About Us

In 1970, in response to requests from many Boroughs and Municipalities within Lehigh County, the Commissioners of Lehigh County created the Lehigh County Housing Authority (LCHA) to assist all Lehigh County communities in providing adequate housing of all types for all people.  Five members were appointed to the Board of the Lehigh County Housing Authority by the Lehigh County Commissioners.  These five original members, Clarence Aungst, Charles Rutz, Gene Smith, Bernard Sweeney and Fred Kalmbach were presented the challenge to form the organization and take on the task of developing housing options for those Lehigh County communities expressing a need. 

On March 10, 1970 LCHA held its first official meeting, electing Clarence Aungst as the first Chairman, a position he would hold for the next 23 years.  The Board began the exploration of the process of incorporating while at the same time developing strategies to determine how best to meet the communities needs for housing.  With the help of Lehigh County officials and staff from the Joint Planning Commission of Lehigh and Northampton Counties, LCHA spread the word that they were ready and willing to consider those housing needs and to seek out the methods and means of addressing those needs.  While going about the organizational process of developing by-laws and other documents, LCHA continued to meet on a regular basis to learn about available methods of creating housing.  This process revealed many different methods, the most promising being federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Farmers Home Administration (FHA).  Applications were developed for these programs at the request of several communities.  There were many attempts made and many failures in those earlier years, but each provided a valuable learning experience and LCHA only became more persistent.

In October of 1974, after many years of organizing LCHA, it was time to seek out incorporation.  The Board of LCHA resolved to be organized pursuant to the Housing Authorities Law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  To further facilitate that action the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners, citing a need for a housing authority in Lehigh County resolved to form the Lehigh County Housing Authority.  On June 3, 1975 a certificate was accepted by and filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs and LCHA was official.

The next step was for LCHA to begin to provide housing options for those in need.  Finally in April of 1976 LCHA received word from HUD that we would receive Section 8 program funding for 100 units.  This funding could be used to provide housing assistance in private apartments for 100 families, seniors and folks with disabilities living in Lehigh County.  Soon, more good news, LCHA was selected by the FHA for funding that would help to construct 34 one bedroom apartments for seniors in the Borough of Macungie.  In addition HUD had selected LCHA applications to build 75 one bedroom apartments for seniors in each Borough of Slatington, Fountain Hill and Emmaus.  Not long after LCHA received HUD funding to build 25 family apartments in Slatington, 25 family apartments in Coplay, 14 family apartments in Fountain Hill and 10 family apartments in Catasauqua.  The ball was rolling and by the mid-1980s LCHA had developed over 330 apartments of affordable housing for families, seniors and folks with disabilities living throughout Lehigh County.  In addition LCHA continued to apply for, and be awarded additional Section 8 funding. 

In 1982, LCHA recognized that there were programs making funding available for the development of affordable housing that was better suited for organizations with a slightly different structure than LCHA.  LCHA created Valley Housing Development Corporation (VHDC) as a nonprofit to be used to take advantage of these opportunities.  LCHA provided all staffing and expertise for VHDC as VHDC began the process of developing additional affordable housing apartments.  Through various funding mechanisms, both public and private, VHDC has developed over 1,300 apartments for families, seniors and folks with disabilities in both Lehigh and Northampton Counties.  VHDC is now a separate operating agency, with its own Board of Directors. However, VHDC does continue to use the experienced and dedicated staff of LCHA to administer its many programs and manage its many properties.

Today LCHA continues to provide many opportunities for folks in need of affordable housing.  The Section 8 program is now called the Housing Choice Voucher Program with funding for 1,400 apartments throughout the Lehigh Valley.  Through many different funding programs LCHA has over 500 apartments of subsidized and affordable housing that it owns and manages.  LCHA administers a Family Self Sufficiency program that offers families an opportunity to participate in a program that provides them opportunity to work with a caseworker to help them to develop a goal plan and gain access to educational and job programs so they can work toward an improved quality of life for their family.  LCHA offers programs that help house homeless families and folks with disabilities.

Today LCHA is a strong agency, led by a dedicated Board of Commissioners, and an equally dedicated staff that continues to pursue the challenges presented to those original Board members.  We recognize that there are still many folks in our community that need access to safe, decent, quality affordable housing.  We accept that challenge every day.