Boston Housing Authority

Policies > Admissions And Continued Occupancy Policy Ch 4: Public Housing Waiting Lists

Admissions And Continued Occupancy Policy

Chapter 4:Public Housing Waiting Lists

4.1 Waiting List Management

In the state housing program the BHA shall maintain separate waiting lists for each of its public housing developments. For its federal housing programs the BHA shall maintain waiting lists based on individual developments or on the designated Asset Management Projects (AMPs). In the event that any two or more developments are designated as one AMP, the BHA may continue to maintain a separate site-based waiting list for each development if HUD regulations and policies allow. If required by HUD the BHA shall combine the site-based waiting lists into one consolidated AMP-based list, after giving notice to the affected applicants on those waiting lists. It is the policy of the BHA to administer its waiting lists as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) regulations and any approved waivers to said regulations.

4.1.1  Opening and Closing Waiting Lists

1.  With respect to one or more development waiting lists/AMP waiting list, the BHA may limit application intake, suspend application intake and close waiting lists in whole or in part except as otherwise provided in Federal or State regulations.  The BHA will also update its waiting lists by removing the names of those Applicants who are no longer interested or no longer qualify for housing or cannot be reached by mail, utilizing information provided by the Applicant and in accordance with procedures in 4.1.3.

2.  During the period when a waiting list is closed, the BHA will not maintain a list of individuals who wish to be notified when the waiting list is reopened.

4.1.2  Determining if a Waiting List may be Closed

The BHA will use the following method to determine whether the waiting list for a public housing development/AMP will be partially or completely closed. The BHA may elect to close the list by Priority and/or Preference category and by bedroom size.
 
1.         How to Determine When a Waiting List May Be Closed

a.    Staff will compute the average number of move-ins to each public housing development/AMP per year by bedroom size. In addition, staff will compute the average number of move-ins over the past two years by apartment size.

b.    Each waiting list will then be examined to determine how many applicants are already on the waiting lists.

c.     If the number of applicants on the waiting lists is not sufficient to fill the average number of move-ins by bedroom size per year, the waiting list will not be closed.

d.    If the BHA determines that the Applicant pool is large enough to fill the estimated amount of available units for the next twelve (12) months, the BHA may close all waiting lists or close only specific waiting lists, or keep part(s) of the waiting list(s) open based on program needs.

e.    At any point after the waiting list has been closed, if the number of applicants drops below the number of applicants needed to fill the average number of move-ins per year, the BHA will re-open the waiting lists and begin accepting new Applications.  The BHA may elect to re-open a waiting list in whole or in part. For example, the BHA may elect to accept applications only from individuals who appear to qualify for Priority categories or Applicants with disabilities who require an Accessible Apartment or an apartment with special features or for certain bedroom sizes.

f.     When the waiting list is to be closed or re-opened, notification will be placed in the lobby of BHA’s central office Housing Service Center, development management offices, social service agencies and other housing application centers and notices will be placed in the media. The notification and notices will specify the development(s)/AMP(s) waiting list(s) affected by the closing or re-opening.

BHA will notify HUD and DHCD prior to closing and re-opening of any waiting list.

4.1.3  Removal of Applications from All Waiting Lists

Applicant's names will be removed from the Waiting Lists of all developments/AMPs they have selected by:

  • being housed
  • being withdrawn (See Section 4.1.3.1)
  • being determined Ineligible ( See Section 4.1.3.2)

In addition, an applicant may withdraw from any or all of the BHA waiting lists at any time by their own written request.
Applicants whose applications are removed from any waiting list are entitled to an informal hearing where they may appeal this decision. A Request for an appeal must be made in writing and must be received by the BHA within 20 calendar days of the date of the notice removing them from the waiting list
The BHA will hold the files of Applicants removed from any waiting list for seven (7) years.

1.  Withdrawal of an Application

Circumstances that will lead to withdrawal of an Applicant's name from any or all waiting lists include:

a.   The Applicant requests in writing that his/her name be removed; OR

b.   The BHA has made reasonable efforts to contact the Applicant to determine continued interest or to schedule an interview but has been unsuccessful.   Properly addressed correspondence mailed (or sent by other methods designated by an Applicant who is a Disabled Person ) to the latest address provided by the Applicant in writing that is returned by the U.S. Postal Service shall constitute documentation of a reasonable effort to contact the Applicant; OR

c.   Failure of the Applicant to keep an appointment:

1.         If an Applicant fails to keep an appointment and fails to notify the Authority, within ten days, of his/her inability to keep an appointment, his/her name will be withdrawn from all waiting lists.  A statement to this effect will appear on the forms used by BHA to advise Applicants of scheduled interviews or of information required.
2.         The Authority will consider Mitigating Circumstances such as health problems, incidents of domestic or dating violence or stalking, or lack of transportation in evaluating whether the Application should be withdrawn as described above.  The Authority will also consider a reasonable accommodation that may be necessary for Applicants who are Disabled Persons to keep appointments or provide information.  Consideration of Mitigating Circumstances does not relieve the Applicant of the responsibility to provide the information or notify the BHA in writing.

d.   The Applicant has failed to supply sufficient information necessary for screening, see Chapter 5.

e.   Refusal of an appropriate offer of housing for reasons other than those that qualify as a basis for Reasonable Accommodation will result in withdrawal of the Application from all waiting lists.

f.   Failure to respond to the BHA’s annual waiting list update.

2.  Determination of Ineligibility

Applications will be determined Ineligible for the following reasons:

  1. The Applicant failed to pay an outstanding balance owed to the BHA or other Federal or State housing assistance program;

  2. The Applicant failed to meet the Applicant selection or home visit criteria pursuant to this policy;

  3. The Applicant failed to pay a previous utility balance that result in a current denial of service by the utility supplier to the Applicant.

3.  Notice of Withdrawal or Ineligibility

Applicants removed from a waiting list (s) will receive a written notice, which will:

  1. Inform the Applicant why s/he is being withdrawn or determined Ineligible;

  2. Advise the Applicant of his/her right to request an appeal of the action in an informal hearing within twenty (20) calendar days of the date of the notice.  Such request must be in writing and must state clearly the Applicant’s reason for requesting the informal hearing.

  3. Advise the Applicant that if s/he or a Household Member has a disability, or is a victim of domestic or dating violence or stalking not previously disclosed that the disclosure of such condition or situation would initiate the consideration of Mitigating Circumstances and/or Reasonable Accommodation.

