If you need to consult with an attorney regarding legal issues on low-income housing, please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service.
The Section 8 program is designed to encourage the development of quality housing low-income persons can afford to rent. Section 8 does this by giving qualifying tenants a voucher which pays part of the normal rent charged by a landlord. To use Section-8, a tenant must qualify for the voucher and then find a landlord willing to accept it. Some landlords will not accept Section-8, because they must agree to follow the rules of the program which include; maintaining the property to certain standards, limits on the amount of rent they can get for the property and not charging the tenant any more than Section-8 allows, among others.
The amount Section 8 pays towards the rent is based on the tenant's income as determined by the rules of the program. The tenant pays 30% of their countable income toward the rent with Section-8 picking up the rest. Qualifying for Section-8 typically involves a criminal background check, credit check and references from recent landlords. Applications for Section-8 vouchers are handled by the local housing authority. As each Housing Authority has a limited number of vouchers to give, applications for them are usually only accepted for a very short time each year. If you live in the City of Erie, you will need to apply for Section-8 through the Housing Authority of the City of Erie at 452-2425. If you live outside the City of Erie contact the Erie County Housing Authority at 814-665-5161.
In addition to the Section-8 voucher program, there are also 'project based' Section-8 and other programs which provide rental subsidies. Typically, applications for these programs are made through the property management office of the building or development where the rental properties are located. Applicants for most of these programs must be either elderly or have a disability. The following website can be referred to for information about project-based subsidized housing programs: