Boston Housing Authority

Policies > Section 8 Admin Plan Ch 3: Applications & Admission

Section 8 Admin Plan

Chapter 3:Applications & Admission

3.1 Applications and Processing

3.1.1 Application Forms

Preliminary application forms are available at the BHA’s Central Office, located at 52 Chauncy Street, Boston, in its John F. Murphy Housing Service Center, located at 56 Chauncy Street, Boston, and at other locations, as determined by the BHA. Applications shall also be available by mail and may be downloaded from the BHA’s web-site. A preliminary application will be accepted from anyone who wishes to apply, if the waiting list for the program they want to apply to is open. The BHA will only accept applications by mail or hand delivery. The BHA will not accept applications by fax or email.

3.1.2    Processing and Maintenance

It is the BHA's policy to accept, process, and maintain applications in accordance with applicable BHA policy and federal regulations. The BHA will notify the Applicant upon receipt of an application whether the BHA is ordering its Waiting list by random or by a chronological a selection approach. See section 3.2.4.  An Applicant shall be given a date and time stamped receipt that informs the Applicant of his/her responsibility to notify the BHA of any change of address or Family Composition and to respond to application update requests sent to them.  Failure to update the BHA may result in removal of the application from the waiting list. See  section 3.2.5

3.1.3    Assignment of Application Client Control Number

Each Application will be assigned a client control number when completed and received by the BHA.

3.2       Waiting List Administration

3.2.1    Generally

The BHA must select Participants from a BHA waiting list, unless they are Special Admissions. See section 3.4. The BHA will maintain a single waiting list for its HCVP tenant-based assistance program. The BHA will also maintain separate, site-based, waiting lists for each development in its Project-Based Voucher program. An Applicant who meets the preliminary qualifications may add their name to any or all waiting lists. Each waiting list must contain the following information about each Applicant:
 
(a)        Applicant name;
(b)        Family Composition (to determine the number of bedrooms the Family qualifies for under the BHA Subsidy Standards described in section 5.4.3);
(c)        Whether the Family has any Elderly or Disabled members;
(d)        Date and time of application;
(e)        Racial and ethnic designation of each Family member;
(f)        Client Control Number (see section 3.1.3); and
(g)        Any approved Preference or Priority (see section 3.3).

3.2.2    Opening and Closing the Waiting List           

  1. Opening the Waiting List. The BHA will give at least two weeks advance public notice that a Family may apply for housing assistance before opening the waiting list. The notice must state where and when a Family should apply. The notice shall also state any limitations on the criteria for the type of Family that may apply. The notice shall be circulated in a local newspaper of general circulation, by minority media, and any other means that the BHA finds suitable. The notice shall also state the time limitation of the application period. Once a waiting list is open, the BHA must accept applications from a Family for whom the waiting list is open. Any opening of the waiting list will be publicized in accordance with the Marketing and Outreach requirements described in Chapter 2 of this Administrative Plan.

If the waiting list is open for special programs it will only be open for the purpose of accepting applications for the special programs.

  1. Closing a Waiting List. The BHA may close a waiting list anytime that the BHA determines that the Applicant pool is large enough to fill the estimated amount of available Vouchers for the next twelve (12) months. The BHA may close an entire waiting list or close only a portion, keeping part of the waiting list open to a certain Priority, or for any special programs.  


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

3.2.3    Updating the Waiting List

The BHA will update its waiting list periodically. The BHA will perform waiting list updates by removing, in accordance with section 3.2.5, the name of any Applicant:
 
(a)        Who is no longer interested; OR
(b)        No longer qualifies for housing; OR
(c)        Cannot be reached by mail sent to address provided by the Applicant (i.e., mail is returned to the BHA by the post office).

3.2.4    Selection Methods

Regardless of the selection method that the BHA uses, each application will be assigned an application client control number as described in section 3.1.3.

  1. Lottery or Random Selection Approach. The BHA may order its waiting list based on a random selection method. Once the application period is over and all applications are submitted, the BHA will randomly order the applications on its waiting list.

