my information

--- Issued January 25, 2007

In 2006, the Housing Authority was “very productive,” says HACE executive director John E. Horan. “We accomplished much of what was set out at the beginning of the year, he said in
Authority’s Annual Report on Goals and Objectives for 2006. Most of the target objectives were accomplished in 2006, while maintaining the Authority’s sound financial position.

As of December 31, 2006, the Authority was providing housing assistance to 2,882 families. A total of 450 new families, elderly, and persons with disabilities received housing assistance in 2006. “Our housing inventory is in better condition than ever before, and our operating reserves are appropriate for the size and age of our housing inventory, Horan said. “Credit for these accomplishments must again go to the employees who carried out the day-to-day tasks resulting in the impressive performance figures for 2006.”

While “It’s about People” (providing jobs, education, recreation, a safe environment, good choices for youth, and the opportunity to become self-sufficient) is indeed the credo of the Housing Authority of the City of Erie, it’s about housing, too, of course, as the numbers above show.

The Authority is also proud of the fact that, although tax-exempt, it did contribute $147,459.79 to local taxing bodies in lieu of real estate taxes during 2006. Also, the Authority paid the cost for four police officers and a code enforcement officer to provide supplemental coverage in and around public housing neighborhoods. For the first time, in 2006, the Authority provided financial support for the Rodger Young Pool that allowed the City to run a summer-long swim program. The total annual value of these contracts with the City of Erie is $448,772.

These statistics are provided in the Authority’s just-released Annual Report for 2006.

Other highlights of the report include:
  • The crime rate in public housing has decreased 73 percent since 1993. According to crime data provided by the Erie Police Department, 2006 criminal activity in public housing neighborhoods was approximately the same as 2005, which was a decrease of 12 percent from 2004. Reports of criminal activity remained low, due primarily to better response by the Erie police to calls for service from our residents, and to proactive policing on the part of our C.O.P.P.S. officers.
  • The City of Erie has assigned officers permanently to provide coverage of Housing Authority neighborhoods, 16 hours a day, 365 days per year. These officers have taken a sense of ownership in the C.O.P.P.S. Program and the results are significantly less crime in public housing neighborhoods. “Due to the presence of these officers in 2006, we continue to see much lower crime rates,” Horan said.
  • The residents’ safety and the perception of safety throughout our neighborhoods are measured annually through a survey conducted by Penn State Behrend. In 2006, the survey showed high levels of satisfaction among residents. Forty-nine percent of our residents responded to questions about safety in their neighborhoods. Specifically, 72 percent said they felt safe walking alone at night in their neighborhood. Eighty-six percent said they felt safe alone at night in their home. Eighty-nine percent said they felt safe walking alone in their neighborhood during the day.
  • The living conditions for Authority residents remained good in 2006, based on an independent customer satisfaction survey conducted by HUD. The annual HUD survey showed high levels of satisfaction with Authority services, and all five indicators were above the national averages: maintenance and repairs (94.3 percent) communications (80 percent); safety (83.1 percent); services (94.7 percent); and neighborhood appearance (79.5 percent).
  • Total rent receipts was up $245,863from 2005. The Authority collected 97.5% of all charges in 2006.
  • A total of 391 older residents of Friendship Apartments and Schmid Towers are receiving HomePLUS specialized care to meet their daily living needs, allowing them to remain independent. A total of 233 residents have been maintained in their homes because services are adequately meeting their needs. In April 2000, the Authority added a daily hot meal to the support service package at Friendship Apartments and Schmid Towers. In October 2000, Ostrow Apartments was added to the Congregate Meals Program. A total of 13,284 hot meals were served in 2006.
  • The Authority completed the Parade Street condominium development at East 14th and Parade Streets in 2006. Two of six residential units have been sold, one to a public housing resident.