my information

--- Issued November 5, 2013

The Housing Authority of the City of Erie has been awarded a $462,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assist residents achieve economic self-sufficiency and move out of public housing. The grant, to be received over three years, was part of $28 million in self-sufficiency grants awarded nationwide by HUD.

According to Executive Director John Horan, “the Erie Housing Authority will receive nearly as much as the entire state of Louisiana and nearly half as much as the entire state of Massachusetts. HUD respects the efforts and results that we get here in Erie.”

The Authority expects to work with 100 public housing families over the three years of the new grant.

Services will include the following: intensive case management, early childhood education, GED training, English as a Second Language, job preparation, job development, financial literacy, and credit improvement. The Housing Authority will use a portion of the funds to pay for two intensive case managers who will each be responsible for working with 50 families. They will work one-on-one with the individual family to help identify and remove barriers to self-sufficiency, such as low education levels, lack of job training, lack of job opportunities, poor transportation options, poor health and dental care, and lack of affordable pre-K child care options.   
  
This program will parallel the Housing Authority’s successful Section 8 Family Self-Sufficiency Program that helps Section 8 participants achieve financial independence. Since 2007, 21 participating families have achieved self sufficiency from public assistance and Section 8 housing. Twelve of those families have been able to purchase their first house.

When a family enters the program, the Housing Authority will establish an escrow/savings account based on the rental subsidy they receive from the Housing Authority. As the participant moves toward economic self-sufficiency, the tenant’s share of the rent increases. The Housing Authority matches these increases with like contributions to an interest-bearing escrow savings account for the family. When the family is self-sufficient, no longer receiving welfare, housing or other government subsidies, the money in the escrowed savings account officially becomes theirs. The savings account can be used to purchase a house, education, and debt reduction.  

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