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Frequently Asked Questions for Elderly/Disabled Public Housing

How many developments does the BHA have?
The BHA has 63 developments in almost every neighborhood in the City of Boston. There are 37 elderly/disabled and 26 family developments. The BHA also has some scattered site condominium units throughout the city.

What areas are part of the City of Boston?
The City of Boston includes the neighborhoods of Allston, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Brighton, Charlestown, Chinatown, Dorchester, Downtown, East Boston, Fenway-Kenmore, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, North End, Roslindale, Roxbury, South Boston, South End and West Roxbury.

Can anyone apply for housing in the elderly/disabled housing program?
No. State funded developments require applicants to be 60 or older and/or disabled. Federal developments require applicants to be 62 or older and/or disabled. Those who need more than 2 bedrooms, as defined by BHA regulations and state occupancy laws, cannot apply for the elderly/disabled housing program. There are also income limits for all developments.

Who decides what size apartment I need?
The BHA is required to follow certain occupancy standards that limit the number of residents according to the number of bedrooms. The following is a basic guide (exceptions follow):
Family size/ eligible for:
1 person/ 0-1 BR
2 people/ 1-2 BR
3 people/ 2-3 BR
4 people/ 2-4 BR


A living room will not be counted as a bedroom, except in studios. The head of household and spouse or partner shall be entitled to one bedroom. Household members under 25 who are of the same gender shall share a bedroom, with the following exemptions:
A. If one houshold member is over 14, s/he may not be required to share a bedroom with a member who is more than 10 years younger.
B. Household members of different genders or generations are not required to share bedrooms.

Can I apply for both the elderly/disabled housing program and rental assistance (Section 8)?
No, the Rental Assistance (Section 8) Program is currently closed to new applicants.

Can I apply for both the family public housing program and elderly/disabled housing?
Yes, but you must meet all the requirements for the elderly/disabled public housing program. One application can be used for both programs.

Can I choose the elderly/disabled development I would like to live in?
Yes, applicants may select as many developments as they would like.

How do I apply?
The forms necessary to apply for elderly/disabled public housing are available on this website. The next pages will explain in greater detail what forms are required and how to complete and submit them.

What happens after I apply?
Within 4 to 6 weeks from the date of receipt, you will be mailed a "Notice of Preliminary Eligibility" from the BHA. This notice certifies that your application has been processed and confirms your placement on the waiting list based only on the income and family composition information you provided. This notice will contain your client control number. This number should be used for ALL future correspondence with the BHA.

What is a client control number?
A client control number is a number assigned to every BHA applicant and resident. This number will be requested by BHA staff anytime an applicant or resident speaks with a BHA staff member. It can also be used to check on an applicant's place on the waiting list.

Does the BHA check an applicant's past history in order to determine if he/she is eligible for housing?
Yes. The BHA checks an applicant's past rental history and also does a criminal records check to help determine if an applicant is eligible for housing. If an applicant is determined not eligible for housing, the applicant has the right to file an appeal with the BHA. For more information on filing an appeal, applicants may call the BHA's Office of Civil Rights at 617-988-4383.

Iíve already applied for public housing and am wondering what my placement on the waiting list or my status is. Is there a number I can call to find out?
Yes. If you are an applicant you may call 617-988-4200 to check your application status. Please have your client number ready.
You may also check your status using a from online at: Check Status by E-mail. You will receive a response through e-mail.

How long does it take to receive a housing offer from the BHA?
The amount of time it takes to receive BHA housing depends on the level of priority, date of application, unit size needed and current demand. Therefore, it is very difficult for the BHA to predict how long a housing offer will take.

What will I be expected to pay for rent?
Residents of BHA public housing are expected to pay 30% of their total household income for rent. Residents can also elect to pay a flat rent in the federally funded developments. The current flat rents are:
$667 for studios
$752 for 1BRs
$940 for 2BRs
$1,176 for 3BRs
$1,380 for 4BRs or larger.

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