    (1)        Limitation on number of applications submitted. If the BHA believes it will receive far more Applicants than it will be able to assist within a reasonable period, then the BHA will make selection rules in advance to limit the number of applications placed on the waiting list. When the application deadline passes, the BHA will randomly select the previously determined number of applications from a pool of all applications submitted. The BHA will then randomly order the selected applications on the waiting list.

  1. Chronological Selection Approach. The BHA may order a waiting list based on the date and time the application is received. The BHA will assign a chronological application client control number and date and time stamp the application when the Applicant completes the application at a BHA application-taking location.

3.2.5    Removal of an Application from Waiting Lists

An Applicant may appeal the BHA’s decision to remove their application from a waiting list by requesting an informal review. A request for an appeal must be made in writing and must be received by the BHA within twenty (20) calendar days of the date of the notice removing the Applicant from the waiting list. The BHA will hold the files of Applicants removed from any waiting list for three (3) years.

An Applicant will be removed from the waiting lists of all programs they have selected by using the following procedure:

(a)  Withdrawal of an Application. The circumstances that result in the withdrawal of an Applicant's name from any or all waiting lists include:

(1)  The Applicant requests in writing that his/her name be removed; OR

(2)  The BHA has made reasonable efforts to contact the Applicant to determine continued interest or to schedule an interview, but has been unsuccessful in reaching the Applicant. A reasonable effort to contact the Applicant shall include, but not be limited to, 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; OR

(3)  If an Applicant fails to keep an appointment and fails to notify the BHA, within ten (10) days after the date of the appointment, of his/her inability to keep an appointment, or the Applicant fails to supply documentation to the BHA in accordance with section 5.3.2(d); OR

(4)  Being Denied Assistance (see Chapter 6: Denial of Voucher and Applicant Appeals).

Note: If an Applicant is otherwise eligible for the tenant-based HCVP but is denied assistance for a specific project-based program because the Applicant does not meet the specific requirements for a supportive services program, the Applicant will retain their position on the tenant-based HCVP waiting list.

(5)  An Eligible Applicant  on a PBV site based waitng list will receive an offer of an apartment of appropriate size at a PBV or Mod Rehab site of choice. Failure to accept the housing offer will result in withdrawal from the PBV and Mod Rehab waiting list(s).

The Applicant will lose any approved Priority and/or Preference. Furthermore, the Applicant will only be eligible to re-apply after one (1)year from the date of the most recent PBV or Mod Rehab unit rejection

(6)  Withdrawal Upon Becoming Housed

  1. When an Applicant becomes housed, the BHA will withdraw the Applicant from all BHA waiting lists for which the Applicant no longer qualifies for as a result of becoming housed.

(b)  Consideration of Circumstances Leading to Withdrawal The BHA will consider a Mitigating Circumstance in determining whether the Application should be withdrawn as described above in section 3.2.5(a). Such mitigating circumstances could include a health problem, a lack of transportation, or Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking that affected the Applicant’s ability to comply with the BHA’s requirements or prevented the BHA from contacting the Applicant. The Authority will also consider a Reasonable Accommodation that may be necessary for an Applicant who is a Disabled Person to keep an appointment or provide information. Consideration of a Mitigating Circumstance does not relieve the Applicant of the responsibility to provide required information or notify the BHA in writing.
 
(c)  Notice of Withdrawal or Ineligibility. The BHA will send a written notice to an Applicant who is removed from a waiting list. The notice will:

(1)      Inform the Applicant of the reasons for being withdrawn from the waiting list or being determined Ineligible;
 
(2)      Advise the Applicant of the right to dispute the BHA determination of ineligibility or withdrawal by requesting an informal review within twenty (20) calendar days of the date of the notice. A request for an informal review must be in writing and must state the reason(s) for the request;
 
(3)      Advise the Applicant that if s/he has a Disability, or is a victim of Domestic Violence, 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 the right to contest criminal record information in accordance with federal law if that is a basis for determination of ineligibility;
 
(5)      Provide a description of BHA’s informal review process and advise the Applicant that s/he has a right to be represented by an attorney or other individual at the informal review, to review the contents of their file in advance of the hearing, to submit additional documentation and evidence at the hearing, and to request a Reasonable Accommodation.          

