Qualifying For Public Housing

To be determined eligible, the applicant, and other members of the applicant’s household must demonstrate through verified information of past and present conduct, the ability, either alone or with a reasonable accommodation, to meet the resident selection criteria found in this policy, including compliance with the terms of Fall River Housing Authority (FRHA) lease, and any other FRHA rules governing tenancy. In determining final eligibility, FRHA will, in all cases, consider mitigating circumstances including and not limited to incidents of domestic or dating violence or stalking, and any request for a reasonable accommodation on account of a disability.
 
There are six eligibility requirements applicants must meet for admission to public housing:

For Applicants

1. FAMILY STATUS The FRHA definition of “family” is consistent with 24 CFR 5.403 and includes, but is not limited to the following, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
 
A. TWO OR MORE PERSONS – A household of two or more persons related by blood, marriage, adoption or affinity intending to share residency whose income and resources are available to meet the family’s needs which includes but is not limited to:
 
1. A family with or without children. A child who is temporarily away from the home because of placement in foster care is considered a member of the family.
2. An elderly family
3. A near-elderly family
4. A disabled family
5. A displaced family
6. A remaining member of a tenant family.
 
B. SINGLE PERSON – A single person who may be an elderly person, displaced person, disabled person, near elderly person or any other single person.
ANNUAL INCOME
A. THRESHOLD REQUIREMENTS
To be eligible for admission, the family’s annual income must not exceed the income limits for occupancy established by HUD. Specifically, the family income cannot exceed 80 percent of the area median income for that family size at the time of admission.
 
B. APPLICABILITY
Income limits apply only at admission and are not applicable for continued occupancy or for transferring within the FRHA’s federal portfolio of public housing. However, families already residing in assisted housing administered by FRHA (or another housing authority) must meet the applicable income guidelines when applying to one of the FRHA’s other assisted housing programs. Similarly, if FRHA acquires or converts a property for federal public housing purposes, the incumbent families must meet the incomes guidelines for admission to maintain tenancy.
CITIZENSHIP AND ELIGIBLE IMMIGRATION STATUS
Housing assistance is available only to those individuals who are U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or noncitizens that have eligible immigration status. To be eligible for federally aided housing, least one (1) family member must be a citizen, national or noncitizen with eligible immigration status for the family to qualify for any level of assistance. When a family consists of those with citizenship or eligible immigration status, and those without eligible immigration status, assistance to the family must be prorated according to the Mixed Family formula.
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER REQUIREMENTS
A. APPLICABILITY Families must for each participant, except those age 62 or older as of January 31, 2010, whose initial determination was begun before January 31, 2010, disclose and provide verification of Social Security Numbers (SSN) for all family members prior to admission, if they have been issued a number by the Social Security Administration. This includes foster children, foster adults and live-in aides. This requirement also applies to persons joining the family after admission to the program. .
 
B. PENALTIES Pursuant to CFR 5.218 and Notice PIH 2012-10, FRHA must deny admission or terminate the family’s assistance, or both, if the family submits falsified SSN documentation. The Head of Household may not remove a household member from the family composition to avoid these penalties. Prorated assistance is not permitted in this situation. Admissions & Continued Occupancy Policy 7
 
C. EXEMPTIONS Individuals who do not contend eligible immigration status (“non-contending” family members in a mixed family paying prorated rent) are exempt from the Social Security Number requirement.
 
D. YOUTH A child’s SSN must be disclosed within 90 days of the child’s addition to the household. An additional 90 days will be granted if FRHA determines that failure to comply was outside the control of the resident or was due to unforeseen circumstances.
SIGNED AUTHORIZATIONS
A. AUTHORIZATION FOR RELEASE OF INFORMATION AND PRIVACY ACT NOTICE
All adult members (and head and spouse regardless of age) of both applicant and tenant households are required to sign Federal Privacy Act Statement/HUD Authorization for Release of Information (HUD Form 9886) as a condition of initial or continuing eligibility (24 CFR 5.230). Any request for third-party verification on an applicant or tenant will not be released unless there is a signed release of information. This form contains:
 
1. A provision authorizing HUD or the FRHA State Wage Information Collection Agencies (SWICAs) any information or materials necessary to complete or verify the application for participation or for eligibility for continued occupancy; and
2. A provision authorizing HUD or the FRHA to verify with previous or current employer’s income information pertinent to the family’s eligibility for or level of assistance;
3. A provision authorizing HUD to request income information from the IRS and the SSA for the sole purpose of verifying income information pertinent to the family’s eligibility or level of benefits; and
4. A statement that the consent form expires 15 months after the date it was signed
 