  4. Advise the applicant of his/her right to contest Applicant Background Check and Eviction Report information or CORI information in accordance with Federal and State law if that is a basis for determination of Ineligibility.

  5. Provide a description of BHA’s Informal Hearing process and advise Applicants that they have a right to be represented by an attorney or other individual at the informal hearing, review the contents of their file in advance of the hearing, the right to submit additional documents and evidence at the hearing, the right to request a reasonable accommodation and the right, after receiving a decision, to request reconsideration.

  6. Explain the rights of an Applicant to a state aided program to request a review of the decision by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development within twenty-one (21) calendar days of the initial decision or after a decision on reconsideration.

4.1.4  Applicant Appeals – Informal Hearings

1.  Right to an Informal Hearing

All Applicants who are determined Ineligible for admission, issued a Notice of Withdrawal, denied Priority status or Preference(s)or denied Reasonable Accommodation or Good Cause by the BHA will be sent a notice that:

  1. Informs the Applicant of the reason(s) for Ineligibility, withdrawal or denial of Priority status or Preference(s)or denial of Reasonable Accommodation or Good Cause ;

  2. Advises the Applicant of his/her right to contest the decision in an informal hearing provided a request for a hearing is received within 20 calendar days of the date the Notice of Adverse Action is issued.  Such request must be in writing and must state clearly the basis for requesting the informal hearing and be sent to the address provided on the notice. The BHA will grant a request for a hearing when the applicant submits a late request, but submits evidence of compelling circumstances, such as a health condition or domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, that prevented the applicant from requesting a hearing within twenty days or if documents the need for a reasonable accommodation.

  3. Advises the Applicant of his/her right to contest Applicant Background Check and Eviction Report information and/or CORI information in accordance with Federal and/or State law if that is the basis for determination of Ineligibility;

  4. Advises the Applicant that if s/he has a disability or is a victim of domestic or dating violence or stalking, not previously disclosed, that the disclosure of such condition or situation could lead to the consideration of Mitigating Circumstances and/or a reasonable accommodation, if it is related to the disability or the domestic or dating violence or stalking situation. Advises the Applicant that if s/he or a Household Member requests Mitigating Circumstances and/or reasonable accommodation at the time of or after requesting an informal hearing, the decision regarding the Mitigating Circumstances and/or accommodation will be made by the hearing officer.

  5. Provides a description of BHA's informal hearing process and advises Applicants that they have the right to be represented by an attorney or other individual at the informal hearing, review the contents of their file in advance of the hearing, the right to submit additional documents and evidence and to testify at the hearing, the right to request reconsideration and for Applicants to a state-aided program, the right to request a review of the decision by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

2.  Scheduling the Informal Hearing

a) Upon receipt of the Applicant's written request, staff in the BHA’s Grievance and Appeals Department shall schedule an informal hearing.  The hearing shall be scheduled within a 30-day period following the receipt of the Applicant's request for an informal hearing unless the applicant requests it to be postponed as a “reasonable accommodation” or for “good cause” see 760 CMR 5.13(1)(d).

A “Notice of Informal Hearing” shall be sent by the BHA’s Grievance and Appeals Department to the Applicant’s address of record listing the date, time and place of the hearing.  The notice shall also restate the Applicant’s rights to present evidence and testify, review their file, request a reasonable accommodation or interpreter and be represented by an attorney or other individual at the hearing.  The hearing shall be held at a convenient time and at an accessible location for the Applicant and the BHA.  If an Applicant requests a reasonable accommodation regarding the Informal Hearing procedures at the time of or after requesting an informal hearing, the decision regarding the accommodation will be made by the Grievance and Appeals Department staff.

b) Default.  The BHA will upheld the Occupancy Department’s decision if the Applicant does not attend the informal review and did not attempt to reschedule twenty-four (24) hours prior to the review. The BHA will reschedule an informal review when an Applicant submits evidence of compelling circumstances that prevented the Applicant attending the hearing on the scheduled date.
 
NOTE: Compelling Circumstances – when analyzing whether or not a Applicant’s reasons for requesting a late hearing are compelling, the hearing officer will consider the following when determining whether or not the Applicant has good cause for requesting a late hearing: (1) the written facts or circumstances submitted by the Applicant which show that the Applicant is not willful (a willful act is a deliberate, intentional or voluntary act) or culpable (culpable is to be responsible or liable) in making the late request, which would require more than mere action or inaction (for example the Applicant’s reason for not requesting a hearing timely should not due be to something the Applicant did or failed to do); (2) the swiftness with which the Applicant has attempted to remedy the default; (3) the existence of any meritorious defense to the underlying allegations; as well as, other equitable criteria such as: (a) whether the default resulted from a good faith mistake in following a rule or procedure; (b) the nature of the Applicant’s explanation for not requesting a timely hearing; (c) the availability of other alternative sanctions; (d) whether not granting a late hearing would produce a harsh or unfair result. 

3.  Applicant Rights during the Informal Hearing

During the hearing, the BHA will put forth its evidence in support of a determination of Ineligibility, Withdrawal, denial of Priority status or Preference(s) or denial of Good Cause or Reasonable Accommodation. The Applicant will be afforded an opportunity to present evidence and testimony rebutting the basis for the BHA’s determination.

4.  Due Process Requirements

The informal hearing will conform to the following due process requirements:

  1. If the Applicant requests, the BHA employee who made the decision must be present to provide available facts, and to be questioned, if still a BHA employee.

  2. An employee of the Authority who did not participate in the original decision must conduct the hearing.

  3. The decision must be based solely on evidence presented at the hearing as well as any evidence previously received by the BHA.  All evidence submitted at the hearing shall be considered de novo, and the matter shall not be sent back to the Occupancy Department for reconsideration due to submission of new evidence.

  4. The Applicant and/or his/her representative has a right to inspect the file prior to the hearing, provided the Applicant provides BHA with written authorizations permitting the representative to have access to the contents of the Applicant's file including CORI information.

  5. Either the Applicant or the BHA may request after close of the hearing that the record remain open for submission of new or rebuttal evidence.  The Hearing Officer shall designate a date by which the record shall be closed and may extend it for good cause.  The Applicant shall receive notice in writing of the date on which the record will close and of any extension.  If BHA wishes to consider additional evidence not submitted at the hearing or submitted after the hearing, it shall give written notice to the Applicant with an opportunity to review such evidence and a reasonable period for the Applicant to respond.

