Boston Housing Authority

Policies > Admissions And Continued Occupancy Policy Ch 11: Definitions

Admissions And Continued Occupancy Policy

Chapter 11:Definitions

1.   Accessible Route - For persons with a mobility impairment, a continuous unobstructed path that complies with space and reach requirements of the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards. For persons with hearing or vision impairments, the route need not comply with requirements specific to mobility.

2.   Accessible Apartment - when used with respect to the design, construction or alteration of an individual apartment, means that the apartment is located on an Accessible Route and when designed, constructed, altered, or adapted can be approached, entered, and used by individuals with physical handicaps or disability.  An apartment that is on an Accessible Route and is adaptable and otherwise in compliance with the standards set forth in 24 CFR 8.32 [the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards] is “accessible” within the meaning of this paragraph. 

3.    Adaptable - Ability of certain elements in an apartment to be changed to accommodate the needs of disabled persons; or ability of certain apartments to meet the needs of persons with different types & degrees of disability. 

4.    Administrator - The chief executive officer of the Boston Housing Authority. 

5.    Alteration - any change in an apartment, building or common area or to its permanent fixtures or equipment. It does not include: normal maintenance or repairs, re-roofing, interior decoration or changes to mechanical systems. 

6.    Asset Management Project- AMP- For purposes of Asset Management HUD requires PHA’s to designate a unique identifier for a development, or groupings of scattered sites or small developments, or phases of a development for purposes of implementing asset based management for HUD funded federal public housing units. 

7.    Apartment -- Residential space for the private use of a Household.  The number of bedrooms contained within a BHA apartment is from 0 bedrooms (studio/efficiency) to 6 bedrooms. 
8.    Applicant - a person or household member who is not a BHA leaseholder and has submitted an application for public housing that has been accepted by the Authority and entered into its management information system with a client number assigned.

9.    Appeals – an Applicant for admission to BHA, who is dissatisfied with a  decision regarding his or her application, may request an appeal before a BHA Hearing Officer. (See 4.1.4).
10.  Applicant Information Briefing Session – A regularly scheduled meeting (or other form of communication that may be designated by the BHA) whose purpose is to: provide prospective Applicants with an explanation of the process for Application and admission to BHA Public Housing; make Applicants aware of the Priorities, Preferences and housing options available to them as a BHA Applicant; familiarize Applicants with the Preliminary Application and Related Forms; bring staff in contact with Applicants to assist Applicants in completing the application process (See Chapter 3).
11.  Area Median Income (AMI) – The median income of the greater Boston area as determined by HUD.
12.   Assets - Assets generally means cash which is accessible to a person including checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, equity in real property, and the cash value of life insurance policies, but does not include the value of tangible personal property such as furniture, automobiles and household effects.  (Certain types of tangible personal property are included, such as coin collections or jewelry, but essential tangible personal property reasonably necessary for every day living, such as furniture and automobiles, are not included.  For included real or personal property holdings, the value of the asset is the cash amount that would remain if the resident converted the asset to cash and deducted any outstanding mortgages, liens or selling expenses.) 

13.    Boston Resident - A person whose last permanent address was within the City of Boston or a person who is a resident and presently domiciled in the City of Boston at the time of application and at the time of determination of eligibility and qualification, or a person who is employed or about to be employed in the City of Boston as verified by the BHA.  A person with a temporary residence in the City of Boston with relatives or friends is not a resident unless the person's last residence or domicile was in the City of Boston.  The burden of establishing Boston residency is on the Applicant. 

14.    Co-Head of Household - a person who with the Head of Household assumes responsibility and accountability for the Household and signs the lease.  The Co-Head of Household is equal to and has the same rights and responsibilities as the Head of Household.  This shall include a spouse even if not designated as Co-Head of Household on the application or lease. 

15.    Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) -- the agency responsible for the oversight and monitoring of the State's public housing program. 

16.    Dependent - A member of the Household, other than head, co-head, sole member, foster child, or Personal Care Attendant, who is under 18 years of age, a Disabled Person, or a full-time student. 

17.    Development - Refers to low income housing developed, acquired or rehabilitated by BHA under the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 (other than Section 8) for which there is an annual contributions contract (ACC) between the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development or one or more public housing apartments developed and/or administered by the BHA with a separate contract for financial assistance with the Massachusetts Department of Housing Community Development under the Chapter 705, Chapter 200 or Chapter 667 program. 

