January 9, 2014