5.  Informal Hearing Decisions

After the informal hearing, all Applicants will be sent an “Informal Hearing Decision” from the BHA hearing officer. This notice shall:

  1. Provide a summary of the hearing;

  2. Provide the decision of the hearing officer, together with findings and determination;

  3. Provide an explanation of the regulations and/or other applicable provisions utilized in making the decision;

  4. Explain the rights of the Applicant to seek reconsideration by the BHA within 14 days of the decision;

  5. Explain the rights of an Applicant to a state-aided program to request a review of the decision by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development within 21 calendar days of the decision or decision on reconsideration pursuant to 760 CMR 5.13(4).

  6. All informal hearing decisions shall be made within 15 working days of the close of the hearing or the record, whichever is later.

6.  Reversal of BHA's Determination of Ineligibility, Application Withdrawal, Denial of Priority Status or Preference(s), Denial of Good Cause or Reasonable Accommodation

a.  If, as a result of information presented by the Applicant at the informal hearing, the BHA reverses its decision to reject the Applicant, no new application is required and the application will be returned to its appropriate place on the waiting list(s) for all developments/AMPs previously selected by the Applicant using the original date and time of application and applicable Priority and/or Preference(s).

b.  If the BHA reverses its decision to withdraw the Applicant, the process described above will repeat.

c.  If the decision to deny Priority status and/or Preference(s), Good Cause or Reasonable Accommodation is reversed, the Applicant’s position on the waiting list(s) for all developments/AMPs previously selected by the Applicant will be restored in accordance with the determination.

7.  Confirmation of the BHA's Determination of Ineligibility, application withdrawal, Denial of Priority Status or Preference(s), Denial of Good Cause or Reasonable Accommodation

a.  If the decision or an appeal upholds the determination of Ineligibility, the Applicant may submit a new application for admission at a time when a waiting list is open but no earlier than 18 months after the decision of Ineligibility.  This period of time may permit the Applicant and/or Household Member to correct the behavior or situation that resulted in rejection.  A shorter period, as determined by the Authority, to be appropriate under the circumstances of the rejection, or any new Application, may be allowed.

b.  Applicants who are found ineligible for any of the following reasons may re-apply at anytime if they meet the preliminary eligibility requirements when they submit a new application and they shall be given a new application date effective the date the application is received by the BHA’s Occupancy Department:  1) the Applicant’s total household income was over the income limits;  2) the Applicant had failed to pay an outstanding balance owed to the BHA or other Federal or State housing assistance program; 3) the entire household had no eligible immigration status; 4) the pro-rated rent amount was more than 50% of the total household income; and/or 5) the applicant was not elderly or disabled and, therefore, did not qualify for the elderly/disabled housing program.

c.  Applicants who are withdrawn may submit a new Application at any time provided a waiting list is open.

d.  Applicants denied Priority Status, Preference(s), Good Cause or Reasonable Accommodation may re-apply for the same or a different Priority or Preference at any time provided a waiting list is open except as provided for in this policy.

Note: Intentional misrepresentation by an Applicant may result in federal or state criminal prosecution for fraud, and removal from the waiting list, and disqualification from further consideration for admission or transfer for a three (3) year period beginning on the date of such determination by the BHA.

4.2  Priorities and Preferences

Certain BHA Applicants may qualify for a Priority and/or Preference, which affects the position of those Applicants on each BHA waiting list.

4.2.1 Definitions

1.  Priority is defined as a housing-related situation that affects a Household’s present residential status. The BHA gives points to Applicants with a Priority that ranks those Applicants higher on each waiting list than Applicants without Priority.  An Applicant can qualify for only one Priority at any given time.  Certain priorities are given more points than others are.  An Applicant will always be assigned to the highest Priority for which they qualify.  Specific Priority definitions and point information can be found later in this chapter in sections 4.4.3 and 4.4.5.

2.  Preference refers to points given to BHA Applicants who are veterans, Boston Residents, employed in Boston, offered employment in Boston, a Disabled Person (Family Developments/AMPs only) or Elderly Households who apply for certain developments in accordance with State regulations and the BHA’s Designated Housing Program (See Section 10.3, Designated Housing and Section 10.4 Elderly Preference).  Preference points are cumulative and are added to Priority points (if any) to determine an Applicant’s position on each BHA waiting list.  An Applicant may qualify for more than one Preference at a time.

4.2.2  Verification

BHA will provide to each potential Applicant a description of each Priority and Preference available to Applicants. BHA will verify the Priority and/or Preference during the application process-as part of both the preliminary and final eligibility processes (See Section 4.4.3).

4.2.3  Matching of the Applicant and the Apartment Characteristics

Before applying Priorities and Preferences, BHA will determine the appropriate apartment size, and special needs requirements if any, based on Household composition and special needs required.  In making the selection of a Household for an apartment with accessible features, the BHA will give preference to Households with the greatest number of Priority/Preference points, the earliest approval date for said Priority/Preference points and earliest application date that include a person with disabilities who has a specific need for the apartment features. 

4.2.4  Ranking by Priority and/or Preference Points

Applicants will be ranked on each selected development’s/AMPs waiting list by Priority and/or Preference points, which are described below.   Date Priority and/or Preference points are granted and original Application date will further rank each Applicant.

Although the BHA has adopted specific ranking categories, the order in which they are ranked is different in the BHA’s State and Federal Public Housing Programs. A chart for each program listing the ranking categories and the order in which they are ranked follows:
 
Note: Approved Administrative Transfers will be offered housing before all ranking clients. Approved Special Circumstances Transfers shall be offered every other 4th unit by waiting list by bedroom size and appropriate unit type.  On-site Under or Over Housed transfers shall be offered every 8th unit by development by bedroom size when the site is at 98% occupancy. See Chapter 6.
                                   
