A partnership between The Foundation for Delaware County and the Chester Housing Authority, the Housing Stability Program provides participants in the foundation’s Healthy Start and Nurse-Family Partnership programs with assistance and support in accessing affordable housing provided through the Chester Housing Authority.  Each year the Chester Housing Authority provides 10 housing choice vouchers and 10 public housing vouchers to be specifically utilized by participants in the foundation’s home-visiting programs. The goal of the program is to provide supportive case management services and safe, healthy, and affordable housing to for program participants in order to improve birth outcomes and the quality of life for the whole family.  Our housing stability team work closely with participants to ensure they are prepared and supported throughout the process of obtaining their new home. 

Safe and healthy housing is critical to health. When families are dealing with a leaky roof, mold in their home, or housing insecurity, it can be difficult to focus on a healthy pregnancy. In addition to having the support of case managers, nurses, health educators, and social workers, our Medical/Legal Partnership (MLP) program also offers legal assistance to clients who need help exercising their legal rights as they navigate the public housing system or manage housing issues.

The team has built relationships with landlords within Delaware County and continues to engage and educate them on the programs of the foundation and the benefits of having a home-visitor to support their tenants. Project staff have presented at several national conferences including the National Healthy Start Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Housing and Redevelopment Agencies (PAHRA). The program has been well received with an overwhelming number of referrals for a limited number of slots available. Resources have also been secured to support moving expenses and basic housing needs including security deposits.

The project was approved in November 2019 for funding by the Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development (DCED) as part of the Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Program. The foundation is grateful for the generous contributions of Bryn Mawr Trust, Keystone First, Meridian, S1 Medical, and WSFS, who made the Housing Stability Program possible. Each organization will receive tax credits through the Commonwealth’s Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Program.

The Housing Stability Program is a classic example of nonprofits combining resources to deliver enhanced service, said Steven A. Fischer, Executive Director of the Chester Housing Authority. “In operation for a year now, it has proven to be effective in housing younger families. By bringing together a multi-disciplinary team, we can better assist and educate consumers on the housing search itself, and on becoming good tenants in their community which ultimately reduces eviction rates. In 2020 as we experience the pandemic and staying home has been the mantra, it has proven to be that much more valuable,”.

For more information contact Ashlynn Wittmann at 610-497-7344.

Learn more about how Healthy Start and the Nurse-Family Partnership are improving maternal and children’s health care.