Jim Goff celebrates 40 years of finding people homes

PAWTUCKET – In January of 1980, Jim Goff arrived ready to work at the Pawtucket Housing Authority, charged with keeping the books as an accountant for the agency.

Forty years later, the man who’s climbed to deputy executive director of the PHA still loves his work securing housing for people who need it most. He was honored last Friday, Jan. 10, with a surprise anniversary celebration attended by numerous state and local officials at Burns Manor.

Goff, a Pawtucket resident, said one of the perks of this job is how close he’s always lived to work, making for a short commute when he’s called in on short notice. He attributes his longevity and popularity within the PHA to his belief that every job is important and that none are more important than the others.

He said his most satisfying achievement has been helping low-income people find good housing.

“I enjoy working with people, serving people,” he said.

For Goff, the PHA services of today are a far cry from the 1980s. Back then, work was pretty much about getting people into public housing only, but today it’s about helping a person in every aspect of their life, from drug and opioid counseling, to homeless advocacy, to meal sites and other services.

“We’re broadening what we can offer to help improve their lives,” he said.

With all the added services, he said, come financial reports and other paperwork in unprecedented volumes, something he’s become adept at handling.

Goff, 67 and married to his wife Dotty since 1981, says he has no plans to retire anytime soon. A self-described people person, he said he loves bumping into the people he works with while he’s out and about at the grocery store or gas station. He said he’s been here so long he knows generations of the same families.

After working in accounting, Goff went on to be director of housing before being named deputy executive director.

PHA Executive Director Paula McFarland said Goff has given decades of dedicated service to the city of Pawtucket, finding success far beyond just putting in his time. His greatest contributions are his mentoring, his work establishing programs, and his help guiding the entire staff “through the HUD maze” of paperwork and regulations, she said. Goff has reached the pinnacle of his career, she told The Breeze, and she doesn’t see him retiring anytime soon.

“I think he has so much to offer,” said McFarland.