                                                        BHA PRIORITY CATEGORIES
 
Federal Housing Programs                               State Housing Programs
Administrative Transfers                                   Administrative Transfers
Supported Housing Programs                          Supported Housing Programs
 
Priority One:                                                        Priority One:
Displaced Due to Disaster                                    Displaced Due to Natural Disaster
Displaced Due to Domestic Violence/Dating
Violence/Sexual Assault/
or Stalking
Victim of Hate Crime
Avoidance of Reprisal/Witness Protection
Court Ordered no Fault Eviction
Condemnation
Urban Renewal
Other Government Action
Inaccessibility of Dwelling Unit
Homelessness

                      
Priority Two:                                                           Priority Two:
(Elderly/Disabled Program Only)                          Urban Renewal
                                                                                 Condemnation                      
                                                                                                           
Excessive Rent Burden
Imminent Landlord Displacement

                                                                                  Priority Three:
                                                                                  Displaced Due to Domestic Violence/Dating Violence/
                                                                                  Sexual Assault/or Stalking
                                                                                  Victim of Hate Crime
                                                                                  Avoidance of Reprisal/Witness Protection
                                                                                  Court Ordered No Fault Eviction
                                                                                  Inaccessibility of Dwelling Unit
                                                                                  Homelessness
                                                                                  BHA Resident in Federal Program
                                                                                  “Termination of Assistance” due to Lack
                                                                                  any household member with eligible
                                                                                  immigration status.

                                                                                  Priority Five:
                                                                                  AHVP (Alternative Housing Voucher Program)

                                                                                  Priority Six: (Elderly/Disabled Program Only)
                                                                                  Excessive Rent Burden
                                                                                  Imminent Landlord Displacement
 
Standard Applicants                                               Standard Applicants

Special Circumstances Transfers                         Special Circumstances Transfers
                                                           
On-Site Under or Over Housed Transfers            On-Site Under or Over Housed Transfers
 
Note: Approved Special Circumstances Transfers shall be offered every other 4th unit by waiting list by bedroom size and appropriate unit type. On-site Under or Over Housed transfers shall be offered every eighth unit by development by bedroom size when the site is at 98% occupancy. See Chapter 6.

4.2.5  Determining Placement on Waiting List

Priority and Preference points are added together to determine position on each selected development’s/AMP’s waiting list.  The more points an Applicant has and the earlier the date such points are granted, the higher on the list the Applicant will be in relation to other persons who applied for the same bedroom size and hold the same date of preliminary application.

4.3  Organization of the Waiting Lists 

The BHA maintains a waiting list for each of its public housing developments/AMPs. Each waiting list is maintained by apartment size, Applicants’ Priority and/or Preference points and the date such points are granted and then chronologically according to application date.

Assignments to each waiting list shall be in order based upon suitable type and size of apartment, date Priority and/or Preference points are granted as established in these policies and the date and time the application is received.  Generally, an Eligible Applicant with the highest Priority and/or Preference points and the earliest date of approval of such Priority and/or Preference points per category of apartment size will be placed at the top of each waiting list. If no Application with approved Priority and/or Preference points exists, an Eligible Applicant with the earliest date and time of application will be placed at the top of each waiting list.
          
In the event the BHA merges two or more waiting lists as a result of two or more developments being designated as one AMP, the BHA shall, after giving notice to the affected applicants, rank each applicant on the single waiting list by providing each client with their respective oldest application date and approved Priority and/or Preference sequence dates.

4.4 Application of Priorities and Preferences to the Waiting Lists

4.4.1  Not a Guarantee of Admission

It is BHA's policy that a Priority and/or Preference establishes placement position on a waiting list.  Every applicant must still meet BHA's Applicant Screening Criteria (see Section 5.3.3) before being accepted as a resident.

4.4.2  Granting of Priorities and/or Preferences

A Priority and/or Preference will be granted to Applicants who are otherwise Eligible and Qualified and who, at the time they are certified for admission meet the definitions of the Priorities and/or Preferences described below. 

Priorities and/or Preferences are established by the BHA in accordance with HUD and DHCD regulations.

4.4.3  Priority and/or Preference System

The following system of Priorities and/or Preferences will be used for new admissions to and transfers within BHA housing:
 
All requests for Priority Status must be verified by a third party Information shall be submitted on Certificates of priority status and/or another form of written verification from a reliable third party as determined by the BHA. All requests for Priority status will be reviewed prior to the Personal Interview and/or as part of the final screening process.

During the review of documents submitted for Priority status, it may be necessary to obtain additional documentation in order to complete the review.  In this case, the Occupancy Department will send (or give) the Applicant a notice entitled “Priority Status Request – Insufficient Documentation Notice” detailing the information still needed to complete the review for Priority status.

 Applicants who do not qualify for Priority status based on a review of the documents submitted are sent (or given) a notice entitled “Notice to Applicants Denied Priority Status” detailing the specific reason(s) for the denial of priority.  This notice informs applicants of their right to appeal the denial of Priority status through the informal hearing process conducted by the BHA’s Grievance and Appeals Department.

Applicants will be sorted on each waiting list in accordance with their Priority and/or Preference(s).  The BHA considers residents seeking transfers as Applicants and as such they will be provided the opportunity to select the development/AMP waiting lists to which they choose to apply. The ranking categories utilized by the BHA are outlined below.

1.  Special Circumstances Transfers                        

For a complete listing of definitions of each Special Circumstances Transfer Category and the verification required for each category, please refer to Section 7.2 of Chapter 7, “Transfer Policy.”

Approved Special Circumstances Transfers shall be offered every other fourth unit by waiting list by bedroom size and appropriate unit type. See Chapter 6.
 
2.  Supported Housing Programs - See Chapter 10.

3.  Priority Applicants

Priority status for admission shall be granted to Applicant Households whose verified circumstances at the time of an offer of an apartment (prior to execution of the lease) fall within one of the following categories:

A.        Displacement due to a disaster, such as flood or fire, that results in the un-inhabitability of an Applicant's apartment or dwelling unit not due to the fault of the Applicant and/or Household member or beyond the Applicant’s control;
 
Verification must include:

  1. a copy of the incident report from the local Fire Department, and

  2. a copy of his/her lease, or a statement from the property owner, verifying that s/he is/was the tenant of record at the affected address, and

  3. verification from the Fire Department, the Inspectional Services Department, the Health Department or other appropriate agency that the dwelling unit is now uninhabitable.

  4. the cause of the disaster if known.  If the Applicant or a Household Member or guest was the cause of the disaster, approval for Priority status will be denied unless Mitigating Circumstances are established to the satisfaction of Occupancy Department Staff.

