Over 100,000 families receive help from the Philadelphia Housing Authority. This is the government affiliated organization that works to place very low income residents into a new, affordable apartment as well as provide ongoing support. The main programs from the Housing Authority is section 8 HUD vouchers, which unfortunatley often have a multiple year waiting list. However other services may also be provided.
As a Public Housing Agency (PHA), the organization provides support to the low income that are struggling. There is information on rental housing vouchers and also the possibility of financial assistance with rent payments due to the support of partner agencies, such as the City Relocation Services or Office of Supportive Housing.
The federal government’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, or section 8, assists very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled. It is paid for using HUD grants. The agency will help people obtain decent, safe, affordable and sanitary housing on the private market. This is done by providing subsidized rent payments directly to the landlord on the tenant’s behalf, through the PHA.
The tenant needs to have a source of income and contribute towards the rent and utilities too. Therefore this is not some type of free service arranged by the government. They need to pay the difference between the subsidy and the rent charged by the landlord.
Since payments are made by the Philadelphia Housing Authority on behalf of the participants, they are able to choose where they will live in the city or county of Philadelphia. The location can be a single-family home, condo, a townhouse, with an approved family member, or an apartment. With PHA authorization, qualifying households may use their subsidies from HUD to purchase affordable homes and pay for closing costs on them too.
There are also various public housing units available in Philadelphia. These are focused on senior citizens, families with children, single moms and others. There are dozens of units that operate, however these too often have a waiting list.
Some of the centers include Morton Homes, Wilson Park, and many others. The rent can be partially paid using a voucher. Or the low income elderly can seek help from government aid for their needs, such as senior housing from section 202.
Established after a successful pilot program, the city of Philadelphia has a Family Warming Center which is open every year from November through the following March. This is where people can go to get warm or maybe a hot meal or drink. The staff will also provide basic life and safety services for homeless families with children. It is focused on those who need a safe, warm alternative to sleeping on the streets, in cars, or in a tent.
This agency does not offer aid itself. Instead they can be a source of information on programs. The authority can link tenants to the Emergency Assistance Services (phone 215-560-1976), Office of Supportive Housing (dial 215-686-7150), or even the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, which can be reached at 215-765-9000.
Rental/Mortgage/Utility Assistance Program assists eligible, low-income residents who are having difficulty making their monthly payments. Applicants need to have exhausted all other resources; they need to reside in Philadelphia County; and earn an income not greater than 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. These are the general terms needed for some of those agencies listed above.
While mortgage help is very rare, it is more likely to get financial aid for other bills. The program will also try to help the most vulnerable, such as the disabled that are single or the elderly. Other grants may be a family with children or single moms. Applicants to the service need to show an eviction or foreclosure notice, and proof that assistance will help them avoid keeping their electricity on or losing their housing.
Philadelphia County Mental Health and Behavioral Services is a recovery oriented practice for clients. The PHA may have referrals to these programs. It helps to build sustainable partnerships between people with some form of mental or psychiatric disabilities with their families and the community. This is often critical to overcoming housing issues. Medication Management is one part of it, and it helps patients in understanding how proscription medications can be used as part of the treatment. There may also be vouchers to help to pay for them.
Philadelphia County residents with a disability can also enroll into Basic Skill Training. Staff and job coaches will help clients in learning constructive skills, including cognitive and behavioral. It is also combined with Therapy, which is a counseling session to improve the well being of entire families as well as the individual. Other services range from Independent Living Programs in transitional housing to Day Treatment Services to improve relationships.
Philadelphia Housing Authority runs section 8 and and self-sufficiency services. The number is (215) 684-4000, or address is 12 South 23rd Street. Philadelphia, PA 19103. For financial aid, call the emergency line at 215-560-1976.
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