Programs
EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit)

What is it?  The EITC is a tax credit for people who work, but who do not have high incomes. If you qualify, you could pay less or no tax - even get a tax refund. To qualify, you must meet certain rules and file a tax return, even if you don't owe any tax or did not earn enough money to require filing a return.

Am I eligible?  The amount of the EITC varies - depending on total earnings, other income and certain other considerations.

For example:
You must be a US citizen, or a non-resident alien married to a US citizen.
If you do not have a qualifying child, you must be between 25and 65 years of age.
If you lived with one child in 2009 and your family earned less than $35,463, you are eligible. If you lived with 3 or more children in 2009 and your family earned less than $43,279, you are eligible.  Use form 1040 or 1040 A. If you had no children living with you in 2009 and you earned less than $13.440, and you were between the ages of 25 and 64, you are eligible. Use form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.

For more information, contact your nearest Bethlehem Housing Authority management office. The BHA also has informative posters at their offices. We will also be sending info to current residents through rent statement mailings!

Family Self-Sufficiency

BHA's Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) is designed to assist families in Public Housing (and Section 8) to achieve economic independance. The program helps by removing traditional obstacles to success and by improving life skills and providing job training, career development and educational opportunity.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE? The FSS program is open to all Public Housing and Section 8 tenants who are willing to enter into a contract with the BHA to establish goals and work toward economic self-sufficiency. Participants need only be residents in good standing with BHA.

HOW DOES IT  WORK? Each participating family is required to enter into a five-year contract. Once the family's goals , needs and barriers to achieving self-sufficiency are determined, an Individual Training and Services Plan will incorporate the path the family will take toward their goal.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?  When a family chooses to participate in the FSS program, BHA agrees to establish an escrow savings account during the contract term for the family. Each time the family's earned income increases (causing their rent to increase), they will earn credit for that amount in the interest bearing account. Upon successful completion of the contract, the family is entitled to the money accumulated in their account.  In addition to this financial incentive, participating families will also benefit from case management services, including appropriate referals to community resources and services!

For more FSS information, contact:

  Mirella Snow, FSS Manager
1429 Fritz Drive (The Northeast Office)
Bethlehem PA 18017
610-865-8372


Recreation

MISSION: "BHA recognizes the need to provide recreational and entertainment opportunities for all residents." To this end, the authority recreation department  sponsors recreation league softball and basketball teams for adults and basketball for school age kids. Director Robert Robinson runs trips to professional sporting events such as Phillies baseball , 76'ers basketball and Iron Pigs baseball. Residents have an opportunity each summer to visit Eagle training camp at Lehigh University and to attend Lehigh University athletic events year long.

SPECIAL EVENTS: Also for kids, the authority throws an end of the summer party at Blazer Field which includes games, refreshments and competition. A day-long basketball tournament is staged for teens, as well as  a softball throw, running races and more. The event is co-sponsored by community minded businesses and with the cooperation of the various tenant councils.  Trophies are provided for participants.

HAPPENINGS for adults: Older residents have ample opportunity to avail themselves of entertainment such as the popular "Fall Foliage Tour" in October, the "Christmas Lehigh Valley" events, trips to the Lehigh Valley Flower Show in March and now, shopping trips to local centers in the valley.  

WHAT"S NEXT?  BHA has partnered with Embrace Your Dreams and the First Tee organization to bring an exciting recreation program to Bethlehem. The First Tee at Marvine presents a terrific learning opportunity for BHA kids between the ages of 8 and 16. Participants will not only learn the game of golf, but they will be taught life lessons which will help them as adults. Call Mr. Robinson today to sign up your youngsters!




    Recreation Director
    Robert Robinson
    1161 Fritz Drive (The Fink Building)
       Bethlehem PA 18018
    484-239-0564



Tenant Selection Office (TSO)

ABOUT Tenant Selection: This  department is responsible for screening and placing applicants. TSO can answer any questions you may have regarding our programs.

When can you APPLY?  Any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at our office at Monocacy Tower (4th floor) 645 Main Street, Bethlehem. 610-865-8300. We accomodate persons with special needs.

WHO MAY APPLY? Any person who is income eligible and is either a head of family, or is handicapped or disabled.

Must I be on welfare, or  be unemployed? No!  Your rent is based upon 30% of your adjusted annual income and assets.

I am disabled; are there special apartments for me?  Yes. Some of our properties are specially designed to meet your needs. Call for more info!

 


    ABOUT HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHERS :  

  It's a rental assistance program which allows a tenant to rent an apartment anywhere in the country, under certain conditions. The tenant pays a percentage of their adjusted, anticipated income, less the cost of basic utilities.


Fair Market Rent Information
(Lehigh Valley and Warren County (NJ) Metropolitan Statistical Area)



                                CLICK Here for 2015 FMR  - Flat rents and income limits
 


For More Information , Contact:

Patricia Donchez
Section 8 Asst. Manager  610-865-8355
645 Main Street - 4th Floor
Bethlehem 18018

TDD  610-865-8333


Community Service
 
  WHAT IS IT?

The Quality Work and Housing Responsibility Act  of 1998 contained a component requiring able- bodied public housing residents to perform  community service for a minimum of eight hours  each month. Exempted from the program are                  seniors and the disabled , kids under the age of 18,  caregivers and those who  are employed at  least thirty hours per week.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
The authority will work closely with residents and assist them in finding suitable service arrangements.

                    This program is mandatory!

The performance of voluntary work or duties that are a public benefit, and that serve to improve the quality of life, enhance resident self-sufficiency, or increase self-responsibility in the community. CS is not employment and may not include political activities.

Each adult resident shall contribute 8 hours per month or participate in the FSS program for 8 hours per month, or a combination of each totalling 8 hours per month.


Service must be performed at a location within Lehigh and Northampton counties; the activity must be pre-approved by BHA. BHA staff will provide a list of possible organizations to residents, but service to those organizations will not be required. Residents must provide monthly verification to BHA confirming all service performed.


If BHA is able to identify appropriate community service work at its developments, it will offerthis opportunity to residents required to comply.

A resident may also satisfy the requirement by participating in Economic Self-Sufficiency programs; these programs include programs for job training employment counseling, work placement, basic skills training, education, English proficiency, workfare and more.


For more Community Service information
contact:
Mirella Snow, FSS Manager
1429 Fritz Drive
Bethlehem PA 18017
610-865-8372



In addition to being Bethlehem's number one source for affordable housing, the Bethlehem Housing Authority sponsors and provides programs which are designed to improve the quality of life for its residents!
Scroll down for information concerning EITC, Earned Income Disregard,  Family Self-Sufficiency, Recreation , Community Service, Tenant Selection and Housing Choice Vouchers.
Earned Income Disregard


Who qualifies for the EID?

A family with previously unemployed household  members. 

A family qualifies for the EID, if the family income increases as a result of the employment of a family member who was previously unemployed for one or more years.  There is no other limit on the time that the tenant must have been unemployed prior to gaining work.  The definition of previously unemployed includes a person who has earned in the past 12 months no more than the equivalent of 500 hours of work at the greater of the federal or state minimum wage.


For more information, contact your nearest Bethlehem Housing Authority management office.