B.        Displacement due to domestic violence/Dating Violence/Sexual Assualt or Stalking, which is defined as displacement from an address where the Applicant is/was the tenant of record due to sexual assault,  continuing actual or threatened physical violence (including sexual abuse) directed against one or more of the household members.
Verification must include submission of a fully completed “Certificate of Involuntary Displacement Due to Domestic Violence/Dating Violence/Sexual Assault or Stalking “ or  third-party, written verification from the local police department, a social service agency, a court of competent jurisdiction, a clergy member, a physician, or a public or private facility that provides shelter or counseling to the victims of sexual assault or domestic violence.  Such verification will not be considered valid unless it:

  1. Supplies the name of the abuser

  2. Describes how the situation came to verifier's attention; and

  3. Indicates that the threats and/or violence are of a recent (within the past six-(6) months) or continuing nature if the Applicant is still residing in the dwelling where the violence has occurred or is occurring.

  4. Indicates that the Applicant has been displaced because of the threats and/or violence or that the Applicant is in imminent danger where he/she now resides.

The Applicant must supply the name and address of the abuser AND Provide documentation that the Applicant is/was a tenant of record.

C.        Victim of hate crime:  A member of the Household has been a victim of one or more hate crimes AND the Household has vacated a dwelling unit because of this crime OR the fear associated with the crime has destroyed the peaceful enjoyment of the dwelling unit;

  • "Hate crime", is defined as any criminal act coupled with overt actions motivated by bigotry and bias including, but not limited to, a threatened, attempted or completed overt act motivated at least in part by racial, religious, ethnic, handicap, gender or sexual orientation, prejudice, or which otherwise deprives another person of his/her constitutional rights by threats, intimidation or coercion, or which seeks to interfere with or disrupt a person's exercise of constitutional rights through harassment or intimidation.

Verification must include submission of a fully completed “Certificate of Involuntary Displacement by Hate Crimes” or documentation from a law enforcement agency that the Household Member(s) was a victim of such crime(s); and

  1. has vacated the dwelling unit because of such crime(s); or

  2. has experienced fear associated with such crime(s) and the fear has destroyed the peaceful enjoyment of their current dwelling unit.

D.        Avoidance of reprisal/witness protection: Relocation is required because: (A) a Household Member provided information or testimony on criminal activities to a law enforcement agency; and (B) based upon a threat assessment, a law enforcement agency recommends the relocation of the Household to avoid or minimize risk of violence against Household Members as reprisal for providing such information.
 
Verification requirements:

  1. Submission of a fully completed “Certificate of Involuntary Displacement to Avoid Reprisal”  or documentation from a law enforcement agency that the Applicant and/or a Household Member provided information on criminal activity; AND

  2. Documentation that, following a threat assessment conducted by the agency, the agency recommends the relocation/re-housing of the household to avoid or minimize the threat of violence or reprisal to or against the Household Member(s) for providing such information.

This includes situations in which the applicant and/or Household Member(s) are themselves the victims of such crimes and have provided information (testimony) to a law enforcement agency.

E.     Court-ordered no-fault eviction: eviction pursuant to an Order for Judgment (or Agreement for Judgment) issued by a court because of: (a) Landlord action beyond the applicant’s ability to control or prevent, and the action occurred despite the applicant’s having met all previously imposed conditions of occupancy and displacement was not the result of failure to comply with HUD and State policies in its housing programs with respect to occupancy of under-occupied and overcrowded units or failure to accept a transfer to another unit in accordance with a court order or policies or procedures under a HUD-approved desegregation plan. 

Verification Requirements (ALL documents are required):

  1. submission of a fully completed “Certificate of Involuntary Displacement  by Landlord Action”; and

  2. a copy of the Notice to Quit issued by the landlord or property manager; and

  3. a copy of the Summons and Complaint available from the court; and

  4. a copy of the Answer or other response(s) filed by the Applicant in court in response to the Complaint, if any; and

  5. a copy of the Judgment of the Court ( Agreement for Judgment, Order for Judgment and Findings of Fact, or Default Judgment); and

  6. if applicable, a copy of the execution issued by the court. 

The information contained in the above-referenced documents must clearly establish to the satisfaction of the BHA that:

  1. the action taken by the landlord or property manager was beyond the Applicant's ability to control or prevent;

  2. the action by the landlord or property manager occurred despite the Applicant Household having met all previously imposed conditions of occupancy;

  3. displacement was not the result of failure to comply with HUD and State policies in its housing programs with respect to occupancy of under-occupied and over-crowded Apartments or failure to accept a Transfer to another Apartment in accordance with a court order or policies or procedures under a HUD-approved desegregation plan.

  4. displacement was not as a result of non-payment of rent when there were no extenuating circumstance such as a rent increase or loss of income, therefore, the non-payment of rent is  beyond the Applicant’s ability to control or prevent the court-ordered eviction due to non-payment of rent. The following is a list of some of the additional required verification:

    1. Verification of the gross income for ALL household members at the time the unit was rented and when the non-payment of rent started.

    2. Copies of bills and proof of payment history for all utilities listed in the Applicant’s or Applicant’s household members’ name. The payment history must show when services connected and disconnected (when applicable) and the monthly charges and payment history.

    3. Copies of the mortgage payment history, if applicable.

    4. Other applicable documentation to demonstrate that the non-payment eviction was due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the Applicant’s ability to control or prevent the non-payment eviction.

Failure to establish any one of the above referenced elements will result in denial of Priority status.

F.         Condemnation of house/apartment: the applicant’s housing has been declared unfit for habitation by an agency of government through no fault of the Applicant.
Verification Requirements:

  1. third-party, written verification from the appropriate unit or agency of government certifying that the applicant has been displaced or will be displaced in the next ninety days, as a result of action by that agency; and

  2. the precise reason(s) for such displacement.

G.        Displacement by any low-rent housing project or by a public slum clearance or urban renewal project initiated after January first, nineteen hundred and forty-seven, or other public improvement.

Verification Requirements:

  1. third-party, written verification from the appropriate unit or agency of government certifying that the applicant has been displaced or will be displaced within the next ninety days, as a result of action by that agency, and

  2. the precise reason(s) for such displacement.

H.        Other Government action (Federal Only):  A Household is required to permanently move from their residence by a Federal, State or local governmental action such as code enforcement, public improvements or a development program.

Verification Requirements:

  1. third-party, written verification from the appropriate unit or agency of government certifying that the applicant has been displaced or will be displaced in the next ninety days, as a result of action by that agency; and

  2. the precise reason(s) for such displacement.

