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--- issued Dec. 7, 2007

The Housing authority of the City of Erie has received a “Certificate of Superior Accomplishment” from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the way it runs the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Members of the Authority's Section 8 staff, with John Horan, are, from
left: Roxane Stovall, Joseph Angelotti, Lisa Kasbee, Kim Preston,
John Horan, Nealy Lealy-Ruff, Darrin Kinander, and Rose Mary Renner.

The high performer award is for the Erie Housing Authority’s fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2007. Housing authorities nationwide must score at least 90 out of 100 points to achieve the designation.

“It’s a big accomplishment for an authority to receive this award,” said John E. Horan, executive director of the authority. “This is a reflection of the hard work of the Housing Authority’s Section 8 staff members who are responsible for the day-to day operation of the program,”

In Erie, approximately 1,000 families receive housing assistance through the Section 8 Program.

The Section 8 Program increases affordable housing choices for very low-income households by allowing families to choose privately owned rental housing. The public housing authority generally pays the landlord the difference between 30 percent of household income and the authority-determined payment standard-about 80 to 100 percent of the fair market rent. The rent must be reasonable.

The Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP), for which the Erie Housing Authority was recognized, measures the performance of the public housing agencies that administer the housing choice voucher program in 14 key areas. The assessment program helps HUD identify, monitor and provide technical assistance to specific facets of the Section 8 programs that need improvement. The 14 indicators of performance show whether authorities help eligible families to afford decent rental units at a reasonable subsidy cost as intended by Federal housing legislation.

The 14 key indicators of PHA performance are:

  • Proper selection of applicants from the housing choice voucher waiting list
  • Sound determination of reasonable rent for each unit leased
  • Establishment of payment standards within the required range of the HUD fair market rent
  • Accurate verification of family income
  • Timely annual reexaminations of family income
  • Correct calculation of the tenant share of the rent and the housing assistance payment
  • Maintenance of a current schedule of allowances for tenant utility costs
  • Ensure units comply with the housing quality standards before families enter into leases and public housing authorities enter into housing assistance contracts
  • Timely annual housing quality inspections
  • Performing of quality control inspections to ensure housing quality
  • Ensure that landlords and tenants promptly correct housing quality deficiencies
  • Ensure that all available housing choice vouchers are used
  • Expand housing choice outside areas of poverty or minority concentration
  • Enroll families in the family self-sufficiency (FSS) program as required and help FSS families achieve increases in employment income.

“As you can see, the high performer recognition we have received is not easy to come by,” Horan said. “HUD’s guidelines are stringent, but we meet them, and then some.”

For more information, contact Horan at 452-2425.