B. SUPPLEMENT TO APPLICATION FOR FEDERALLY ASSISTED HOUSING
To provide applicants the option to include information on an individual or organization that may be contacted to assist in providing services or special care to those who become tenants, and to assist with resolving any tenancy issues, the FRHA includes form HUD-92006 as part of the application for federally assisted housing.
SUITABILITY
A. SCREENING POLICY
In selection of families for admission to public housing program, a FRHA is responsible for screening family behavior and suitability for tenancy. The FRHA will look at past conduct as an indicator of future conduct. Emphasis will be placed on whether a family’s admission could reasonably be expected to have a detrimental effect on the development environment, other Fall River Housing Authority 8 tenants, FRHA employees, or other people residing in the immediate vicinity of the property. Otherwise, eligible families will be denied admission if they fail to meet the suitability criteria. The same suitability criteria used for applicants are used for a person or persons joining a family already in occupancy (See: Chapter 9.2: Adding a New Household Member to Lease).
 
B. SUITABILITY CRITERIA
The FRHA will consider objective and reasonable aspects of the family’s background, including the following:
 
1. History of meeting financial obligations, especially rent;
2. Ability to maintain (or with assistance would have the ability to maintain) their housing in a decent and safe condition;
3. History of criminal activity by any household member involving crimes of physical violence against persons or property and any other criminal activity including drug[1]related criminal activity that would adversely affect the health, safety, or well-being of other tenants or staff or cause damage to the property;
4. History of disturbing neighbors or destruction of property;
5. Having committed fraud in connection with any Federal housing assistance program, including the intentional misrepresentation of information related to their housing application or benefits derived there from; and
6. History of abusing alcohol in a way that may interfere with the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment by others.
7. Debts owed to FRHA or other housing authorities.
LOOK BACK PERIODS FOR CRIMINAL RECORDS
1. Introduction: The Fall River Housing Authority (FRHA) shall institute protocols to assure that its procedures and standards for the review of criminal records in applicant screening are consistently applied. FRHA shall continue to consider the applicant’s criminal history and the degree to which the individual’s conduct might threaten the health, safety and right to peaceful enjoyment of FRHA residents.
 
2. Arrest Records: Pursuant to HUD Notice PIH 2015-19, which states “arrest records may not be the basis for denying admission”, FRHA shall not deny admission to public housing on the basis of an arrest record alone. An arrest record may, however, trigger an inquiry into whether a person engaged in disqualifying criminal activity. As part of such an inquiry, FRHA may consider (1) details of the arrest in the police report; (2) statements made by witnesses or by the applicant; (3) whether formal criminal charges were filed; and/or (4) whether any charges were ultimately withdrawn, abandoned, dismissed, or resulted in an acquittal. Arrest-related evidence obtained and reviewed by FRHA may be used to determine whether an applicant engaged in disqualifying criminal conduct.
 
3. Conviction Records: The best evidence of a person’s involvement in criminal activity is an official record of the person’s conviction in a court of law. The types of convictions considered during the screening process shall be those which would bear a relationship to the safety and security of other residents. Additionally, FRHA shall consider the length of time since the conviction. This will be achieved through the adoption of look-back periods so that decisions are based on when the conduct occurred in addition to the type of conduct. FRHA shall adhere to the following guidelines for screening for criminal Admissions & Continued Occupancy Policy 9 histories. An applicant will be determined ineligible when their record shows one (1) or more convictions for a crime within its corresponding look-back period. Convictions for such crimes prior to the beginning of the look-back period will not be grounds for denial.
 
4. Applicant’s Right to Informal Review: Following a determination of ineligibility, the applicant must be given the opportunity to present written or oral objections to FRHA’s decision and present evidence of mitigating circumstances and/or request for reasonable accommodations based on a disability.
 
In accordance with 24 CFR 982.554 (b), FRHA shall notify an applicant in writing of a determination of ineligibility and the notice shall:
 
• State the reason(s) for the decision;
• Inform the applicant of his/her right request an informal review of the decision; and
• Describe how to obtain the informal review.
 
Applicants shall have 20 calendar days from the date of their Denial Notice to request an Informal Review. The informal review may be conducted by any person designated by FRHA, other than a person who made or approved the decision under review or any subordinate of this person.
 
Prior to the Informal Review and at the applicant’s expense, FRHA must provide the applicant with copies of any documents used to determine ineligibility of admission upon request. The applicant has the right to be represented by legal counsel, a tenant rights advocate or person of their choosing at the applicant’s expense.
 
FRHA must notify the applicant of the final decision within 20 calendar days after the informal review, including a brief statement of the reasons for the final decision. Until a final determination is made, the applicant shall maintain his/her position on the waiting list.
 
Copy of criminal records will be retained only for the period of denial and the review process. Criminal records not relevant to the denial process will be destroyed.