my information

--- Issued February 24, 2012

The Erie Housing Authority and it's programs are getting their share of headlines recently from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Two Erie Housing Authority stories have been published on the HUD website at the same time: "Rental Assistance for Homeless Veterans" and "Putting Erie Residents Back to Work."

The stories published on the HUD website are featured below.

"Rental Assistance for Homeless Veterans:

The photo above shows, from left, Danielle Johnson displaying her art portfolio to Jane Miller, HUD Philadelphia Field Office Director, and Jane C. W. Vincent, HUD Regional Administrator for Region 3. Vincent and Miller visited Erie recently to assess the wide range of services the Erie Housing Authority offers to its residents and to those in need.

"Danielle Johnson is one of 52 veterans for whom the Housing Authority City of Erie (HACE) is currently providing affordable housing assistance through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. HUD-VASH combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA provides these services for participating veterans at VA medical centers (VAMCs) and community-based outreach clinics.

Danielle, a single mother of two, served in the United States Air Force from 1993 to 1996. After moving to Erie, she found herself in a housing crisis and turned to an emergency shelter for assistance and then to the Erie VA Medical Center. This is when Danielle first learned about HUD-VASH and HACE.

Now living in an affordable housing unit, Danielle receives rental assistance via the HACE-administered HUD-VASH program. Program goals include promoting maximal veteran recovery and independence to sustain permanent housing in the community for the veteran and the veteran's family.

The program is designed to address the needs of the most vulnerable homeless veterans. To be eligible, veterans must be VA Health Care eligible, homeless and need and participate in case management services in order to obtain and sustain permanent independent community housing.

Danielle is now building her photographic portfolio and arts resume while connecting to job and career opportunities. She recently received a scholarship to Chautauqua Institute to work with well-known playwright Kate Fodor. Her photography has also been exhibited at the Erie Art Museum. Well done, Danielle!"

"Putting Erie Residents Back to Work"

Wajdi Ahmad, above, a resident of Harbor Homes, came to this country from Eritrea, East Africa, in in 2003. after washing dishes at an Erie high school followed by a year of unemployment, he calls the work provided for him by the Erie Housing Authority "a blessing."

"If it were not for the Housing Authority City of Erie's (HACE.) 2011 capital improvement projects, more than 100 formerly unemployed Erie area residents would likely be still unemployed. HACE was "shovel ready" with projects set-up and ready to go when HUD money again became available, just as they were ready when American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money arrived in Erie.

With a strong commitment to Section 3, evidence abounds that HACE tenants consider such construction improvements and the job opportunities they bring a blessing. Just ask Wajdi Ahmad, a resident of Harbor Homes, how his life has changed since becoming employed by DC Installations, the installers putting in replacement windows at Erie Heights.

Other Erie residents, such as Tony Milone and Dave Bean, also offer thanks for such job openings. Bean had been out of work for seven months and Milone for nine months. They represent the stories of many other workers in transition who have found gainful employment through HACE and HUD-funded projects.

Funding for the following capital improvements came from HUD Capital Fund grants ($5.7 million), operating reserves ($1.3 million), insurance proceeds ($725,000) and loans ($2.4 million):

Project "G" included installation of new underground gas lines at the John E. Horan Garden Apartments, new energy efficient furnaces and electrical service panels at 325 single family houses, new interior water lines and exterior siding replacement at 224 apartments in Harbor Homes.

Friendship Apartments modernization included replacing the main heating system for 200 apartments.

These are just a few examples of the many improvement projects underway that are scheduled to be completed this spring. With these capital improvements, HACE is able to provide not only job opportunities, but continues to offer quality affordable housing to over 8,000 Erie residents."