Earlier this year, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Sims initiated something historic: a call to all Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to recognize fathers through events held around Father’s Day. Dubbed “Father’s Day 2011”, HUD modeled this effort on a program that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) launched last summer. That model event had two purposes: to strengthen the bonds between fathers and their children, and to make education, health care, and employment resources available to the fathers leading to economic self-sufficiency.
HUD helped organize over 200 Father’s Day events at Public Housing Authorities around the nation during the weekend of June 18. Some events featured players from the NFL and the NBA celebrated fatherhood. Smaller communities held Bar-B-Qs and poster contests, while more had elaborate programs such as seminars and guest speakers were organized by larger communities.
Federal partners, including the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of Agriculture, and the Departments of Education and Justice, were on hand to offer information and services including employment resources and health consultation.
“Children with involved fathers grow up happier, healthier and better prepared to succeed in life,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, himself a father of two. “Yet every night, one-out-of -three American children goes to bed in a home without a father present. These events will bring fathers and their children together and connect the dads to the social and economic resources they need to be the best parents they can be.”
One of the events was held in our Nation’s capital. The District of Columbia kicked off their weekend by hosting a “Call to Fathers Breakfast”, and then held a day-long program including community leaders and guest speakers. NFL football players Ken Harvey, Olandis Gary and two time World Heavyweight champion and former undisputed heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe and daughter joined the celebration.
HUD is looking forward to a year focused on supporting fathers, mothers, and families in public housing. Father’s Day 2011 was just the beginning!
Photo: Ken Harvey, retired Washington Redskins linebacker; Frank Lancaster, DCHA Resident Commissioner; Marvin Turner, Director of the HUD DC Field Office; Adrianne Todman, Executive Director, DC Housing Authority; Deborah A. Hernandez, General Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Public and Indian Housing, HUD; Judge Arthur L. Bennett, Sr., National Executive Director , National African American Drug Policy Coalition; Ron Ashford.
Ron Ashford is the Director of Community & Supportive Services in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.