3.2.6    Conversion of Project-Based to Tenant-Based Voucher          

Upon completion of one year in the Project Based Voucher (“PBV”) program, a Participant in good standing may choose to select a tenant-based Voucher.  If a Voucher is not immediately available, an eligible PBV Participant will be placed on a waiting list by date and time of tenant-based Voucher request. As soon as a tenant-based Voucher becomes available, the BHA will grant the tenant-based Voucher to the eligible PBV Participants who has requested a tenant-based Voucher by date and time of request. An eligible Participant who has completed one year in the PBV program shall be granted a tenant-based Voucher before any Applicant on a waiting list is granted a Voucher.

3.2.7    Applicant Family Break-up

A Family Break-Up occurs when a Head, Co-head of household, or other adult family member will no longer reside together and there is a dispute as to who will retain the Application. A Family Break-Up situation may occur in instances including but not limited to: divorce, separation, or protective order. When a Family Break-Up occurs, the Application does not necessarily remain with the Head of Household. 
 
When the BHA receives notice that a Family has broken up or will imminently break-up, the BHA will make the determination of which adult Family member shall retain the Application using the criteria and the procedure provided below. If the application is split between one or more adult Family members, each new Family must qualify for Priority and Preference as required to remain on the waiting list and may not rely on the Priority and Preference of the previously unified Family. 
 
(a)        Court Determination.
 
If a court has determined the disposition of the Family's Application subsidy 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.
 
(b)       BHA Determination
 
When there is no court determination, the BHA shall determine:
 
(1)        Which adult Household Member will continue with the Application; OR
 
(2)        If multiple adult Family members are to be granted separate Applications where all adult Family members meet Priority and Preference requirements to remain on the waiting list.

In making this determination, the BHA shall consider the interests of all Household Members. The BHA will use its discretion to decide which adult Household Member(s) will keep the Application by taking into account the following factors:
 
(i)  The interests of any minor children, physical custody;
 
(ii)  The interests of any ill, Elderly or Disabled Persons who are family members;
 
(iii)  Whether family members fled because of actual or threatened violence by a head or/and co-head (The BHA will take this factor into consideration regardless of whether the individuals who have fled and were recorded household members on the Application are the victims or the perpetrators);
 
(iv)  The amount of time since the Household Member(s) was/were added to the Family Composition. The BHA will consider this factor, on a case by case basis, the circumstances surrounding a Household Member’s being added or not having been added to the Household.
 
(v)  Any temporary or permanent restraining or protective orders.

(c)        Notice of Proposed Disposition of Application
 
When the BHA receives notice that a Family has broken up or will imminently break-up, the BHA will make an initial determination under section (b) regarding which Household Member shall retain the Application or if multiple Family members will have right to retain separate Applications. A notice shall be sent to any and all addresses identified by such adults, and not solely to the last address for the Head of Household. The notice shall describe what factors BHA utilized in arriving at its decision. The notice shall also state that all adult Family Members have twenty (20) days to request a review of the decision.
 
(d)       Right to Informal Review of BHA’s Initial Determination
 
If the Head or Co-head (or another adult as described in section (f) disagrees with the BHA’s determination regarding which person(s) shall retain the Application, that person may request an informal review of the determination. The request for an informal review must be made in writing and submitted to the BHA Occupancy Department, 52 Chauncy Street, 3rd floor, Boston, MA 02111, within twenty (20) days of the date of the BHA’s notice.
 
