Fair Housing Should Be a Right to All Pennsylvanians

Fairness in PA Housing Includes People of All Ages, Abilities, and Income Levels

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) believes that housing is a right for all Pennsylvanians. Our mission is to ensure that housing assistance is available to all, especially those who need it most.

April was National Fair Housing Month. April 11, 2022, marked the 54th anniversary of the enactment of the federal Fair Housing Act, which protects people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities. Initially, the Fair Housing Act prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin. Later, the Act’s protections were expanded to include discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and familial status.

Pennsylvania has a variety of housing programs and services that can help older adults, people with disabilities, individuals and families with low incomes, or those who are at-risk of or experiencing, homelessness. These programs can connect individuals and families with local assistance in finding somewhere to live, in-home supports, home modifications, and more.

What Type of Housing Assistance is Available?

Here are some of the types of services that exist:

  • Housing search — Tools to locate housing in your area.
  • Homeless shelters — Temporary residences for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
  • Short-term housing — Housing options that typically offer leases of less than six months.
  • Relocation assistance — Assistance with downsizing and relocation.
  • Assisted living facilities — A long-term senior care option that provides personal care support services such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing and transportation.
  • Housing modifications — Assistance with home improvements, modifications, and repairs that improve the accessibility, adaptability, and/or design of a home.
  • Home and community-based supports — Services that provide assistance with a variety of activities to help individuals remain in their home or community.

Housing Resources for Pennsylvanians

  • Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) Housing Resources
    In the Quick Start Housing Resources section, PHFA and the Self-Determination Housing Project’s Regional Housing Coordinators have compiled local housing and social services resources for every county across the Commonwealth, including variety of housing providers such as housing authorities, homeless services providers, access home modification programs, community action agencies, and more.
  • PA Housing Search
    www.pahousingsearch.com | 1-877-428-8844
    This is a free, online rental and homeownership service that helps people search for housing by topics such as rent amount, area of interest, accessibility, or availability of public transportation. A bi-lingual, toll-free number is also available. On the website, you can also find additional statewide information and resources, including a rental checklist, rent calculator, information on services, transportation, FAQs related to renting, and much more.
  • Public Housing Authorities

    If you need public housing assistance or information about public housing programs, such as Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs), please contact your local public housing authority (PHA). The HCV program is the federal government’s major program that assists families with with low incomes, older adults, and individuals with disabilities obtain safe and sanitary housing in the private housing market. Pennsylvania’s list of PHAs and contact information can be found at the above link.
  • PA LINK to Community Care
    Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) are a nationwide effort to assist older adults and individuals with disabilities who need help with activities of daily living. The ADRC in Pennsylvania is known as the Link. The PA Link can: easily connect you to local services through any LINK partner agency; help you explore existing options to ensure a secure plan for independence; assist you with applications to determine eligibility; and help you remain in, or return to, your community.
  • Rural Development Multi-Family Rental Housing Search Tool
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s web-based rural housing search tool allows you to click on your county to find information about housing in your area.
  • 2-1-1 United Way
    www.pa211.org | Call: 2-1-1
    PA 2-1-1 is a free resource and information hub that can connect you with customized health, housing, and human services information. By calling 211, you can receive information related to food, housing, employment, health care, along with a variety of other services. PA 2-1-1 also provides a 24/7 confidential phone service and website. For individuals facing a housing crisis, you can also ask for support in learning how to connect to your community’s Coordinated Entry lead and partner agencies. 2-1-1 provides this services in some communities, and can connect you to resources.
  • DHS Emergency Rental Assistance Program 
    The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) was created to help renters dealing with financial challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For eligible households, the program offers rental and utility assistance to help Pennsylvanians avoid eviction or loss of utility service. Certain PA counties may still have funding available to help landlords and renters at risk of eviction or losing utility services because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

File a Complaint

Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC)
In Pennsylvania, fair housing is enforced by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC), under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA). The Act prohibits housing discrimination in the sale, rental, finance, or otherwise to deny or withhold any housing accommodation or commercial property from any person based on race, color, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, sex, familial status, or use of a supportive/service animal for a disability. If you feel you have been the victim of illegal housing and commercial property discrimination, file a complaint or report a bias incident to PHRC:

  • Call the Pennsylvania Fair Housing Hotline at 855-866-5718.
  • Call 717-787-4410 | 717-787-7279 (TTY)
  • Visit one of PHRC’s three regional offices.
    (Regional offices are currently closed due to COVID-19 precautions. Drop boxes for required forms are available in the lobby of the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh offices.)

Pennsylvania Attorney General
The Civil Rights Enforcement Section of the PA Attorney General’s Office protects and advances the rights of Pennsylvanians through the enforcement of state and federal civil rights laws. The office reviews every complaint of a civil rights violation to determine the proper response.

Additional Fair Housing Resources