--- Issued October 29, 2015

The Erie Housing Authority Board, at its October 26 meeting, passed a resolution recognizing ”every month” as affordable housing month.In past years, the Authority, along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,  (HUD), had recognized one month a year -- October -- as “Affordable Housing Month.”

“But that seems to be like thinking families who need help need it only one month a year, “ said John E. Horan, executive director of the Erie Housing Authority. “The economic recession and jobless recovery is hitting people hard every day and every month, causing more and more families to need affordable housing all year around.”

Therefore, he said, the Authority Board passed a resolution recognizing every month as affordable housing month, committing the Authority to maximize the reduced housing funds available from the federal government  “to assure that we provide safe and affordable housing to as many needy Erie Citizens as possible.”

The Authority provides affordable housing to 2,948 families, but its waiting list still contains more than 2,000 families in need of affordable housing.

The Board resolved that the Authority will contact local, state, and federal elected officials to convey the urgent need to restore funding of affordable housing to a “more realistic level,” Horan said, “A level that will allow us to provide more housing assistance and maintain our housing inventory.”

According to HUD, those in need of affordable housing are:  “Families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.”

“An estimated 12 million renter and homeowner now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing,” HUD states.  “A family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.”

 “We have to do more,” Horan said.