Public housing

The Berks County Housing Authority will manage public housing in Northampton County

The Berks County Housing Authority supports the operation of public housing in Northampton County.

Northampton County Commissioners have chosen authority to run their Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher scheme, two public housing estates and a low income housing tax credit property. The authority will assume this role from August.

The Northampton County Housing Authority was previously run by the Lehigh County Housing Authority, which was hired in 2014 when the Northampton County Authority changed hands and needed help restructuring its program and fixing auditing issues .

Gwen Didden, executive director of the Berks County Housing Authority, said the authority was delighted to take on the new role.

“The board felt this was a good fit for our two organizations as they are similar in size and share common tenant-focused values,” she said. “It also aligns with the authority’s goals to expand our property management services and finally, the power of two limited resources can be extended further when sharing tasks.”

Didden said the Berks Authority will hire several staff members in the coming weeks to fill some positions in Northampton, but several key staff members will split time and duties between the two counties. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development covers the cost of running the program.

Members of the Northampton County Housing Authority said they decided to partner with Berks. They noted in a press release that Didden is passionate about giving voice to the voiceless.

“Didden brings an open communication style, a hands-on approach and a great level of experience to the table,” they said. “She currently leads BCHA programs and has created programs that have fostered a highly desirable living environment for tenants. She has also supported six counties as a landlord-tenant advocate and led several nonprofit organizations.