The Lancaster County Housing Authority administers the Housing Choice Voucher (“Section 8”) rental assistance program in Lancaster County, outside the Lancaster City limits. Under the program, income-eligible tenants pay a minimum of thirty percent (30%) of their monthly incomes for rent and utilities and the Lancaster County Housing Authority pays the remaining portion of the rent. Tenants are given a housing voucher and they are responsible for locating a suitable rental unit. The landlord must agree to participate in the Program.
All types of rental housing (single family homes, apartments, duplexes, and mobile homes) are eligible as long as the rent is reasonable in comparison to the fair market rent limits established by US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the unit is decent, safe, and sanitary. Any units for which a household receives rental assistance must pass an annual inspection to ensure that the unit is safe and decent.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How will I know when you are taking Section 8 applications?
An announcement will be posted on our website and published in the newspaper. We also notify local TV and radio stations, the United Way and many of the local agencies and churches where people go for assistance.
What is the difference between the Lancaster City Housing Authority and the Lancaster County Housing Authority?
The Lancaster City Housing Authority (www.lcha.ws) serves people living within the City of Lancaster while the Lancaster County Housing Authority serves people living in Lancaster County outside the City of Lancaster.
What is the difference between Section 8, Public or Subsidized Housing, and HUD?
Section 8 refers to the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program. It is a program that helps low income households by paying a portion of their rent in houses or apartments owned by private landlords. Tenants are not restricted as to where they can live as long as the rent for the apartment is considered by the Housing Authority to be affordable and reasonable.
Public Housing and Subsidized Housing is housing that is generally owned by a housing authority or other non-profit organization. It is similar to the Section 8 program in that it helps low income households by paying a portion of their rent, however, a tenant must live in the public or subsidized housing unit in order to receive assistance.
HUD is not a type of housing, it is the federal agency (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) that provides the funds to help lower income household pay their rent.
My landlord said he would accept Section 8. How do I apply?
You must be on the Section 8 waiting list in order to obtain Section 8 assistance. We serve people in the order in which they applied for assistance so even if your landlord said he would accept Section 8, you have to wait until your name reaches the top of the waiting list before you receive assistance. Unfortunately, our waiting list is closed and we are not accepting new applications at this time.
I am on the Section 8 Waiting List but I do not have a permanent address to give you. What should I do?
It is very important that we always have a current address at which to reach you. If we mail something to you and you do not respond or if it is returned to us, we will remove you from the Waiting List. You can either get a Post Office box until you have a permanent address or use the address in care of (c/o) a friend or relative that you trust to notify you if you receive mail from the Housing Authority.
I am a tenant having trouble with my landlord or I am a landlord having trouble with my tenant. Can you help?
The Lancaster County Housing Authority only deals with problems where the tenant is receiving Section 8 assistance. For information on Tenant/Landlord Rights and Responsibilities, click on the link for a comprehensive manual produced by the Fair Housing Program. http://lhop.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/TenantLandlordRightsResponsibilities0813.pdf. Or, you can call 717-291-9945, extension 7 to order a copy. It is available in multiple languages.
How do I report a property that is a health or fire hazard?
If the property is in Lancaster City, call the Bureau of Housing and Health Code Enforcement at 717-291-4706. If the property is outside the Lancaster City, call your township or borough office and ask for assistance. If you are reporting a fire hazard, call the nearest Fire Company.
Are there any websites where I can search for housing or related services?
The Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership website (http://www.lhop.org) has a housing locator and a housing resource center. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency also has a listing of housing in Lancaster (http://www.phfa.org/forms/multifamily_inventory/dv_lancaster.pdf).
What other agencies can I call for help with housing or other services to help with my living costs?
Your best resource for information and referral services for many problems or support needs is United Way LINC (dial 211 or 717-291-5462 on your phone). They provide a free, confidential, up-to-date information and referral service that can provide you a referral for almost any problem. Visit their website at http://www.uwlanc.org/Need-Help.
If you are dealing with a physical disability, United Disability Services has programs and services to support your needs. Visit their website at http://www.udservices.org/services/.
If you need help with an aging parent or friend, the Lancaster County Office of Aging has a walk-in information and referral center where you can meet with a case worker to discuss any issue related to a senior including housing issues. They can be reached at 717-299-7979.
If you are stressed out and frustrated about how difficult your situation is, call the Contact Helpline at 717-299-4855 or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ContactLancaster.