my information

--- Issued December 7, 2011

The Board of the Housing Authority of the City of Erie recently recognized one very successful woman.

Jamie Little, center, is shown with her family, and from left, Nealy
Leach-Ruff, Section 8 Coordinator; Lynette Burkhart, Section 8
Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator; and John E. Horan, executive
director of the Erie Housing Authority.

Jamie Little, 32, a current HACE Section 8 participant, will become a first-time home owner on December 19, 2011. The Housing Authority recognized her for achievements that resulted in her graduation from the Authority’s Section 8 Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program.

Little is a Direct Support Professional at Erie Homes for Children and Adults, 227 East 27th Street. She is employed full-time and has been free of all public cash financial assistance for a year, all requirements for graduation from the Housing Authority’s FSS Program.

Section 8 is a federal housing assistance program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Under Section 8, eligible families lease a rental unit in the private sector and pay a portion of the rent, generally around 30 percent of their income. The Housing Authority pays the landlord the remaining rent.

The Section 8 Family Self-Sufficiency portion of the program, that helped Jamie achieve financial independence, works this way: participating families agree to work toward becoming economically self-sufficient. This means reducing and eventually ending their dependence on welfare and Section 8 financial assistance.

When a family enters the program, the Housing Authority establishes a family escrow/savings account based on the rental subsidy they receive from the Section 8 program. As the participant moves toward self-sufficiency (higher wages, education, etc.) the family’s share of their rent increases.

HACE matches these increases with contributions to an interest-bearing escrow account for the benefit of the participant. When the family is self-sufficient, no longer receiving welfare, housing or other subsidies, the money in the escrowed savings account officially becomes theirs.

Little accumulated $35,568.00 during her seven years in the FSS Program.

Jamie is using the bulk ($23,692) of her escrow as a down payment and closing costs on a house in northeast Erie. “The Family Self-Sufficiency Program has made it possible for me to build stability for my family,” Little says. “It has given me a sense of pride knowing that I have accomplished one of my lifetime goals. I am very thankful to have this opportunity.”

For more information or interviews, contact John E. Horan, executive director of the Authority, at 452-2425.