Bethlehem Housing Authority
4th Floor Offices
Bethlehem, Northampton County, PA


Section 8 Waiting List Status: Closed

The Bethlehem Housing Authority Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program waiting list is currently closed.

According to the housing authority's most recent 5 year plan completed in 2010, the Section 8 waiting list was open at that time.  In 2010, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher waiting list had a total of 624 families on it.  The Section 8 program experienced an annual turnover of 279 families.  Using those metrics, in 2010, it would have taken about 2 years and 3 months to get through the waiting list.

According to a news article in The Express Times in 2013, Bethlehem Housing Authority's Section 8 program was negatively affected by the Federal budget sequester and would not be issuing new vouchers as they turn over.  The total budget cut was $1 million of its $9.6 million annual budget for vouchers.  The housing authority had a reserve fund that allowed it to continue providing assistance to existing voucher holders but would not be filling any vacancies as vouchers became available.

However, the public housing waiting list is open and you can download the paper application here:

Did you know that you can apply for Section 8 anywhere in the country? If your local Section 8 waiting list is closed, you can apply to programs elsewhere. See all open waiting lists across the country on our Waiting Lists page.

Public Housing Waiting List Statuses

Family Senior Other
OpenOpenNot Applicable

The Bethlehem Housing Authority is currently accepting public housing waiting list applications for families and senior/disabled individuals.

This housing authority offers six communities dedicated to senior/disabled individuals, and five family communities, located throughout Bethlehem. For a complete list of each community this housing authority offers, please follow this link.

To apply for public housing please follow this link to download an application for public housing.

Once the application has been completed, it can be mailed or hand delivered to the housing authority, located at 645 Main St., Bethlehem, PA 18018, during normal office hours. Be sure to include supporting documents with your application if you are claiming a preference.

This housing authority does have a preference point system that may improve your spot on the waiting list: live and/or work in Bethlehem, employed, displaced by natural disaster, homeless, disabled, or veteran.

More information can be found by visiting the housing authority website at, or by calling 610-865-8301 during normal office hours.

Resident Characteristics
as of May 31, 2015

Bethlehem Housing Authority operates 1,454 affordable units across its public housing portfolio.

Bedroom Sizes of Public Housing Units

The bedroom sizes of Bethlehem Housing Authority public housing units range from studio apartments to 4 bedroom apartments. The housing authority’s public housing inventory includes: 6% studio apartments, 29% 1 bedroom apartments, 30% 2 bedroom apartments, 27% 3 bedroom apartments and 8% 4 bedroom apartments.

Vacancies in Public Housing Portfolio

As of Bethlehem Housing Authority’s most recent Resident Characteristics Report (May 31, 2015), the 16-month average number of units occupied was 1,432 out of a total 1,454 rental units. This represents a 16-month average vacany rate of 1.51%.

Family Type

Of the 734 households who reported head of household data in the housing authority’s most recent RCR report, 161 (21.93%) were elderly, 573 (78.07%) were non-elderly, 646 (88.01%) were disabled, 275 (37.47%) contained children and 606 (82.56%) were headed by a female.

Tenant Contributions to Rent

Residents of public housing pay rent based on their income. The rent contribution of the tenant is called the Total Tenant Payment (TTP). The TTP is generally 30% of a residents income with a $25 (National minimum) to $50 (some PHA’s) minimum rent. Based on the information in the most recent Resident Characteristics Report (May 31, 2015) the minimum rent in Bethlehem Housing Authority's public housing developments is $50.

The average tenant rent contribution for Bethlehem Housing Authority’s public housing developments is $336.

The average tenant contribution for elderly residents residing in all properties across the housing authority’s public housing portfolio is $261. The average rent payment for disabled residents is $262. The average TTP for non-elderly, non-disabled renters in the housing authority’s public housing units is $524. Households headed by females had a total tenant payment of $187.

Race and Ethnicity

The HUD Resident Characteristics Report provides updated Head of Household race and ethnicity data at the housing authority and property level. Across all properties in the Bethlehem Housing Authority portfolio, 8% of households identified as Black, 92% identified as White, and 72% identified as Hispanic or Latino.

Income of Public Housing Residents

HUD divides household income into four categories: Extremely Low Income (ELI) for households earning less than 30% of the median, Very Low Income (VLI) for households earning between 30% and 50% of the median, Low Income (LI) for households earning between 50% and 80% of the median and Above Low Income for households earning 81% of the median and over.

Of the public housing residents residing in Bethlehem Housing Authority properties, 1,065 were Extremely Low Income, 305 were Very Low Income, 49 were Low Income and 12 were Above Low Income.