(e)        Procedure for Informal Review
 
If the Head, Co-Head, or another adult as described in section (f) requests an informal review disputing the BHA’s Family Break-Up determination, the BHA Occupancy Department shall conduct a review. The Head and co-Head (and other adults as may be required by section (f)) shall be given notice of the review date. The review will be conducted by a person who did not make, or is not the subordinate of the person who made the initial determination. The person requesting the review shall have the right to examine the documents relevant to the BHA’s determination. The BHA will redact any information, including addresses where applicable, which could compromise the safety of any person. The BHA may alter its usual review procedure and rules, consistent with applicable law, to assure the safety of all individuals who may be participating in the proceeding.
 
The person conducting the review shall issue a written decision within thirty (30) days from the review date.  The decision shall be sent to all adult Household Members (and other adults as may be required by section (f)).
 
(f)        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
 
Where:

(1)  There has been a Family Break-Up with one or more remaining Minor Household Members and no remaining Co-Head. 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 shall take over the Application using the criteria under section (b) above.
 
(2)  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.
 
(3)  Any adult granted the Application is subject to fulfill all preliminary and final eligibility requirements governed by this Administrative Plan or it successor.

(g)       Any adult granted the Application is subject to fulfill all preliminary and final eligibility requirements governed by this Administrative Plan or its successor.

3.3       Priority and Preference Admissions

The following system of Priorities and/or Preferences will be used for new admissions.
 
Process Overview:
 
A third party must verify all requests for Priority Status.  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 determination of Eligibility.
 
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 detailing the information still needed to complete the review for Priority status and the submission deadline.
 
Applicants who do not qualify for Priority status based on a review of the documents submitted are sent (or given) a notice 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 Department of Grievances and Appeals.
 
Applicants will be sorted on each waiting list in accordance with any approved Priority and/or Preference(s). The ranking categories utilized by the BHA are outlined below.

3.3.1    Definition of Priority

Priority is a housing-related situation that affects an Applicant’s present residential status. The BHA gives points to an Applicant with a Priority that ranks an Applicant higher on each waiting list than an Applicant 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.

3.3.2    Definition of Preference

The BHA gives preference to an Applicant on the waiting list if they qualify for one of the Preference categories listed below.  See section 3.3.6.  Preference points are cumulative and are added to the Applicant’s 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. 

3.3.3    Verification of Priority or Preference Status

The BHA will provide to each potential Applicant a description of all Priorities and Preferences that may be available.  BHA will verify the Priority during the application process as part of the determination of eligibility (See section 5.2). 

3.3.4    Granting of Priorities and/or Preferences

It is BHA policy that a Priority and/or Preference, as well as date and time of the application, establish placement position on a waiting list. The BHA will grant Priority and/or Preference to Applicants who are Eligible, Qualified, and meet the definitions of the Priorities and/or Preferences (see section 3.3.5) at the time they are certified for Admission.[1]  Applicants can apply for Priority status at anytime the waiting list is open. 

3.3.5    Priority Categories

(a)        Super Priority. The BHA will admit an Applicant to the Section 8 program before all other Applicants on the waiting list if:

(1)  The Applicant resides in BHA public housing, AND;

(i)  The Applicant Family is being temporarily displaced due to BHA rehabilitation and modernization programs; or

(ii)  The Applicant or a member of the Applicant Household is in imminent danger of life threatening injuries due to providing testimony or information regarding criminal activity to a local law enforcement agency; or

(iii)  The Applicant or a member of the Applicant Household is a victim of physical harassment, extreme or repeated vandalism to personal property and/or extreme and/or repeated verbal harassment, intimidation or coercion which places them in imminent danger and that cannot be expeditiously remedied in any other way; or
 
(iV)  The Applicant or a member of the Applicant Household has been or is currently a victim of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking, and has a reasonable belief of risk of imminent harm if he or she remains in the current Unit and no other BHA public housing sites are an appropriate alternative, or
 
(v)  The BHA cannot approve the Applicant’s request for Reasonable Accommodation at any of the BHA’s public housing sites because the request would be unreasonable, an undue financial burden, or a fundamental alteration of the program and the Applicant’s Request for Reasonable Accommodation could be resolved by being assisted under the HCVP.

