There can be no debating that Attorney Joseph A. Boncore I s an emerging young leader in the town of Winthrop.
After serving as chairman of the nine-person town’s Rules and Ordinance Committee and leading a challenging and somewhat imposing two-and-half-year project of revising and updating Winthrop’s bylaws, Boncore has assumed another key role, having been elected in December as chairman of the Winthrop Housing Authority (WHA) for 2013.
Boncore, 30, now heads the board that includes Richard Honan, Larry Holmes, Frank Ferrara, and Ernest Caggiano. Boncore was first appointed to the board by the Town Council five years ago and then elected to a four-year term by the town.
Peg Lyons, executive director, runs the day-to-day operations of the WHA that includes overseeing and managing 432 rental units in the town: 359 elderly and non-elderly handicapped units and 73 family units consisting of two, three, and four bedrooms. The WHA also leases a building to North Suffolk Mental Health.
Boncore said Lyons is in a class by herself as an administrator of housing.
“I can’t speak highly enough about Peg Lyons and the work she does at the Housing Authority,” said Boncore. “She’s tremendous. She manages the Housing Authority, collects rents, so on and so forth. We’re one of the top performing housing authorities in the entire state. We’re pretty much self-efficient for non-utility expenses, meaning we’re one of the only housing authorities in the state where our rents cover the majority of all of our expenses.”
Boncore decided to get involved in public service after watching his family, notably his father, Attorney Philip Boncore, a current town councilor-at-large, take an active role in local government and many organizations. The senior Boncore has served as the national president of the Order Sons of Italy in America, for example. Joseph is the president of the Winthrop Sons of Italy lodge that has 150 members.
“My father has always instilled in me the value of public service,” said Boncore. “In 2007, a vacancy became open on the Housing Authority and given my family’s lineage, I thought it was a good opportunity to get involved, help the town, and make it a better place. With housing, you really serve the two extremes in society – you’re able to help the elderly and you’re able to help children that need it most, children from low-income families.”
Boncore said he’s honored to be the new chairman of the WHA. “I’m just humbled by the support and the trust that my fellow board members have put in me to lead the Housing Authority.”
He said that Winthrop’s state delegation of Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo and State Sen. Anthony Petruccelli has always been a strong advocate for public housing.
“Every time we have an event, Speaker DeLeo and Senator Petruccelli are there showing their support for public housing,” said Boncore.
Boncore’s elevation to chairman comes as Governor Deval Patrick is proposing to create six regional housing authorities and eliminate the local housing authorities.
“I’m totally opposed to the proposal,” said Boncore. “We don’t want to just streamline our residents into a big government type of program. Our residents – some that have been there for their golden years the past 20 years – appreciate that the WHA is not like a government program. We really have a community feeling in our housing authority. We’re their landlord and they like to be able to go to their landlord every day with any problems they have.
“To eliminate our local office and housing authority would be absolutely detrimental to the needs of the people,” he said. “Our staff works so hard and it all comes back to the exceptional leadership of our executive director, Peg Lyons, and how she dedicates herself to the Winthrop Housing Authority.”
Boncore is a 2004 graduate of Providence College, receiving a degree in Political Science. He received his law degree from Massachusetts School of Law in Andover in 2007. After passing the Massachusetts bar exam, he was sworn in as attorney in December of that year. He currently practices law with his father and his brother, Robert A. Boncore, at the Boncore family law offices on Saratoga Street in East Boston.