18.    Disabled Person
For program eligibility, a person who is under a disability as defined in Section 223 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 423) or defined as “handicapped persons of low income” in M.G.L. C121B § I and in 760 CMR 5.07.
For Eligibility in State-Aided Housing – A person who has been determined to have an impairment which is expected to be of long continued and indefinite duration, which substantially impedes the ability to live independently in conventional housing and which is of such nature that such ability could be improved by more suitable housing conditions.
For Eligibility in Federally-Assisted Housing – A person who 

  • Has a disability defined as an inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months; or, in the case of a person who has attained the age of 55 and is blind, the inability by reason of such blindness to engage in substantial gainful activity requiring skills or abilities comparable to those of any gainful activity in which he or she has previously engaged with some regularity and over a substantial period of time, or

  • Has a physical, mental, or emotional impairment which is expected to be of long-continued and indefinite duration, which substantially impedes his or her ability to live independently, and is of such a nature that the ability to live independently could be improved by more suitable housing conditions, or

  • Has a developmental disability which is a severe, chronic disability of an individual 5 years or older which is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of impairments and which is manifested before the age of 22 and is likely to continue indefinitely and which results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity (self-care; receptive and expressive language; learning; mobility; self-direction; capacity for independent living and economic self-sufficiency), and which reflects the individual’s need for assistance that is lifelong or of extended duration and is individually planned and coordinated. 

Such term shall not exclude persons who have the disease acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or any conditions arising from the etiologic agent for AIDS
For all purposes other than Eligibility, a person with a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more life activities, or has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

No individual shall be considered a person with a disability solely because of drug or alcohol dependence.           

19.    Elderly Household - A Household whose Head of Household, Co-Head of Household, or spouse (or sole member) is an Elderly Person. 

20.    Elderly Person - means a person who is at least 62 years of age.  For state assisted housing a person who is at least 60 years of age. 

21.    Eligible – means a person or household that has met the three threshold requirements pursuant to Section 5.1.2 for Preliminary Eligibility. 

22.    Eligible Household – A household who is determined Eligible for residence in public housing assisted under the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437) or under M.G.L. c121B and provisions of this Policy. 

23.    Eligible Non-Citizen Status (for Federal Program only) - The admittance of a Non-Citizen to the United States under one of the following categories:           

  • A Non-Citizen lawfully admitted for permanent residence as an immigrant as defined by sections 101(a)(15) and 101(a)(20) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15) and 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(20), excluding, among others, Non-Citizen visitors, tourists, diplomats, and students who enter the United States temporarily with no intention of abandoning their residence in a foreign country; 

  • A Non-Citizen who entered the United States prior to June 30, 1948, or such subsequent date as is enacted by law, has continuously maintained his or her residence in the United States since then, and is not ineligible for citizenship, but who is deemed to be lawfully admitted for permanent residence as a result of an exercise of discretion by the Attorney General pursuant to section 249 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1259) [8 USCS § 1259]; 

  • A Non-Citizen who is lawfully present in the United States pursuant to an admission under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1157) or pursuant to the granting of asylum (which has not been terminated) under section 208 of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1158); 

  • A Non-Citizen who is lawfully present in the United States as a result of an exercise of discretion by the Attorney General for emergent reasons or reasons deemed strictly in the public interest pursuant to Section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)); 

  • A Non-Citizen who is lawfully present in the United States as a result of the Attorney General's withholding deportation pursuant to section 243(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1253(h));

  • A Non-Citizen lawfully admitted for temporary or permanent residence under section 245A of the Immigration and Nationality Act [8 USCS § 1255a].

  • Lawfully admitted for temporary or permanent residence (amnesty granted under Immigration and Naturalization Act Section 245A). 

24.    Emancipated Minor – Minor (under 18 years of age) with a child (or children) or who has otherwise established him/herself as a non-dependent individual. 
25.   Fair Housing Act – Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.) 

26.    Family – A single person, two or more persons regularly living together, related by blood, marriage, adoption, guardianship or operation of law; or who are not so related, but share income and resources and intend to live together in BHA housing.  Other persons, including foster children, Personal Care Attendants, and members temporarily absent (including children temporarily assigned to foster care[1]), may be considered a part of the Household group if they are living or will live regularly with the Household. 

27.    Federally-assisted Housing – For purposes of this policy, housing assisted under the U.S. Housing Act as defined in 42 USC 1437a and following provisions. 

28.    Full-time Student        

  • For Eligibility in Federally-assisted Housing A person who is carrying a subject load which is considered full-time for day students under the standards and practices of the educational institution attended.  Educational institution shall include but not be limited to: college, university, secondary school, vocational school or trade school.