(2) The Applicant is a Participant in the  BHA’s Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Program , AND;

(i)  The Applicant or a member of the Applicant Household is in imminent danger of life threatening injuries due to providing testimony or information regarding criminal activity to a local law enforcement agency; or

(ii)  The Applicant or a member of the Applicant Household is a victim of physical harassment, extreme or repeated vandalism to personal property and/or extreme and/or repeated verbal harassment, intimidation or coercion which places them in imminent danger; or
 
(iii)  The Applicant or a member of the Applicant Household has been or is currently a victim of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking, and has a reasonable belief of risk of imminent harm if he or she remains in the current Unit : or
 
(iv)  The Owner and/or the BHA cannot approve the Applicant’s request for Reasonable Accommodation at any of the BHA’s Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation sites because the request would be unreasonable, an undue financial burden for the Owner, or a fundamental alteration of the program, and the Applicant’s Request for Reasonable Accommodation could be resolved by being assisted under the HCVP.

 (3)  Verification Requirements:

Applicants will be asked to provide reliable documentation to show that their Family qualifies for Super-Priority as outlined in section 3.3.5(a)(1)and (2) . Such verification may include the following items:
 
(i)  A letter(s) from a Qualified Healthcare Provider describing an Applicant’s physical or mental condition and specifying housing conditions required because of the condition;

(ii)  For Reasonable Accommodation requests, reliable documentation from a Qualified Healthcare Provider or professional non-medical service agency, whose function it is to provide services to the disabled. Documentation should verify that the Applicant or a member of his/her Household is disabled under the applicable definitions in Federal and State law and describe the limitations attributable to the disability. Documentation must also describe how the accommodation being requested will overcome or alleviate those limitations;
 
(iii)  Police reports;

(iv)  Civil Rights incident reports;

(v) Copies of restraining orders;

(vI) Any other documentation that provides the BHA with evidence of Super Priority criteria. 

(b)  City of Boston Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness (ICHH) Programs Priority:

  1. Enhancing Economic Self-Sufficiency (EESS) Program

    The EESS program is an employment-specialized form of supported housing designed to permanently solve homelessness amongst a subset of homeless families residing in family emergency shelter in the City of Boston. Targeted will be heads-of- households with housing barriers related to limited rental housing history and constrained income potential. Typically, these will be single, younger heads of households without educational degrees or work experience. Households fitting this profile will be offered the following supports(1) 18 months of support services focused on bettering the head of household’s income opportunity, and (2) Section 8 rental assistance for those participating households that are willing to participate in economic self-sufficiency activities.
     
    The BHA will provide no less than thirty (30) tenant based housing vouchers to qualified participants in this program. The City of Boston will provide funding from the Massachusetts Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness (MICHH) to Heading Home, a EESS contracted non-profit agency to provide support services to participants. Heading Home will identify and refer qualified EESS applicants to the BHA.

  1. Housing and Stabilizing Chronically Homeless with Supports and Employment (HSCHSE) Program

    The HSCHSE program will be a Housing First Initiative designed to permanently solve homelessness amongst Long Term Stayers in Boston’s homeless shelters. The HSCHSE Program will combine three program features;(1) permanent housing through the BHA’s public and Section 8 Program, (2) case management tailored to specific needs of the target population, and (3) Work First Services that link housing stabilization with vocational support and job opportunity.
     
    The BHA will provide no less than fifty(50) tenant based housing vouchers to qualified participants in this program. The City of Boston will provide funding from the Massachusetts Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness(MICHH) to Home to Stay, a group of non-profit agencies partnering to provide support services to participants. Home to Stay will identify and refer qualified  applicants to the BHA.

  1. Linking Treatment to Housing Program

    The Linking Treatment to Housing Program is a supported housing program serving chronically homeless individuals in the City of Boston with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse. The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and the BHA have partnered to create this program which seeks to serve 325 chronically homeless individuals over a five year period. The BPHC will provide services through funding received from a five year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The BHA will provide a total of 325 vouchers over the grant period with 45 vouchers to be provided in the first year and 70 vouchers to be provided per year for years 2-5.  The BPHC will identify and refer qualified applicants to the BHA wherein the BHA shall screen for HCVP eligibility.