The average annual income of public housing residents living in Bethlehem Housing Authority properties is $14,333. Of all public housing residents, 3% have no income and 10% earn more than $25,000 while 87% have incomes that fall between $0 and $25,000.

The HUD RCR data includes source of income information as well. The data includes five categories of family income: wage income, welfare income, SSI/SS/Pension income, other income and no income. Some families receive income in multiple categories.

Among families residing in Bethlehem Housing Authority public housing 32% have wage income, 82% have welfare income, 70% have SSI/SS/Pension income, 16% have other income and 0% have no income.

Household Information of Public Housing Residents

As of the last HUD RCR report (May 31, 2015), there were a total of 1,431 households containing 3,306 total persons residing in the housing authority’s public housing properties. The average household size across all properties in the housing authority’s public housing portfolio was 2.3.

Across all units operated by the housing authority, 37.47% of households included children. Across all household members in Bethlehem Housing Authority public houins units 13.1% are aged zero to five and 27.9% are aged 6 to 17.

14.4% of all residents across the housing authority were age 62 or older and are considered seniors while 44.7% of all residents were aged 18 to 61.

Length of Stay at Public Housing Properties

The HUD RCR report includes length of stay data for Bethlehem Housing Authority public housing communities. 15.79% of all families residing in public housing have lived there for less than 1 year, 7.48% have lived in public housing for 1 to 2 years while 76.73% have lived in public housing for more than 2 years.

Assisted Unit Distribution What is Housing Assistance?

The Bethlehem Housing Authority administers both a public housing and Section 8 housing voucher program. The housing authority owns and manages 7 projects which contain 1,453 affordable rental units. It also administers 497 Section 8 housing vouchers.

According to HUD, Bethlehem Housing Authority is determined to be a Large public housing authority, meaning it manages between 1,250 - 9,999 public housing units. Also according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the housing authority is designated as Medium Low, meaning it administers 250 - 499 Section 8 vouchers.

Comparing the housing assistance distribution of Bethlehem Housing Authority between Public Housing Units (75%) and Section 8 Housing Vouchers (25%) to that of all housing authorities in Pennsylvania, Bethlehem Housing Authority has a larger proportion of public housing units than the average housing authority. The housing authority’s proportion of Section 8 vouchers under management is larger than the average housing authority in Pennsylvania.

Source United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (, 2014)

SEMAP Performance What are SEMAP Scores?

Each year HUD reviews and scores the housing authority’s Section 8 program management based on 14 different criteria. This score is a reflection of how well the housing authority manages the Section 8 waiting list, the physical quality of housing assisted with Section 8 and the financial management of the program.

From 2001 to 2009, Bethlehem Housing Authority scored an average of 95 points as of the last set of publicly available data. The housing authority had a high score of 100 in 2002 and a low score of 72 in 2001. The average SEMAP Score for Housing Authorities in Pennsylvania is 79.00.

Bethlehem Housing Authority has an average score that is more than the average Pennsylvania housing authority. Higher SEMAP scores indicate more effective financial management, a smoother waiting list process and higher quality physical conditions at assisted properties.

Source President's Open Government Directive (, 2012)

Latest Public Housing Inspection Scores What are REAC Scores?

Every public housing project is inspected every one to three years by HUD.

Bethlehem Housing Authority manages 6 rental properties which, as of the last set of publicly available data, have an average inspection score of 68. The scores for properties managed by Bethlehem Housing Authority range from a high of 98 to a low of 0.

The highest scoring property in the Bethlehem Housing Authority portfolio is Lynfield Homes III and the lowest scoring property is Bayard Homes.

To be a passing score a public housing property must have a score of 60 or more. 67% of properties managed by Bethlehem Housing Authority have a passing score.

Source United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (, 2014)

Housing Authority Annual and 5 Year Plans

Public housing agencies, also called public housing authorities, which receive funding from HUD, are required to submit and receive approval from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development of both an Annual Plan and a 5 Year Plan. These plans establish each housing authority’s policies, strategies, programs and operations for meeting the housing needs of persons within their target area.

The housing authority plans include specific details about the cost of renovations to real estate (also known as capital improvements), changes to Section 8 HCV policies, planned redevelopment of public housing projects and other major administrative changes.

Following are the HUD-approved public housing agency plans for Bethlehem Housing Authority.

Year Date Approved Plan PDF Document
2012 3/6/12 Plan
2011 3/3/11 Plan
2010 3/23/10 Plan
2009 2/2/09 Plan
2008 3/3/08 Plan
2007 3/22/07 Plan
2006 3/13/06 Plan
2005 3/23/05 Plan
2004 4/5/04 Plan
2003 4/18/03 Plan
2002 3/12/02 Plan
2001 4/12/01 Plan
2000 8/18/00 Plan