--- Issued January 13, 2017

“To provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for lower income families, elderly, and persons with disabilities; and to foster among the residents we serve economic self-sufficiency and a sense of community and pride in neighborhoods where they reside.”

That is – and has been – the mission statement of the Housing Authority of the City of Erie since its inception in 1938. This January, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded the Authority a grant to enable the Authority to keep fulfilling the pillar of that mission ­– promoting self-sufficiency for its residents.

A prospective client for the Erie Housing Authority's Public Housing Family Self-Sufficiency Program learns what he needs to know from caseworkers Sabrina Tolbert, left, and Patreece Johnson, second from left.

HUD released  $367,635 in ROSS Grant funding to the Authority to provide continued funding for self-sufficiency programming to public housing residents.  The grants allow HACE to continue funding for its two Family Self-Sufficiency Caseworkers through 2019.

“The additional funding provided by this ROSS Grant enables our caseworkers to continue their work on providing self-sufficiency opportunities to public housing residents into the future,” said Authority Executive Director Daniel Roessner.  “This is a valuable program which assists residents in meeting their pre-established goals, as well as providing an opportunity to establish their own escrow account, and moving to non-subsidized housing.”

In 2013, HACE received $462,000 in ROSS Grant funds to hire its first two Public Housing Self-Sufficiency Program caseworkers.

Since the program’s inception at that time, 137 HACE Public Housing residents have enrolled in the program. Currently, 100participants and their families are actively working on becoming self-sufficient.

As of January 1, 2017, five PHFSS program participants have graduated and no longer receive subsidized rental housing assistance. Four out of the 5 participants have moved out of public housing and have purchased homes in the City of Erie. Three out of the five earned money to assist in the purchasing of their homes through funds they received from establishing their escrow savings accounts.

For more information, call the Authority's  Executive Director, Daniel J. Roessner,  at 814-452-2415.