    The goal of the Linking Treatment to Housing program is to improve residential stability and reduce psychiatric symptoms and substance use for 325 chronically homeless people in Boston with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse over the 5-year project period. To achieve this goal, the project has the following three objectives. Each objective encompasses the 325 members of the target population to be served over the project period. We expect that 45 clients will be served in Year 1 (allowing for the three-month start-up period) and 70 clients annually in Years 2-5.

    Objective 1. Client recruitment and connection to housing. Select members of the target population in need of permanent housing and, using vouchers provided by the Boston Housing Authority and housing search provided by HomeStart and other project partners, connect them to subsidized housing in the community.

    Objective 2. Provide case management and integrated treatment services using the Critical Time Intervention (CTI) model. The model has three phases: 2A. Transition to community: Upon a client’s enrollment in the project, the Clinical Supervisor or Case Manager will perform an initial needs assessment (including substance abuse, mental health, money management, housing crisis management, vocational and other needs).  With the client, the Case Manager will formulate a treatment plan, focusing on selected areas identified as crucial in facilitating the client’s stability and community assimilation. The Case Manager will also link the client to services in the community. 2B. Try-out: Test and adjust the systems of support that have been established in the community and make necessary adjustments in the treatment plan. 2C. Transfer of care: Secure links to community providers to support a client’s longer-term reduction of stability in the community.

    Objective 3. Service consortium. Support long-term stability in the community for program clients and develop capacity among Boston service providers for integrated services to newly housed homeless individuals by establishing and maintaining a consortium of services providers in housing, housing search, substance abuse treatment, mental health, employment and other support services.
    Achieving these goals and objectives will strengthen the ability of service providers in Boston to stabilize and support chronically homeless individuals with serious mental illness so that they can live in their own homes.

    4.  Leading the Way Home

    The Leading the Way Home program is a form of supported housing designed to permanently solve homelessness amongst a subset of Boston homeless families residing in family emergency shelters funded by the State of Massachusetts. Households fitting this profile will be offered the following supports(1) 18 months of support services focused on stabilization and self-sufficiency, and (2) Section 8 rental assistance for those participating households that are willing to participate in stabilization and economic self-sufficiency activities.

    The BHA will provide no less than five-hundred(500) tenant based housing vouchers to qualified participants in this program. The State of Massachusetts will provide funding for the stabilization and supportive services for participants. The Massachusetts Department of Hosuing and Community Development(DHCD) or its subcontractor will identify and refer qualifiedLeading the Way Home  applicants to the BHA.
     
    (c)        The U.S. Congress and HUD Homeless Study Priority
     
    The City of Boston has been selected by HUD to be one of twelve communities nationwide that will participate in a study of the impact of various service and housing interventions in ending homelessness for families.  The study will compare four types of housing assistance and services to determine which interventions work best to promote housing stability, family preservation, child well-being, adult well- being, and self-sufficiency. HUD has contracted with a team of researchers led by Abt Associates Inc. to design and carry out this evaluation. To provide the strongest possible evidence of the effects of the housing and services interventions, the evaluation will use an experimental research design, with eligible families assigned at random to one of the four designated housing and services interventions.
     
    The four study interventions that will be offered to eligible households include transitional housing, rapid re-housing, usual care and subsidy only. The BHA will make available up to sixty-five(65) tenant based vouchers for homeless families who volunteer to participate in this study. Study participants will be selected by Abt Associates and those applicant households randomly assigned to the subsidy only intervention will be referred to the BHA by Abt Associates.
      
     (d)      Priority 1

    The BHA grants Priority 1 status to an Applicant whose verified circumstances, during the final eligibility interview (see section 5.3) and prior to execution of the Lease, fall within one of the following categories:
     

(1)  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:

(i)  A copy of the incident report from the local Fire Department or other appropriate agency who deals with disasters; and
 
(ii)  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
 
(iii)  Verification from the Fire department, the Inspectional Services Department, the Health Department or other appropriate agency that the dwelling Unit is now uninhabitable; and
 
(iv)  The cause of the disaster if known (Note: 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 the BHA).

