About Public Housing
Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to apartments for elderly families.
Public Housing FAQs
Do I Qualify For CMHA Public Housing?
Public housing is limited to income-qualified families and individuals. CMHA determines your eligibility based on:
- Annual gross income;
- Whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family; and
- U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status. If you are eligible, CMHA will check your references to make sure you and your family will be good tenants.
CMHA may deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the project's environment.
CMHA uses income limits developed by HUD. HUD sets the lower income limits at 80% and very low income limits at 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which you choose to live. Income limits vary from area to area so you may be eligible at one HA but not at another. All extremely low income and very low income families are eligible for both the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program programs. Low income families are also eligible for the Public Housing program but with restrictions. Listed below are the income limits for CMHA:
How do I apply for Public Housing?
To apply for public housing, please complete a pre-application at the CMHA location listed below:
What information do I need to complete the application?
All applicants for CMHA public housing must be 18 years of age or older, or an emancipated minor, and must provide the following information when making application:
- Picture ID for each person 18 years of age or older (current state ID or driver's license)
- Birth certificates and social security cards for each adult and child who will be living in the apartment. (additional information on replacement social security cards and related information)
- Present and past landlords. Please provide the names, addresses (street, city, state, zip code), and phone numbers of all landlords for the past five years.
- Applicants who have previously lived in public housing or who have participated in the Housing Choice Voucher Program, need to provide the address and dates of their prior residences.
- Divorced applicants must provide a copy of the divorce decree.
- Pregnant or applicants with a disability must provide a doctor's statement.
CMHA will also need to verify your income and assets. Please provide documentation for any of the following items that apply:
- Employment Income
- School Verification
- Veterans Benefits
- Child Support Orders
- Social Security Income
- Pension (Retirement)
- Bank Account Verification
- TANF Benefits Printout
- Supplemental Security Income
- Railroad Retirement
- Home Value (Tax statements/appraisals)
- Unemployment Benefits
- No-Income Statement
- Self-Employment Verification
When will CMHA notify me of my eligibility?
Once CMHA determines if you are eligible for the public housing program, the agency will notify you in writing and your name will be put on a waiting list, unless CMHA is able to offer housing immediately. Otherwise, CMHA will contact you once your name reaches the top of the list. If CMHA determines you are ineligible you will receive an explanation of the determination; however, you are free to request an informal hearing on the decision.
How Does CMHA Determine Rent?
Your rent, which is referred to as the Total Tenant Payment (TTP) in this program, would be based on your family's anticipated gross annual income minus deductions, if any.
Based on your application, a CMHA representative will determine if any of the allowable deductions should be subtracted from your annual income. Annual income is the anticipated total income from all sources received from the family head and spouse, and each additional member of the family 18 years of age or older. The formula used in determining the TTP is the highest of the following, rounded to the nearest dollar:
- 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income. (Monthly Adjusted Income is annual income less deductions allowed by the regulations);
- 10 percent of monthly income;
- $25 minimum rent; or
- Flat rents which are set at 80% of fair market
Does CMHA have housing that accommodates disabilities?
CMHA continues its commitment to serve low-income individuals with disabilities. Nearly 100 units at seven existing public housing properties and three new construction projects comply with Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS). These units are located throughout the county at Riverside Park, West Boulevard Place, Bellaire Road Apartments, Delaney Village, Willson Tower, Scranton Castle, Carver Park, Phases II and III of Heritage View Homes, and Legacy Park at Outhwaite Homes. All of these units have been certified as UFAS- compliant, along with the modifications made at the King Kennedy Boys and Girls Club and Day Care Center facilities.
Download the Public Housing Reasonable Accommodation Application (PDF)
What if I move while on the waitlist?
Approximate waitlist times vary by bedroom size, type of unit (family vs. high rise) and admission preferences. An Intake Specialist will contact you once your name reaches the top of the waiting list for the appropriate bedroom size. You should contact CMHA if there is a change in your address or in any other information previously provided to CMHA that might affect your waitlist status.
If I am older than 62, how do I secure designated housing?
If you are 62 or older when you submit your application, you may obtain an on-the-spot eligibility interview on a walk-in basis at CMHA’s Applications Office.
Are there any selection preferences?
CMHA has implemented local preferences in tenant selection from the waitlist. A "preference" is an existing situation which qualifies you for a priority position on the waitlist once you have been determined eligible for HUD-assisted public housing.
A preference does not guarantee admission. You must still meet or exceed the CMHA’s tenant screening criteria for eligibility. Each claimed preference is equally weighted. Preferences are not ranked in any order. Preferences will be given to applicants who are eligible and who, at the time all other eligibility factors/information is verified, meet the criteria.
Public housing program preferences consist of seven high priority preferences for:
- victims of natural disasters,
- involuntary displacement,
- successful completion of a substance abuse treatment or supportive housing program housed within or in partnership with CMHA,
- individuals aging out of foster care,
- enrollment in the County’s Pay for Success Intervention Model for Family Unification,
- transfers from other CMHA-managed housing programs, and
- homeless families with children:
and three standard priority preferences for:
- working families and those unable to work because of age (elderly) or disability (disabled), and
- Veterans and veterans’ families.