  • For Eligibility in State-assisted Housing- a household member between the ages of 18 and 25, who is the dependent of another household member and who is enrolled in and attending an accredited educational or vocational institution and is carrying a course load that is considered full-time for day students under the standards and practices of the institution. Full-time student status shall remain in effect as long as the individual carries a full-time student course load in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, or a diploma from an accredited institution or a certificate from an accredited vocational program (excluding apprenticeship programs). In no event shall full-time student status last longer than the length of time normally required for day students to complete the required course of study. 

29.    Good Cause - A set of standards used by the Authority to determine the need for and special offer of housing in order to avoid a verifiable hardship.  The basis for the special offer must be reliably documented and cannot result in discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or national origin or handicap or disability. 

30.    Grievance –1. An allegation, by a tenant or a remaining Household Member of a tenant’s household, that the BHA or a BHA employee has acted or failed to act in accordance with the tenant’s lease or any statute, regulation, or rule regarding the conditions of tenancy and that the alleged action or failure to act has adversely affected the status, rights, duties, or welfare of the tenant or a Household Member; or 2. An appeal by a data subject pursuant to 760 CMR 8.00. The meaning of a statute, regulation or rule shall not be the subject of a grievance. A dispute between a tenant and another tenant or Household Member, in which the BHA is not involved, shall not be the subject of a grievance. A grievance shall not be filed by a tenant on behalf of another tenant or any Household Member of another tenant. 
31.    Head of Household - means the member who assumes responsibility and accountability for the Household and signs the lease. 

32.    Household – All persons residing in an apartment who are listed on  the apartment’s lease as household members or Tenant Status Review (T.S.R.); and may include an approved PCA, who resides in the apartment. 

33.    Household Member - A person residing in an apartment who is listed on the apartment’s lease as a household members or Tenant Status Review (T.S.R.); and may include an approved PCA, who resides in the apartment. 

34.    Home Visit - a visit by BHA Occupancy Department staff or contractor to the home of an Applicant pursuant to the provisions of this policy. 
35.   HUD (U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development) - the Federal department responsible for the public housing program as provided in the 1937 Housing Act. HUD provides operating subsidies to the BHA through an Annual Contributions Contract. 

36.    Imputed Welfare Income- (In Federal Developments Only) The amount of annual income not actually received by a family, as a result of a specified welfare benefit reduction, that is nonetheless included in the family’s annual income for the purposes of determining rent. 

37.    Last Permanent Residence: the last main or the only residence (home) at a fixed address a "Dwelling" or "rental dwelling." This means a unit that was owned or rented by or to one or more tenants and landlord authorized household member(s) as occupants for use as a permanent residence under a lease or tenancy at will.  The term does not include a room rented to overnight guests or doubled-up guests/visitors.           

38.    Lease -- A written agreement between the BHA and Head or Co-Head of Household for the occupancy of an apartment. 

39.    Minor - a person less than 18 years of age.  An unborn child will not be considered to be a minor (Also see the definition for Dependent and Emancipated Minor). 

40.    Mitigating Circumstances - Circumstances which would tend to lessen the negative impact of an unsuitable housing history or unsuitable behavior and which may overcome or outweigh negative information gathered in the screening process about an Applicant or Transfer Applicant. 

41.    Mixed Family – A family whose members include those with citizenship or Eligible Non-Citizen Status, and those without citizenship or Eligible Non-Citizen Status. 

42.    National – A person who owes permanent allegiance to the United States, for example, as a result of birth in a United States territory or possession. 
43.    Non-Citizen – A person who is neither a citizen nor National of the United States. 

44.    Occupancy Department - the department within BHA that is responsible for the admissions and screening process. The department has responsibility for marketing, intake, waiting list management, screening, and making offers of public housing apartments to qualified Applicants and transfer applicants. The Occupancy Department administers the Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy including eligibility for resident transfers. 

45.    Overcrowded - a condition of occupancy where too more people reside in an  apartment given its bedroom size and applicable standards 

46.    Overhoused - a condition of occupancy where too few people reside in an apartment according to BHA standards for occupancy. 

47.    Personal Care Attendant (PCA) - A person that regularly provides care and support and who may or may not reside with an Elderly, Handicapped, or Disabled person or persons. (See 5.5 for full definition) 
48.    Police Officer – For the purposes of this policy, a police officer is defined as a person   to be employed on a full-time basis as a duly licensed professional police officer by a Federal, State or local government or by any agency of these governments.  An officer of an accredited police force of a housing agency is a police officer. 