I.           For disabled individuals only, inaccessibility of a critical element of their current dwelling: A member of the Household has a mobility or other impairment that makes the person unable to use a critical element of the current apartment or development AND the owner is not legally obligated under laws pertaining to reasonable accommodation to make changes to the apartment or dwelling unit that would make these critical elements accessible to the Household Member with the disability.

Verification Requirements:

  1. The name of the household member who is unable to use the critical element;

  2. a written statement from a Qualified Healthcare Provider verifying that the household member has a  Disability (but not necessarily the nature of the Disability) and identifying the critical element of the dwelling which is not accessible and the reasons why it is not accessible; and 

  3. a statement from the landlord or official of a government or other agency providing service to such Disabled Persons explaining the reason(s) that the landlord is not required to make changes which would render the dwelling accessible to the individual as a reasonable accommodation.

J.        Homelessness:  A Household lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime place of habitation and the primary nighttime dwelling is one of the following: 

       a.            a supervised public or private shelter designed to provide temporary living
                      accommodations (includes welfare hotels, congregate shelters and transitional housing); or

               b.          a public or private place not designed for human habitation; or     
 
               c.          an Applicant or a member of his/her household is suffering from a medical condition or            
                                   disability which precludes him/her from residing in a public or private shelter.                

          Persons living with  tenants in private or subsidized housing, even if only temporarily DO NOT qualify as
             homeless, except for the situation described in category “c” which  shall be reviewed and determined by the
             BHA’s Director of Occupancy or designee.

             Persons who temporarily move to a shelter for the sole purpose of qualifying for this priority shall be determine  
             ineligible.

              Verification Requirements:

                   1.  Submission of a“Certificate of Homelessness” fully completed by an appropriate source that he/she lacks 
                        a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence; or his/her primary nighttime residence is:


                               a.  A  supervised public or private shelter designed to provide temporary housing accommodations
                                      (i.e., welfare hotels, congregate shelters and transitional housing);


                               b.  a public or private place not designed for human habitation; and

                    2.  A  third-party written verification from a public or private facility that provides shelter for homeless
                         individuals, the local police department, or a social services agency, certifying the Applicant's homeless
                         status in accordance with the definition in this policy.


                   3.  Medical documentation verifying the existence of the medical condition or disability including the reason(s)
                         the 
Applicant may not reside in a public or private shelter and acceptable verification of the
                      current housing arrangements.

K.       AHVP – Alternative Housing Voucher Program (STATE ONLY)

L.         Excessive Rent Burden (ELDERLY/DISABLED PROGRAM ONLY): The household pays more than 50% of its total monthly income for rent and utilities (excluding telephone, Internet and cable TV).
 
Verification Requirements:

  1. Submission of a fully completed “certificate of excessive Shelter Costs” form ; and

  2. Verification of the gross income for ALL household members; and

  3. Copies of bills and proof of payment for all utilities listed in the Applicant’s name for which s/he actually pays.

M.        BHA Resident in Federal Program “Termination of Assistance” due to Lack any household member with eligible immigration status.
 
Verification requirements:

                        1.         Notice of Termination of Assistance

                        2.         Notice of Private Conference or Notice to Quit.
 
N.        Imminent Landlord Displacement From a Unit Within the City of Boston (ELDERLY/DISABLED PROGRAM ONLY)
You have not yet been evicted by Court-order BUT your landlord has notified you that you must vacate your dwelling unit through no fault of your own, unrelated to a rent increase, and you have actually vacated the dwelling unit or you will vacate the dwelling unit within the next six (6) months.
 
Verification requirements:

  1. Submission of “Certificate of Involuntary Displacement by Landlord Action” form; and

  2. Copies of any notices from the landlord to the Applicant regarding the termination of the tenancy.

 The information contained in the above referenced documents must clearly establish to the satisfaction of the BHA that:

  1. the action taken by the landlord or property manager was beyond the Applicant’s ability to control or prevent;

  2. the action of the landlord or property manager occurred despite the Applicant Household having met all previously imposed conditions of occupancy;

  3. displacement was not the result of failure to comply with HUD or DHCD policies in its housing programs with respect to occupancy of under-occupied and overcrowded Apartments or failure to accept a Transfer to another Apartment in accordance with a court order or policies or procedures under a HUD/DHCD-approved desegregation plan.

  Failure to establish any one of the above referenced elements will result in denial of Priority Status.

3.  On-Site Under or Over Housed Transfers

For complete definitions of each Under or Over Housed Transfer category and the verification required for each category, please refer to Section 7.2.3 of Chapter 7, “Transfer Policy.”

4.  Standard (no Priority) Applicants

Standard Applicants who qualify for no priority.

4.4.4  Preference System

The Preference system below applies only to Applicants for admission on BHA waiting lists.

Within Priority categories, and within the standard “no Priority” category (i.e., standard applicants), Applicants may also receive Preference points. Preference points are assigned to veterans, deceased or disabled veterans’ families, handicapped/disabled Applicants (Family Program/AMP only), Elderly Households who select certain developments in accordance with state regulations and the BHA’s Designated Housing Plan and Boston residents. Preference points will be added to Priority points to determine an Applicants’ placement on each BHA waiting list.  Thus a Priority Two Applicant with a residency Preference will be ranked above a Priority Two Applicant with no Preferences. Veterans, non-elderly disabled, Elderly Preference (State), Designated Housing (Federal) and Boston residency Preferences are cumulative, so an Applicant with more than one Preference (i.e., Veterans and residency) will be ranked higher within his or her Priority category than an Applicant with only one Preference. 

The Preference categories are described below.

1.  Veterans Preference

In all federal developments/AMPs and in state developments, the Veterans’ Preference shall be ranked above the residency Preference. 
 
A “veteran”, as used in this Admission and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP) shall include the Veteran, the spouse, surviving spouse, Dependent parent or child of a Veteran and the divorced spouse of a Veteran who is the legal guardian of a child of a Veteran. 
 
Verification Requirement:
 
Applicants claiming a Veteran’s Preference must provide a copy of the discharge documents of the Veteran for whom the preference is claimed.  The Veteran’s Preference is only applicable to Veterans and/or immediate families of Veterans who were discharged under circumstances other than dishonorable. 