(2)  Displacement Due to Domestic Violence/Dating Violence /or Stalking, which is defined as displacement from an address where the Applicant is/was the tenant of record due to continuing actual or threatened physical violence (including sexual abuse) directed against one or more of the Household Members.

Verification must include:

(i)  Submission of a fully completed "Certificate of Involuntary Displacement Due to Domestic Violence/Dating Violence/or Stalking”; OR

(ii)  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.

(iii)  Verification will not be considered valid unless it:

Supplies the name of the threatening or abusive Household Member or other legal occupant of the dwelling Unit,

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) or continuing nature if the Applicant is still residing in the dwelling where the violence has occurred or is occurring, or

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

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

(3)  Victim of hate crime. The Applicant or a member of the Household has been a victim of one or more hate crimes AND the Applicant Family 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:

(i)  Submission of a fully completed “Certificate of Involuntary Displacement by Hate Crimes” or documentation from a law enforcement agency that the Applicant or a Household Member was a victim of such crime(s); AND
 
(ii)  Has vacated the dwelling because of such crime(s); or experienced fear associated with such crime(s) and the fear has destroyed the peaceful enjoyment of their current dwelling Unit.

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

(i)  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
 
(ii)  Documentation that, following a threat assessment conducted by the law enforcement 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 Family member(s) are themselves the victims of such crimes and have provided information or testimony to a law enforcement agency.

(5)   Court-ordered no-fault eviction: An eviction pursuant to an Order for Judgment (or Agreement for Judgment) issued by a court because of:
  • Landlord action beyond the Applicant’s ability to control to prevent; and

  • The action occurred despite the Applicant having met all lawfully imposed Lease conditions; and

  • Displacement was not the result of failure to comply with United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“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 and failure to establish any one of the following elements will result in denial of Priority status):

(i)  Submission of a fully completed “certificate of Involuntary Displacement by Landlord Action”; and

(ii)  A copy of the Notice to Quit issued by the landlord or property manager; and

(iii)  A copy of the Summons and Complaint available from the court; and

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

(v)  A copy of the Judgment of the Court (or an Agreement for Judgment, Order for Judgment and Findings of Fact, or Default Judgment); and

(vi)  If applicable, a copy of the execution issued by the court.

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

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

  • The action by the landlord or property manager occurred despite the Applicant having met all previously imposed conditions of occupancy;

  • Displacement was not the result of failure to comply with HUD or 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.

 (6)  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:

(i)  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
 
(ii)  The precise reason(s) for such displacement

(7)   Other Government Action: An Applicant 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:

(i)  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
 
(ii)  The precise reason(s) for such displacement

(8)  For Disabled Persons only, inaccessibility of a critical element of their current dwelling unit: A Household Member 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 Family member with the disability.
 
Verification Requirements:

(i)  The name of the Family member who is unable to use the critical element;
 
(ii)  A written statement from a Qualified Healthcare Provider verifying that a Family 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 
 
(iii)  A statement from the landlord or official of a government or other agency providing service to such Disabled Person 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.

(9)  Homelessness: A Household lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime habitation OR the primary nighttime dwelling is one of the following:

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

  • A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping place for human beings.

Note: Persons living with current BHA Participants or living with tenants in private or subsidized housing DO NOT qualify as homeless.

 Verification Requirements:

(i)  Submission of a  “Certificate of Homelessness” fully completed by an appropriate source and the Applicant's signed statement 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); or
 
(B)  A public or private place not designed or used as a regular sleeping place for human beings.

 (ii)  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.

(10)  Graduates of Project-Based Units Who Have Fulfilled Supportive Service Goals: A participant in a transitional housing program for Elderly or Disabled Persons which includes a supportive services component (for example the Shelter Plus Care Program) shall be considered to be imminently in danger of homelessness. Such a program participant shall be eligible as a Priority One Applicant if:
 
(1)        The person has been a tenant in such a program for not less than twelve (12) months; and
 
(2)        The person no longer requires the or completed the program’s services (as determined by the program service provider); and
 
(3)        As a result must relocate from such housing.          