49.    Preference –   BHA gives Applicants Preference if they   are veterans, Boston Residents, or non-elderly disabled with a Household. Preference points are cumulative and are added to Priority points (if any) to determine an Applicant’s position on the BHA waiting list.  Specific Preference definitions and point information can be found in Chapter 4 of this policy.

50.    Priority – A defined housing related situation that necessitates a Household’s relocation.  The BHA gives points to Applicants with Priority that ranks those Applicants higher on the 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.  Specific Priority definitions and point information can be found in Chapter 4 of this policy.

51.    Qualified – An Applicant who is Eligible and has been approved for admission to BHA housing after meeting all requirements of the BHA Screening Policy.

52.    Qualified Healthcare Provider - a medical or rehabilitation professional or expert, OR non-medical service agency whose function is to provide services to the disabled.

53.    Reasonable Accommodation- A change or modification to BHA rules, policies, practices, or services or a Reasonable Structural Modification when such a change is reasonable and necessary on account of a persons disability to afford the person the ability to use and enjoy a BHA apartment or common areas, provided that the change does not pose an undue financial or administrative burden, or result in a fundamental alteration of BHA program.

54.    Reasonable Structural Modification- A change to a BHA apartment or to a common area which is reasonable and necessary on account of a person’s disability to afford the person the ability to use and enjoy BHA premises and which does not pose an undue financial and administrative burden or result in a fundamental alteration of BHA program.

55.    Residual Tenancy Applicant - An existing Household Member, (except a Personal Care Attendant), or an adult (if all other Household Members in the apartment are minors or incapacitated adults), willing to assume guardianship where appropriate of an apartment where the Head and Co-Head of Household vacates or becomes incapacitated.

56.    Residual Tenant - A remaining Household Member, (except a Personal Care Attendant), or an adult (if all other Household Members in the apartment are minors or incapacitated adults) who has been approved under this policy to remain a BHA resident.

57.    Non-Smoking – A designation whereby smoking is prohibited inside an apartment or building (including common areas) and within a defined distance of the building.

58.    State-Aided Housing – A low-rent housing development aided or financed by loans and/or annual contributions from DHCD.

59.    Temporary Housing” or “Temporarily Housed" - A person or family shall be considered temporarily housed if he/she has not entered into a tenancy. For this purpose a tenancy will be taken to mean an agreement (written or verbal) by which an individual or family occupies the real property (house or apartment) of another with permission and subject to a rental fee.

60.    Tenant Status Review (TSR) - The process and the document used to complete the required annual reexamination of all BHA residents.
61.    Transitional Housing Assistance -  As defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Transitional housing means a project that has as its purpose facilitating the movement of homeless individuals and families to permanent housing within a reasonable amount of time (usually 24 months). Transitional housing includes housing primarily designed to serve deinstitutionalized homeless individuals and other homeless individuals with mental or physical disabilities and homeless families with children
62.    Transitional Housing Assistance- As defined by the Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) statutory regulations for the state funded properties.
63.    Unauthorized Occupants - Individuals or families who are staying in an apartment leased by a BHA resident who: (a) have not been approved in writing by the BHA as additions to the Household; (b) have applied but have not yet been approved by the BHA as additions to the Household; (c) are staying beyond the limits established in the lease for temporary visitors.
64.    Under housed - a condition of occupancy where too many people reside in an apartment according to BHA standards for occupancy.
65.     Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards - Standards for the design, construction, and alteration of publicly owned residential structures to insure that mobility and/or sensory impaired persons will have ready access to and use of such structures.
66.    Use and Occupancy Agreement - an agreement between BHA and the  occupant of a BHA apartment whereby the occupant is entitled to use and occupy the apartment under specified conditions but is not entitled to reside as a tenant under a BHA lease or otherwise.   
67.    Utilities - Utilities means water, electricity, gas, other heating, refrigeration and cooking fuels, and sewerage services.  Telephone service, laundry, and cable service are not included as utilities.

68.    Vacancy Action Form – Document by which BHA staff report the status of a vacated apartment (see Section 6.2.3 for status categories).
69.    Vacate Date – The date on which a tenant vacates, abandonment proceedings are concluded; or the tenant is evicted.
70.    Veteran - Anyone who is a veteran as defined in M.G.L. c4, § 7, clause 43. The word “Veteran” as used in these policies shall include 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.
71.    Veterans’ Preference – A Preference that is given to Veterans, as defined above, when applying for BHA housing.  

See 24 CFR 5.403

Revision date:  8/13/14