Public Housing


The Public Housing Program provides subsidized housing to qualified low income families, senior citizens and persons with disabilities.  Public Housing is intended for low income persons and families who would find it difficult or impossible to afford rental housing at market rates.

The Housing Authority owns and manages 726 rental housing units in 15 buildings and developments in Dauphin County outside the City of Harrisburg.  The Housing Authority receives financial support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which allows it to lease apartments at affordable rents to lower income individuals and families.  (Please see the listing of locations at end of this narrative.)

Ten of these buildings/developments are located in the greater Harrisburg area and five buildings/developments are located in the northern, more rural areas of Dauphin County. The buildings and developments in northern Dauphin County are approximately 40 - 50 miles driving distance from center city Harrisburg.


When the waiting list is open for the number of bedrooms needed and the geographical area desired, families and individuals can fill out a paper or electronic application and send it to the Housing Authority.  Applicants who appear eligible are placed on a waiting list in the order of date and time received and preferences claimed.  As applicants come to the top of the waiting list they are sent letters to determine whether they are still interested and, if so, to obtain current information.   After an interview, applicant information is verified and eligibility determined.  Eligibility criteria include income, housekeeping, rental history, criminal history and financial responsibility.   If an applicant is determined eligible for Public Housing, the applicant must wait until the correct size unit is available.  The applicant is then offered a unit that meets the individual’s or family’s needs.  If the individual/family accepts the unit, the unit is leased to them at the earliest opportunity.  If the individual rejects the unit without good cause, the applicant must go back on the waiting list with the rejection date as the new date of application.


A Public Housing resident family pays rent based on the family’s annual income.   Annual income is defined by HUD as including all amounts, monetary and non-monetary, that go to, or on behalf of the family head or spouse (even if temporarily absent) or to any other family member or are anticipated to be received from a source outside the family in the 12 months following admission or following  the effective date of the annual reexamination.   Please note that employment income of family members under the age of 18 is not included as Annual Income; however, welfare assistance, social security payments, and other non-earned income paid to children is always included in Annual Income.


By law, a tenant family pays no more than 30% of its adjusted household income for rent including utilities.  (See also Flat Rents below.)  In addition to the dwelling unit, the rent payment also includes the use of a range and refrigerator and trash collection.    In some buildings, all utilities are included.  In others, tenants must pay electric and/or natural gas; however, when tenants are responsible for the payment of utilities, a utility allowance is provided either in the form of a dollar amount or a consumption amount.

Income-based rents are calculated using adjusted income.  After determining the annual income of the household, a set of mandatory statutory deductions is applied.   The statutory deductions are as follows:

*    $ 480  for each dependent;
*    $ 400 for each elderly for disabled family;
*    Any reasonable child care expenses necessary to enable a family member to be employed, actively seek employment or to further his or her education; and

The sum of the following items, to the extent that the sum exceeds 3% of Annual Income:

*    Unreimbursed medical expenses for any elderly or disabled family; and
*    Unreimbursed reasonable attendant and auxiliary apparatus expenses for each member of the family who is a person with a disability needed to enable an adult family member (including the member who is a person  with disabilities) to work, but this allowance may not exceed the earned income of the family members, age 18 and over, who are able to work because of such attendant care or apparatus.

Income Based Rent and Minimum Rent

The federal formula for income-based rent provides that a family’s Total Tenant Payment is the highest of :

*    10% of monthly income; or
*    30% of adjusted monthly income.

But never less than the,

*     Minimum Rent of $ 50, except  where a family has been exempted from the minimum rent because of financial hardship.

Flat Rents

As the name suggests, a Flat Rent is the fixed amount a tenant would pay for a particular apartment regardless of changes in the tenant’s income.  Flat Rents are similar to fixed rents established by private owners of rental properties and take into consideration location, quality, unit size, unit type, age of the property, amenities, services provided and utilities provided.  One advantage of a flat rent is that the tenant knows exactly how much rent he/she will have to pay each month regardless of changes in the family’s income.  Also, the family paying a flat rent does not have the disincentive of a rent increase if its household income increases.

Rent Choice

Once each year, in conjunction with the recertification process, the Housing Authority offers families the choice between a flat rent or an income-based rent.  At any time families experiencing financial hardship and unable to pay flat rents because their situations have changed can opt to switch to an income-based rent.


The Housing Authority (the landlord) is required to provide a decent, safe, and sanitary dwelling that adequately accommodates each tenant family accepted for admission.

The Authority offers a flexible month to month lease. The tenant is asked to pay a security deposit which is placed in a savings account in the name of the tenant.

The tenant is required to pay rent and other charges promptly every month, to take reasonable care of the apartment and to conduct himself/herself in such a manner so as not to disturb or other tenants' peaceful enjoyment of their accommodations.  The tenant is required to observe all provisions of the lease and related policies such as the Pet Policy, the Housekeeping Standards, and the Tenant Guide/Management Regulations as well as any “House Rules” that may be adopted in the building or development where the individual or family lives.