3.3.6    Admission Preference

An Applicant may only apply for a Preference when the waiting list is open.
 
Preference points are cumulative and are added to Priority points (if any) to determine an Applicant’s position on a BHA waiting list.  An Applicant may qualify for more than one Preference at a time.
 
A  Priority One Applicant with a Preference will be ranked above a Priority One Applicant with no Preferences. Preferences are cumulative, so an Applicant with more than one Preference (e.g., Veterans and Displaced) will be ranked higher within his or her Priority category than an Applicant with only one Preference. 
 
The Preference categories are described below:
 
(a)        Elderly/Non-Elderly Disabled Person Preferences
 
The Boston Housing Authority has an Admissions preference for a single person Applicant, who is Elderly or Disabled over other single persons. An Applicant will be given preference over an Applicant who is a Single Person who is not an Elderly or Disabled person within each waiting list Priority category. 
 
Note: A single woman who is pregnant at the time of admission, or a Single Person who has secured or is in the process of securing the custody of any individual(s) below the age of 18, will not be considered a Single Person for the purposes of this preference.
 
(b)        Veterans Preference

 A “veteran”, as used in this Administrative Plan 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. 
 
Verification Requirement:

(i)         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.

(c)        Working Families Preference
 
(1)        Definition of a Working Family: 

A Family whose Head of Household or other adult member is employed full time and who has been employed for the last six months.  Full time is defined as working at least 32 hours a week.

(2)        An Applicant shall be given the benefit of the Working Family preference if the head and spouse, or sole member is age 62 or older, or is a Disabled Person.
 
(3)        Verification Requirements:

(i)         Four most recent pay stubs; or
 
(ii)        Verification from employer that Family meets the definition of a working Family.

(d)        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
 
(1)        No length of Residency Required

This Preference is not based on how long the Applicant resided within 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,and (2)  The following documentation in conjunction with Priority documentation to establish displacement will verify the Displaced Boston Tenant Preference:

  • Landlord verification;

  • A copy of a Lease;

  • Utility Bill (electric, gas, oil, or water)

  • Mortgage Payments;

  • Letter from School Department;

  • Letter from Social Security Department;

  • Taxes;

  • Other verification deemed acceptable by BHA.

(3)        Non-discriminatory Effect of Preference 
 
This 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 Family.           

3.3.7    Standard Applicants

Standard Applicants are Applicants that do not qualify for any Priority category.

3.3.8    Point System

(a)        The Priority point system used by BHA to process new Admissions on all waiting lists is as follows:
 
PBV to TBV                                                                 95 points

Super Priority Applicants                                            75 points
 
City of Boston ICHH Programs Priority                 50 points
 
US Congress and HUD Homelessness Study      50 points
 
Priority One Applicants                                               30 points
 
Standard Applicants                                                    0 points  
 
(b)        Preference points will be added to Priority points as follows for Applicants for Admission only:
 
Single, Elderly or Disabled                                      5 Points
 
Veterans Preference                                                 3 points

Displaced Boston Tenant Preference                    2 points  
                               
Working Families Preference                                  1 points

3.4       Special Admissions

Applicants may be admitted to the Housing Choice Voucher program even though they are not on the BHA’s waiting list if they are part of a group targeted by HUD for special assistance.  Applicants admitted as “Special Admissions” according to this section will not be counted against the income targeting requirement that a minimum of 75% of new Admissions to the BHA’s Section 8 program have Family income that is thirty percent (30%) or below the Area Median Income as established by HUD. (See 24 C.F.R. § 982.203(b) for examples of assistance targeted by HUD).

 


[1] If the Applicant is denied priority status and requests an informal review, the hearing officer at the review will determine the priority status at the time of certification and not at the time of the hearing.  The BHA will take into consideration the individual circumstances of each Applicant.