JOHNSTOWN - Gloversville Housing Authority Chairman Tony Ferraro was honored for 30 years of service Saturday at the Johnstown Holiday Inn.
"Tony is the person who does something," Dorothy Boroson, a 21-year member of the housing authority's Board of Directors, said. "He is the grain of sand that annoys the oyster to make that pearl."
The Gloversville Housing Authority is celebrating 50 years of service and Ferraro has provided support and dedication to the housing authority for more than half of that time.
Palmyra Hood, center, looks at a photo showing the Gloversville Housing Authority’s original commissioners with her late husband Richard Hood, who was the mayor of Gloversville at the time. Also shown are current Gloversville Mayor Dayton King, left, and Hood’s daughter’s Cindy Sheeler, back, and Marcia Bentley, right.
The Leader-Herald/Casey Croucher
The authority was created in 1963, when the state Legislature approved a municipal housing authority. It was originally created to provide affordable housing to families in need.
The authority's seven-member Board of Commissioners started Forest Hill Towers in 1968, containing 108 living units; DuBois Apartments which was created in 1972, containing 85 units; and Kingsboro Towers erected in 1976, containing 100 units.
"If I had to describe Tony to a stranger, what would I say?" Boroson said. "You want to know what kind of man Tony is? Just ask the residents of Kingsboro, Forest Hill and DuBois; they all know him because he takes the time to chat with them about their concerns, their families, their lives. He genuinely likes working with people."
The housing authority is independent of Gloversville and Fulton County governments, but it's responsible to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD provides federal aid to housing agencies that manage housing for low-income residents at rents they can afford. The rents are based solely on the income of the renters, according to HUD guidelines.
The GHA was created during the "urban renewal" or "urban development" effort in the '60s when communities were engaged in large-scale demolition of older properties for the revitalizations of downtowns.
Many low-income families and senior citizens were displaced during this period of time, which led to the development of new low-income housing.
According to many past and present GHA board members, Ferraro was very influential in a lot of the developments.
"He [Tony Ferraro] will often go out of his way to do a favor for someone or help them out when they're in need," Boroson said. "We all see the same things that Tony sees; there are jobs that need to be done, problems that need to be solved and we look at them and think about our busy lives, and we most likely say to ourselves 'somebody will take care of that.' We mean well, but we just don't get around to doing anything. Tony is the person who does something."
Ferraro was honored with a plaque for his years of hard work as chairman of the GHA.
Also honored at Saturday's event was Palmyra Hood, wife of the late, former Gloversville Mayor Richard Hood.
In 1964, Hood was the first mayor to appoint the first five GHA commissioners for terms ranging from two to five years.
Palmyra received a plaque and photo of the commissioners with Richard.
GHA Executive Director Dan Towne said in the next 50 years the authority is looking to provide more assistance for the elderly living in Forest Hill and Kingsboro Towers who find it difficult to live on their own.
The GHA currently houses units for 293 families and approximately 500 people, according to officials.
Casey Croucher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org