Erie County’s Affordable Housing Fund supports projects and activities that enhance the availability, affordability and quality of housing for lower-income residents. Approximately $150,000 is raised annually and made available for distribution on a competitive basis to agencies and organizations. The fund is administered by the Erie County Department of Planning and Community Development.
The Pennsylvania “Optional County Affordable Housing Funds Act” (PA Act 137 of 1992) allows counties
to increase the recording fees of deeds and mortgages and use the proceeds to establish an Affordable
Housing Fund, the monies from which could be used to support projects/activities that enhance the
availability, affordability, and quality of housing for lower- income individuals/families.
In October 1999 Erie County Council adopted Ordinance Number 84 establishing the Erie County
Affordable Housing Fund in accordance with the provisions of PA Act 137 of 1992. The Ordinance took
effect on January 1, 2000 and since 2001 nearly $4 million has been raised and distributed to a wide array
of groups and organizations to provide affordable housing opportunities for lower income Erie County
residents. The County’s Affordable Housing Fund program is administered by the Erie County Department
of Planning and Community Development.
WHAT IS AFFORDABLE HOUSING?
The generally accepted definition of affordability is for a household to pay no more than 30% of its annual
income on housing. Families who pay more than 30 percent are considered cost burdened and may have
difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care
ACT 137 Funds
Each year the County has approximately $150,000 in Act 137 funds (less administration) available to
distribute to eligible applicants to provide affordable housing.
Eligible applicants for County Act 137 funding assistance include:
- housing and redevelopment authorities
- non-profit organizations
- community and faith based organizations
- county and local government entities
Individuals and for-profit developers are not eligible to apply for assistance.
Projects may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Single family owner-occupied housing rehabilitation
- Rental housing rehabilitation
- New housing construction
- Adaptive home modifications for physically disabled
- Housing counseling; supportive services
- Housing for homeless or near-homeless; “Rapid re-housing”
- First time home buyer’s assistance (down payment and/or closing costs)
- Projects to benefit special populations including the elderly, persons with severe and persistent
mental illness, persons with developmental disabilities, survivors of domestic violence, veterans,
APPLYING FOR ASSISTANCE
County Planning usually solicits for applications in March of each year, however, for years 2019 and 2020 applications were not solicited as the decision was made to use the combined allocation of $300,000 to provide single-family housing rehabilitation assistance to low-to-moderate income families in 10 municipalities. The project is being undertaken with the cooperation of the Erie Redevelopment Authority and is expected to result in the rehabilitation of twenty (20) units by the spring of 2023.
Sampling of Other Previously Funded Projects
Liberty House Improvements Project – Undertake improvements to EUMA’s Liberty House which is a ten (10) bed transitional shelter for homeless male veterans located at 550 West 7th Street in the City of Erie. Improvements included roof replacement; driveway/parking pad and sidewalk replacement; kitchen floor replacement; electrical upgrades; purchase and installation of Aiphone vandal resistant door intercom and video units; purchase of commercial refrigerator; purchase of ten (10) bunk-able steel beds; and installation of heating units in the Safe/Recreation Room and air -conditioning units in the upstairs sleeping areas.
Home Modifications for People with Disabilities Project – Provide adaptive home modifications to a minimum of twenty (20) units which house people with disabilities. The modifications will vary depending on each circumstance but generally would include the installation of ADA compliant wheelchair ramps; widening of doorways; upgrades to bathrooms including installation of grab bars, proper height toilets, roll under sinks and walk-in tubs/roll-in showers.
Erie County Housing Authority Weatherization/Interface Home Repairs Project – Provide home repairs and weatherization measures on approximately thirty-seven (37) income eligible households in the County (excluding Erie City) who have been excluded from the ECHA’s existing programs due to programmatic limitations/regulations. Anticipated types of repairs include: furnace/boiler replacements; hot water tank replacements; electrical service upgrades; electric knob and tube wiring abatements; miscellaneous plumbing repairs; chimney/venting repairs; mobile home floor repairs; small roofing repairs; and gas stove/oven replacements.
Saint Martin’s Center First Time Homebuyers Project – Assist creditworthy, income-eligible (80% AMI), working families purchase their first home by providing down payment and/or closing assistance.
A decision has not yet been made regarding the use of 2021 and 2022 Act 137 monies which is anticipated
to be approximately $300,000. If the County decides to solicit for applications, the application form and
guidelines will be posted on this site.