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Cause Area

  • Board Development
  • Children & Youth
  • Computers & Technology
  • Education & Literacy
  • Employment


PO BOX 170922BOSTON, MA 02117 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

Linking public housing youth to opportunity


PHYA has a STEM focus. A report by the United Way of Massachusetts finds that nearly all the new jobs in MA require STEM skills, but about 2-in-3 employers say they can’t find employees with the right skills. Blacks account for 9% of the STEM workforce. Hispanic workers make up just 8%. Black and Hispanic workers are less likely to get degrees in STEM, and that’s remained unchanged since 2016. Women overall remain underrepresented in the physical sciences, engineering, and computing.

I started PHYA after a summer 2017 spike in gun violence at my former housing development, mostly involving teenage perpetrators and victims. Two weeks after a news-making shooting, a gunman went up my street in broad daylight firing while youth were playing basketball. Gun violence fed by drugs/gangs is prevalent in these housing developments.

Despite the millions of dollars poured into public housing, the self-sufficiency programs and partnerships with large service agencies, public housing remains in crisis. Nationally, one-in-10 public housing households are educated below 9th grade level; 25% did not attend school beyond grades 9-12 and have NO high school diploma. Just 1-in-4 households are educated past high-school level! As a tenant-led nonprofit, PHYA is working to give tenants a voice and a role in determining their future by putting them in the driving seat. We strongly believe CHANGE occurs best when it’s generated from the bottom-up.


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