Admissions And Continued Occupancy Policy

Chapter 3:Preliminary Apps & Processing

3.1 Application Forms

Preliminary application forms shall be available at the Boston Housing Authority’s Central Office located at 52 Chauncy Street, Boston; in its Housing Service Center, located at 56 Chauncy Street, Boston, on the BHA’s web-site, online through the Common Housing Application for Massachusetts Public Housing (CHAMP) website, and at other locations, as determined by the Authority. Applications may also be available by mail and may be downloaded from the BHA’s web-site at A preliminary application will be accepted from anyone who wishes to apply provided that: the Waiting List for the development(s) in which they are interested is open.  

3.2  Development Choice

The BHA maintains separate waiting lists for each of its public housing developments. Applicants may choose to apply for any or all of the developments for which they meet the minimum threshold requirements (See Section 5.1.2). Applicants may add or remove developments choices at any time prior to entering the final eligibility screening process except for reasonable accommodation and/or extenuating circumstances which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Once the applicant is contacted by the BHA to schedule the personal interview appointment no changes in development choice(s) shall be accepted. Failure to schedule the personal interview appointment or complete the screening process for one of the developments of choice shall result in the withdrawal from all BHA public housing waiting lists.
Single individuals may elect to be placed either on the studio waiting list of a development(s) of choice or on the one-bedroom waiting list of a development(s) of choice. 
Note: An unborn child shall be counted as a person in determining apartment size for admission purposes only. Therefore, a single individual if pregnant does not qualify to elect a studio or one-bedroom waiting list(s).
Some BHA studio waiting lists have a shorter waiting period to near the top of the waiting list. Therefore, as a result the Applicant may be contacted sooner to begin their final eligibility screening process. Applicants who elect studio waiting list(s) and are housed in a studio apartment, shall have the option to apply for an Emergency Transfer to move to a one-bedroom apartment at a development of choice if:

  1. Has resided in the studio apartment at least for two years; and

  2. Is a Resident in good standing. No waivers of this requirement shall be approved.

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

3.2.1  Monitoring

As part of the Annual Plan submission to HUD and as part of a semi-annual report to DHCD, the BHA will monitor the racial, ethnic, and disability-related  composition of Households residing at each BHA development and on each development waiting list. The purpose of this monitoring will be to assess changes in racial, ethnic, or disability-related Household composition at each BHA development that may have occurred during the implementation of the site-based waiting list.
In addition, at least every three years the BHA shall contract with an independent agency specializing in fair housing, to employ independent testers or other means satisfactory to HUD and DHCD, to assure that its site-based waiting lists are not being implemented in a discriminatory manner, and that no patterns or practices of discrimination exist.  The BHA shall provide the results of this review to HUD and DHCD and shall take steps to remedy any problems found during the review including steps necessary to affirmatively further fair housing.

3.2.2  Remedial Action

Based upon the above-mentioned monitoring, the BHA will review the need to take steps to remedy any problems that surfaced during the review. These steps may include some or all of the following:

  • Initiate affirmative marketing strategies
  • Provide additional applicant consultation and information
  • Provide additional supportive services and amenities
  • Target investment and capital improvements towards a development
  • Modify marketing efforts in response to assessment of occupancy patterns and the composition of the waiting lists.

3.3 Processing Applications for Admission

3.3.1 Processing

It is the BHA's policy to accept and process applications in accordance with applicable BHA, Federal and State regulations and handbooks.

3.3.2 Assignment of Application Control Number

All applications shall be assigned a chronological application control number and shall be dated and time stamped when they are completed at a BHA application-taking location.  All Applicants shall be given a date and time stamped receipt that informs Applicants of their responsibility to notify the BHA of any change of address or Household composition and to respond to application update requests sent to them.

3.3.3 Communications                      

 1. BHA to Applicants

All communications with Applicants will be by first class mail, except when an Applicant who is a Disabled Person requests some other form of communication (for example, a telephone call, communication with a designated third party, etc.). Failure to respond to BHA communications may result in withdrawal of an Applicant from all waiting lists.

2. Applicants to BHA         

It is the responsibility of each Applicant to inform the BHA in writing of any change in address, telephone number, Household composition, change in Priority, Good Cause, or other information, which may affect the status of the application while on the waiting lists.  For an Applicant with no fixed address, such as homeless Households, the address of a social service agency may be used for BHA contacts; however, if the Applicant finds permanent housing, the address must be reported to the BHA in writing at once.

3.3.4  Waiting List Updates

On a regular cycle determined by the Authority, the BHA will send each Applicant on its waiting lists a notice (or other form of communication specified by an Applicant with a Disability) in which an appropriate response notice is enclosed. An Applicant that has through other communication with the BHA expressed wait list interest during the previous cycle will be treated as a completed update.
The notice will request each Applicant to return the response if s/he is still interested in public housing and to indicate on the response any changes in Household size, income, address, and other information as requested.  Applicants will have twenty (20) calendar days from date of the notice to respond to the update notice.

As responses are returned, an Applicant’s waiting list position is updated for each individual development for which they have applied.  If an Applicant does not return the response, the application is withdrawn from all waiting lists and the Applicant notified of the opportunity to appeal pursuant to Section 4.1.4 (Applicant Appeals/Informal Hearings) of this policy.

If an update letter to an Applicant is returned to the BHA because the Applicant is no longer at the address to which it was mailed, and the Applicant has not notified the BHA in writing of an address change, the application will be withdrawn from all waiting lists and the Applicant notified of the opportunity to appeal pursuant Section 4.1.4 (Applicant Appeals-Informal Hearings) of this policy.


All Applicants will be given a Notice entitled: Notice to All Applicants: Options for Applicants with Disabilities. This notice explains the BHA’s responsibilities for providing reasonable accommodations and recites examples of what a reasonable accommodation might entail.


Preliminary application forms will not be accepted unless they are complete, legible and signed by the Head of Household and Co-Head of Household (if applicable).  (See section 1.3.3 for more information on forms of communication other than plain language paperwork).

Revision date:  06/11/2019

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