2.  Disabled Non-Elderly Persons who do not require wheelchair accessible units will receive Preference points on Family development/AMP waiting lists only. Households claiming this preference must verify their Household composition and show that the Head or Co-Head of Household is disabled. 

3.  Designated Housing Preference (Federal Elderly/Disabled Program Only)

Disabled Head or Co-Head Applicants who are under 62 years of age and are on a Federal Elderly and Disabled Program designated development/AMP wait list where the non-elderly disabled resident population is less than 20% AND who do not require wheelchair accessible units will receive preference points. The Designated Housing Preference shall be further ranked in the following order:

  • Among households (i.e. within the same housing Priority category), first Preference shall be given to non-elderly disabled households whose Head and/or Co-Head is/are under 62 years of age.
  • Among households (i.e. within the same housing Priority category), second Preference shall be given to households whose Head and/or Co-Head is/are Elderly  (62 years of age or older).

4.  Designated Housing Preference( Federal Elderly/Disabled Program Only)Applicants who are 62 years of age or older and are on a Federal Elderly and Disabled Program designated development/AMP wait list where the elderly resident population is less than 80% AND who do not require wheelchair accessible units will receive preference points. The Designated Housing Preference shall be further ranked in the following order:

  • Among households (i.e. within the same housing Priority category), first Preference shall be given to households whose Head and/or Co-Head is/are 62 years of age or older.
  • Among households (i.e. within the same housing Priority category), second Preference shall be given to households whose Head and/or Co-Head is/are Non Elderly Disabled (<62 years of age).
5.   Elderly Preference (State Elderly/Disabled Program Only)

Applicants who are sixty (60) years of age or older and are on a State Elderly and Disabled Program development waiting list where the Disabled resident population is at least 13.5% will receive preference in admissions over Applicants who are under sixty (60) years of age (See Section 10.4). 

6.  Displaced Boston Tenant Preference

The BHA shall give two (2) Preference points to an Applicant who was displaced from a unit within the City of Boston that was the Applicant’s last permanent residence.

(1)       No length of Residency Required
 
This Preference is not based on how long an Applicant was resident of the City of Boston, but only upon the establishment and proper verification of residency within the City Of Boston.  
 
(2)       Verification Requirements
 
To receive this Preference, an Applicant must verify that: (1) they were displaced from a unit within the City of Boston, (2) that the unit was the Applicant’s last permanent residence, and since the Applicant has been unable to obtain permanent housing.   The following documentation is a non-exhaustive list of documentation that may be used, in conjunction with Priority documentation that establishes displacement, will verify the Displaced Boston Tenant Preference:

  1. Landlord verification;
  2. A copy of a Lease;
  3. Utility Bill (electric, gas, oil, or water)
  4. Mortgage Payments;
  5. Taxes;
  6. Other verification deemed acceptable or necessary by BHA.

7.  Residency Preference shall be given to BHA Applicants who are residents of the City of Boston, who work within the City of Boston, whose last permanent address was in the City of Boston and applicant has not claimed local residency preference in another community where the applicant is temporarily residing OR who have been offered employment in the City of Boston. Residency Preference shall not have the purpose or effect of delaying or otherwise denying admission to the program based on the race, color, ethnic origin, gender, religion, disability or age of any member of an Applicant household.
 
Applicants claiming a Boston Resident Preference shall be required to verify this through:

  1. Proof of residency at an address within the Boston city limits (no length of stay verification will be imposed on applicants claiming this Preference.); or

  2. Proof that the applicant is currently employed or has obtained employment in the city; or

  3. Proof that the applicant's last permanent address was within the Boston city limits; and

  4. Proof that an Applicant has not claimed local preference in another community.

8.  BHA residents residing in federally funded developments/AMPs who are financially affected due to pro-rated rent where the rent is 50% or more of the household’s total gross income.

4.4.5  Point System

1.  The Priority point system used by BHA to process new admissions and transfers for all waiting lists for Family and Elderly/Disabled Developments/AMPs is as follows:

Federal Housing Programs:

  • Administrative transfers                                                                               175 points
  • Special Circumstances Transfers                                                                  67 points
  • Supported Housing Programs                                                                        50 points
  • Priority One Applicants                                                                                   30 points
  • Priority Two Applicants                                                                                   10 points
  • On-Site Under or Over Housed Transfers and Standard  Applicants               0 points

State Housing Programs:

  • Administrative transfers                                                                     175 points                               
  • Special Circumstances Transfers                                                        70 points
  • Priority One Applicants                                                                        60 points
  • Supported Housing Programs                                                              55 points
  • Priority Two Applicants                                                                         50 points
  • Priority Three Applicants                                                                       30 points         
  • Priority Four Applicants                                                                         20 points
  • Priority Five Applicants                                                                          10 points
  • Priority Six Applicants                                                                              9 points
  • Under or Over Housed and Standard Applicants                                     0 points

2.  Preference points will be added to Priority points as follows for Applicants for admission only:

  • Veterans Preference                                                                                    3 points
    • Local Veterans Preference (State Elderly/Disabled Only)                4 points
  • Non-Elderly Disabled Household not requiring wheelchair accessible units (Family Developments/AMP only)                                                                             6 points
  • BHA resident in Federal Housing Pro-Rated rent burden (State only)         3 points                               
  • Designated Housing (Federal Elderly/Disabled Program only)  Elderly not requiring wheelchair accessible units    100 points
  • Designated Housing (Federal Elderly/Disabled Program only)  non-Elderly Disabled not requiring wheelchair accessible units    100 points    
  • Elderly Preference (State Elderly/Disabled Program only)                              24 points
  • Displaced Boston Tenant Preference                                                                 2 points
  • Residency Preference                                                                                        1 point

3.  Approved Special Circumstances Transfers shall be offered every other 4th unit by waiting list by bedroom size and appropriate unit type.

4.  On-site Under or Over Housed transfers shall be offered every 8th unit by development by bedroom size when the site is at 98% occupancy. See Chapter 6.

