By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Public housing residents and employees from around the country are gathered in Philadelphia for a conference on how to cope with changing policies under the Trump administration.

The conference offers workshops on creative use of limited resources and self-sufficiency through education and small businesses.

The host, Philadelphia Housing Authority Chief Kelvin Jeremiah, says it’s about empowering residents who face sharp cuts in government help.

“The reductions that are proposed would be devastating, impacting the most vulnerable people: seniors, disabled, homeless, and people at the bottom of the economic ladder. And they should be participating in the process of determining what happens to them,” Jeremiah said.

Kelvin Jeremiah listens to speakers at conference “Opening Doors to Opportunities: Preparing Residents and Housing Employees for Changing Times” (credit: Pat Loeb)

Among the speakers is Charlene Nimmons, who’s been doing such work as a resident and organizer in Brooklyn.

“An additional burden with the new administration, it really is weighing heavy on us, but we’ve been struggling for many years. I love President Obama but, we still struggled,” she said.

PHA resident-board member Asia Coney says tenants understand, and are seeking new opportunities, but she also hopes they’ll leave committed to preserving what’s left.

“Public housing is a need that folks will always have,” she said.