SHA Board of Commissioners
Double duty: SHA commissioner and SHA resident
Jessica Quiñonez is one member of the SHA Board of Commissioners with a unique perspective – she’s also an SHA tenant.
Quiñonez has been an active resident at Jennie Lanes Apartments since she moved there in 2007. At first, she worked on the tenants’ organization, under the leadership of the late Eugenia “Jennie” Choiniere and then, after Choiniere died in late 2012, being elected president of the group.
In June, 2013, Quiñonez was named by Mayor Domenic Sarno to the SHA Board of Commissioners, which oversees the state’s second-largest housing authority. Both leadership positions suit her well, she said.
“I’m an active person who likes to help others,” Quiñonez said.
“I believe that when you’re active and busy, you don’t have time to have a pity party for yourself. I’m a big advocate for helping others,” she said.
Quiñonez was born and raised in Springfield, as is a 1998 graduate of Central High School. Fluent in Spanish, she moved to her parents’ homeland in Puerto Rico in 1999, and worked there in a variety of political and governmental jobs for six years before returning to Springfield. Her mother lives in Springfield and her father, in Holyoke.
She is happy to be on the Board of Commissioners, knowing that she has a special role to play and taking that seriously.
“I feel strongly about issues that have to do with residents. I try to make sure the tenant’s point of view gets across,” she said. “I’m the type of person who likes everything to be on the up and up. I want things to be done the right way, and I’m not afraid to make comments or ask questions.”
Quiñonez can often be found in the Jennie Lane Community Room, where she helps organize and run monthly ‘Brown Bag’ pickups from the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to residents, and outside at the Jennie Lane Community Garden, which she helps run.
SHA Executive Director William H. Abrashkin described Quiñonez as an asset to the board.
“We are delighted to have Jessica as our Tenant Representative on the Board of Commissioners. She is thoughtful, engaged, and definitely has the interests of the SHA and our residents at heart,” Abrashkin said.
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