Tenants who violate the lease are ordinarily given a warning in order for them to correct their behavior.  If the lease violation continues after the warning, their lease will be terminated.  In cases of serious lease violations such as those involving illegal drugs or violent criminal behavior, a termination letter can be issued immediately and tenant will not be able to use the grievance procedure.


Certain Authority buildings  and developments are intended for occupancy by elderly persons and persons  with disabilities. You may be eligible for “senior citizen”  housing if you meet the following requirements:

*    AGE or DISABILITY  You are 50 years of age or older OR disabled. For couples, at       least one spouse must meet this eligibility qualification.
*    INCOME  Your total household income does not exceed the current income limits set     by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
*    OTHER CRITERIA  You have met your financial obligations, have not committed          objectionable criminal acts in the past or demonstrated other behavioral problems in    the past that likely would disturb other tenants, and can maintain your apartment in    good condition.

Designation as an “elderly only” building

Hoy Towers has been designated as an “elderly” building.  This means that at this time all new tenants admitted for residency at Hoy Towers must be at least 55 years of age.   At this time, Hoy Towers is the only building to receive such designation; however, the Authority is also seeking designation for Bistline House and Latsha Towers.


*    The Housing Authority's apartment buildings for the elderly are located in pleasant, safe residential neighborhoods.
*    Many of the apartment buildings are on or near bus routes.
*    Hoy Towers and Bistline House are designated Senior Citizen Centers. A noon meal is served at both locations through the Senior Citizen Center Nutrition Program.
*    All apartment buildings have coin operated laundry facilities on site.
*    Apartment buildings have automatic front entrance doors, card access systems, intercom systems in the vestibule, and Hoy Towers, Bistline House and Latsha Towers have camera surveillance systems.
*    All high rise and mid rise buildings have up to date fire alarm systems. Most buildings have sprinkler systems.
*    All elderly facilities have some apartments that have been modified for the physically disabled.
*    Frost free refrigerators
*    All multi story buildings have elevators.


All Public Housing Residents must complete, sign and return a reexamination form annually.  This form focuses primarily on household income and composition.  The family is also required to report changes in income to the Authority between reexamination dates.   The Authority verifies the updated household income information and determines a new family rent effective on the family’s reexamination date.


This Public Housing section of the Housing Authority’s website presents a rather broad overview of its Public Housing Program.   For more information, please also review the Authority’s current Public Housing Lease and Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP).


The Housing Authority operates 15 Public Housing buildings/developments located throughout Dauphin County.  Ten buildings/developments are located in the greater Harrisburg area while five buildings/developments are located in the northern, more rural areas of Dauphin County.  The  buildings/developments in northern Dauphin County are  40 - 50 miles from center city Harrisburg.

Municipality            Bldg./Development            Address                    No. Of Apts.         Type


Highspire Borough        HIGHSPIRE APTS.            47 Ann St.                40         elderly

Middletown Borough        GENESIS COURT            Watson & Lawrence Sts.        43         family

Middletown Borough        ESSEX HOUSE            320 Market St.            50         elderly

Steelton Borough        COLE CREST            Nelly Ct., Wood St.             100         family/elderly

Steelton Borough        GRIFFITH HOUSE            800 Wood St.               40         elderly

Steelton Borough        STEELTON FAMILY HSNG.    218 - 232 S. 2nd St.            18          family
125 - 135 Penn St.
138 - 144 Conestoga St.

Swatara Township        LANG MANOR            Watson & Conestoga Sts.        41         family

Swatara Township        HOY TOWERS             301 Mohn St.             100        elderly

Swatara Township        BISTLINE HOUSE                 1291 S. 28th St.               80         elderly

Swatara Township        LATSHA TOWERS            501 Mohn St.            75         elderly


Gratz Borough              GRATZ PARK TERRACE        100 South West St.            30         elderly

Lykens Borough            RATTLING CREEK APTS.        15 S. 2nd St.            37         elderly

Wiconisco Borough        MINNICH TERRACE        Pottsville St.            20         family

Williamstown Borough        GRUBB TERRACE            315 -321 East Market St.        10         family
310 & 312 Grubb St.
310 - 316 Vine St.        

Williams Township        LAUREL HILL            Maple Lane & Autumn Dr.    40         family

Note:   Elderly means developments whose occupancy is intended for individuals 62 years of age or older, although individuals between the ages of 50 years and 62 years are also considered as well as persons with permanent disabilities.

Family means developments whose occupancy is open to all eligible applicants.

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*    Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy
*    Lease
*    Pet Policy
*    Grievance Procedure
*    Housekeeping Standards
*    Tenant Guide/Mgmt. Regs
*    Satellite Dish Policy


*    Public Housing Application (Paper)
*    Transfer Request
*    Application to Install Satellite Dish
*    Application for Permission to Use Community Room