Philadelphia Housing Authority PR Crisis

Over the past few weeks, the Philadelphia news media has been flooded with headlines about a series of scandals involving Philadelphia Housing Authority Executive Director, Carl Greene. Greene has been under fire about the possible misuse of PHA funds and his failure to notify the PHA board about multiple sexual harassment lawsuits that were brought against him by former employees.

An article from philly.com features the accounts of many employees who worked for the PHA under Greene. The employees reported incidents of sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and what became known as the “Greene Mile:” the common practice of being demoted and eventually fired as a result of a clash with Greene.

The PHA has an annual budget of 345 million dollars, most of which comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. As Executive Director, Greene oversaw the budget, 1,150 employees, and a real estate network of 13,400 units that house 81,000 people. According to the philly.com article, Greene was paid $306,370 annually and the board gave him a $44,188 bonus last year.

Although Greene had previously received awards for his work as head of the fourth-largest public housing agency in the country, his morals and practices are now being questioned. Not only do the allegations give the PHA a bad name, but they also raise the issue of the misuse of taxpayers’ dollars in the already struggling economy and tarnish the PHA’s mission of helping people in need.

When the scandal broke, Greene was nowhere to be found. He failed to report to work for several days and is now suspended from his position for the duration of the investigation. Many questions remain about the fate of Greene and the future of the PHA.

The PHA clearly has a public relations crisis on its hands. However, the agency serves an important role and affects the lives of thousands of Philadelphia residents, so it must continue to function.

What do you think the Philadelphia Housing Authority should do to regain the public’s trust amidst the scandal?

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