4.5  Administrative Transfers

The BHA is occasionally required to initiate transfers that have not been requested by a resident.  These transfers are required in order to free an apartment(s) for an important operational or policy reason.  Typically, specific apartments must be identified for each Administrative Transfer.  The BHA will consider the resident's documented need(s) for an on-or off-site transfer. Administrative Transfers will be placed on an on-site or off-site  waiting list in accordance to the BHA’s and resident’s needs and thus are not available for matching under the point system described in Section 4.5.4 above.  Administrative Transfers will be assigned before any other transfer type and new admissions. Administrative transfers include the following categories:

  • Relocation necessary due to a redevelopment, capital improvement program, or extraordinary maintenance; or
  • Compliance with legislative or regulatory requirement(s), for example sanitary code enforcement; or
  • In Federal Developments/AMPs, Households Over housed by two or more bedrooms; or
  • In State Developments, Households Over housed by two or more bedrooms; or
  • Relocation necessary to free an accessible apartment to accommodate another BHA resident or Applicant with a disability who requires an accessible apartment or an apartment with special features; or
  • The relocation is necessary due to the household’s current and on-going threat(s) as a result of domestic violence/sexual assault/dating violence/stalking which has been documented, investigated, and recommended by the BHA’s Public Safety Department or other sources deemed acceptable by the BHA Director of Occupancy or such other person as may be designated by the BHA Administrator..

4.6  Change in Priority and/or Preference Status While on a Waiting List

4.6.1  Change in Status

Occasionally, Households on a waiting list who did not qualify for any or a certain Priority and/or Preference at the time of application will experience a change in circumstances that qualifies them for a different Priority and/or Preference.  In such instances, it is the Applicant's obligation to contact the Authority so that a change in status can be verified. 

4.6.2  Verification

To the extent that the verification determines that the Household does now qualify for a Priority and/or Preference, the Household will be moved up on any waiting list previously selected in accordance with its Priority and/or Preference(s), and the date such Priority and/or Preference(s) is approved.     Similarly, removal of a Priority and/or Preference (because a Household is discovered to be ineligible for a Priority and/or Preference) will result in a reduction of waiting list points, and therefore change of waiting list position, for the Household.  The Household will then be informed in writing of how the change in status has affected its place on any waiting list previously selected.  Intentional misrepresentation by an Applicant may result in federal or state criminal prosecution for fraud, and removal from the waiting list, and disqualification from further consideration for admission or transfer for a three (3) year period beginning on the date of such determination by the BHA.

4.7       Applicant Family Break-Up Policy

An Applicant Family Break-Up occurs when a Head and Co-head of household will no longer reside together and/or there is a dispute as to who will retain the original Application date or any approved Priority and/or Preference(s). An Applicant Family Break-Up situation where only on individual signed the Application (i.e., where there is a Head but no Co-head of household) occurs in instances of domestic violence and where and Adult(s) who is/are not currently a household member(s) advance(s) a claim on behalf of a minor or incapacitated Head who is/are on the Application’s household composition.
 
When the BHA receives notice that a Family has broken up or will imminently break-up, the BHA will make the determination of which Family member will retain what Application date and or any approved Priority and/or Preference(s) using the criteria and the procedure provided below.
 
(a)       Split between Head and Co-Head of Household
 
When the Head and Co-Head of Household no longer wish to reside with each other, the BHA will split the application between the two.

(1)       Application Date and Priority/Preference for Split Household
 
If both Head and Co-Head signed the original application and both qualified for the Priority and/or Preference(s) status that was selected by the united Family, prior to the Break-up, both the Head and Co-Head shall retain the original application date and Priority status. Otherwise, only the portion of the Family that qualifies for the Priority and/or Preference(s) status selected prior to the beak-up shall retain such Priority and/or Preference(s).
 
(2)       If the Co-Head was added at a later date, s/he shall be approved for the application date equal to the date when s/he was added to the application of the individual who originally applied. The BHA will determine if there are any applicable Priority and/or Preference(s) based on the documentation that was submitted when the Co-head was added to the application.

(b)       BHA Determination in cases of a split between a Head of Household and other Adult Household member due to domestic violence

(1)       If a court has determined the disposition of the Family's Application in a divorce or separation under a court order or court approved settlement (provided that no provision is against State or Federal Housing regulations), the BHA is bound by the court's determination as to which Household Member(s) will continue with the Application.  Such a determination cannot be appealed through the BHA review process, as it is the court’s determination and not the BHA’s determination that governs.
 
(2)       In the absence of a court order, the BHA shall determine whether the Family member who did not sign the Application should be given a separate Application. The BHA will make this determination based on individual circumstances.
 
(3)       Verification Requirements

  1. A third-party, written verification from the local police department, a social service agency, a court of competent jurisdiction, a clergy member, a physician, or a public or private facility that provides shelter or counseling to the victims of domestic violence.

  1. Verification will not be considered valid unless it:

  • Supplies the name of the threatening or abusive Household Member
  • Describes how the situation came to verifier's attention, and Indicates that the threats and/or violence are of a recent (within the past six [6] months)

(c)        Notice of Proposed Disposition of Application
 
A notice shall be sent to any and all addresses identified by the Head of Household and Co-Head of Household, and not solely to the last address for the Head of Household.
 
In cases where a Household Member who is an alleged victim of Domestic Violence, but is not a Head or Co-Head of Household requests a separate application, the notice shall describe what factors BHA utilized in arriving at its decision. The notice shall also state the alleged victim of Domestic Violence has twenty (20) days to request a review of the decision.
 
(d)       Any adult granted the Application is subject to fulfill all preliminary and final eligibility requirements governed by the ACOP or its successor.
 

4.7.1   Procedure Where There is a Family Break-Up and Adults Who Are Not Currently Household Members Advance a Claim on Behalf of Minor or Incapacitated Household Members

  1. Where there has been an Applicant Family Break-Up with one or more remaining Minor and/or incapacitated Household Members and no remaining Co-Head, AND The result of the Break-up was due to reasons included but not limited to death, incarceration, or incapacitation of the Head, AND one or more adults who are not currently Household Members advance a claim that they wish to become the Head of Household on behalf of one or more remaining Minor or incapacitated Household Members, AND there is a dispute about who should become the Head of Household, the BHA shall determine which such claimant, if any, shall take over the Application.

  1. In the event the remaining Household Member(s) is an incapacitated Adult who is unable to fulfill the Family obligations, the proposed Applicant must be an adult who has been appointed either a temporary or permanent guardianship, and is willing to assume the obligations and responsibilities as Head of Household.

  1. Any adult granted the Application is subject to fulfill all preliminary and final eligibility requirements governed by the ACOP or its successor.


Revision date: 09/19/16