PORTLAND – The Portland City Council has confirmed the appointment of Luisa S. Deprez, Ph.D. and the reappointment of Shirley Peterson to the Portland Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, each for a five-year term. Deprez succeeds Mariar Balow, who previously served for more than eight years.
Established in 1943, the Portland Housing Authority and its affiliated entities provide long-term, affordable fair rental housing and related assistance to more than 3,000 low-income families, seniors, youths and disabled individuals.
“The Portland Housing Authority is pleased to welcome Luisa Deprez to the board of commissioners, and to have Shirley Peterson continuing her service for another term,” said Cheryl Sessions, executive director of the Portland Housing Authority. “Between them, Luisa and Shirley bring invaluable perspective and professional expertise to our work of housing and offering opportunity to Portland’s most vulnerable populations.”
Deprez has dedicated her life to studying and addressing the challenges of poverty, safety nets and the critical importance of meeting basic human needs. She has been a tireless advocate for social justice. Deprez retired from the University of Southern Maine in 2015 after a 40-year career of teaching, writing, administration, and community service. Today, she lends her knowledge and expertise to state and national policy discussions and debates that focus on vulnerable populations, and in service to non-profits, government agencies, state legislatures, and organizations. She also co-leads the Maine Chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network (SSN), a national organization which brings together scholars across the country to address public challenges and their policy implications. She is also a member of the Alliance for a Healthy and Prosperous Maine.
Early in her career, Deprez was a community organizer at the Fuld Neighborhood Center in Newark, New Jersey and later a Policy Analyst for the Jersey City Model Cities Program. In 1973, she was the director of children’s mental gealth for the then-Maine Department of Mental Health and Corrections and initiated the closure of the Children’s Psychiatric Center at the Pineland Center.
“Throughout my career, I have devoted my work, teaching, scholarship and service to the amelioration of poverty and to the plight of low-income people in the US,” said Deprez. “I deeply appreciate the centrality that housing occupies in the lives of people who live on the margins of society. I look forward to lending my expertise to the work of the Portland Housing Authority board of commissioners and addressing the urgent priorities of housing affordability, availability, and accessibility.”
Peterson has served on the Portland Housing Authority Board of Commissioners in consecutive terms since 2008. With this reappointment, she continues her service alongside fellow commissioners Tom Valleau, Christian MilNeil, Robyn Tucker, Kristin Blum, Monique Mutumwinka, and now Deprez.
For more information about the Portland Housing Authority and its mission, visit http://www.porthouse.org.
Established in 1943, the Portland Housing Authority and its affiliated corporations provide long-term, affordable fair rental housing and related assistance to more than 3,000 low-income families, seniors, youths and disabled individuals. It does this primarily through federally funded and regulated programs, including the Foster Youth to Independence Program (FYI) and the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program. In collaboration with community partners and fellow housing authorities like South Portland and Westbrook, PHA strives to improve quality of life, build community, enhance safety and promote personal success for the people it serves and the neighborhoods in which they reside. For more information, visit http://www.porthouse.org.