Public housing is intended to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. In its broadest definition public housing includes apartments owned and managed by public housing authorities and subsidized apartments privately owned and managed. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to high-rise apartments. Throughout the United States - there are approximately 1.3 million households living in federally subsidized public housing units. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers federal aid to local housing agencies. In Massachusetts further public housing aid is provided to local housing authorities by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE CHATHAM HOUSING AUTHORITY?
The Chatham Housing Authority is responsible for the management and operation of its local public housing programs and various voucher programs. Ongoing functions include: (a) in Public Housing Programs, assure compliance with leases; in the Voucher Programs, assure compliance with the voucher contract; (b) set other charges (e.g., security deposit, excess utility consumption, and damages to unit); (c) perform periodic reexaminations of the family's income at least once every 12 months; (d) transfer families from one unit to another as available units permit in order to correct over/under crowding, make necessary repairs, or because of a resident's request to be transferred; (e) terminate leases (or voucher contracts) when necessary; and (f) for Public Housing Programs, repair or renovate a dwelling, maintain the developments in a decent, safe, and sanitary condition.
In the Voucher Programs, inspect leased units for compliance with safe and sanitary state and federal requirements as applicable.
WHAT ARE PUBLIC HOUSING PROGRAMS?
Apartments owned and managed by the Housing Authority are available under the Public Housing Program. These apartments are intended to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
The CHA is the landlord, with all of the accompanying responsibilities of administration, maintenance, and management of these apartments. These apartments are supported by funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) which regulates the eligibility and other requirements of each property.
WHAT ARE LEASED HOUSING OR RENTAL VOUCHER PROGRAMS?
Leased Housing or Rental Voucher Programs (oftentimes referred to as Section 8 Housing) use rental vouchers to subsidize the family's rent paid to private landlords. This allows eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities the opportunity to afford private rental apartments. The Chatham Housing Authority is a hosting authority for this program and performs the duties as outlined by HUD regulations on the eligibility and other requirements of the specific Housing Voucher Program.
WHAT KINDS OF PUBLIC HOUSING PROGRAMS ARE THERE?
There are two categories of subsidized housing programs: Public Housing Programs where the Housing Authority is the landlord and Leased Housing or Rental Voucher Programs where private individuals, companies or corporations are the landlord.
AM I ELIGIBLE?
Our housing programs are intended for low-income families and individuals. Eligibility is based upon (1) annual income, (2) whether you qualify as elderly, a disabled individual, or as a family and (3) U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status. References are checked to verify whether you and your family will be good tenants. Income limits have been determined for eligibility purposes for all the programs that we offer. Please see the Income Limits. You must call our Office at (508) 945-0478 to find out if you are eligible for any programs.
HOW DO I APPLY?
Call (508) 945-0478 for applications or download from www.mass.gov/dhcd
WHAT ARE YOUR HOURS OF OPERATIONS?
Monday through Thursday – 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Friday – 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME WHEN I APPLY?
The Standard Application and Emergency Application with documented emergency is
all that is required when applying. Once your number is nearing the top of our waiting list we will contact you for further information and documentation.
HOW DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS WORK?
The application process begins with completing an application with the Housing Authority. Certain documents and information are required as part of the application process. Required documentation for each program application may vary. We suggest you contact our office (508)945-0478 to learn more about the documents you will need to provide to us at the time of your application.
Generally, the Authority will need to collect the following information to determine eligibility: (1) Names of all persons who would be living in the unit, their sex, date of birth, and relationship to the family head; (2) Your present address and telephone number; (3) Family characteristics (e.g., veteran) or circumstances (e.g., living in substandard housing) that might qualify the family for tenant selection preferences; (4) Names and addresses of your current and previous landlords for information about your family's suitability as a tenant; (5) An estimate of your family's anticipated income for the next twelve months and the sources of that income; (6) The names and addresses of employers, banks, and any other information the Authority would need to verify your income and deductions, and to verify the family composition; and (7) The Authority also may visit you in your home to interview you and your family members to see how you manage the upkeep of you current home.
WILL I NEED TO PRODUCE ANY DOCUMENTATION?
Yes, the Housing Authority will request documentation necessary to verify the information on your application (e.g., birth certificates, tax returns, direct verification from your employer). As part of the application process, you will be asked to sign an authorization form releasing pertinent information to the Housing Authority.
WHEN WILL I BE NOTIFIED?
The Housing Authority will review all information and documentation provided in your application for public housing or for voucher assistance. Upon the completion of the review, a decision on your eligibility will be made. If you are eligible, the Housing Authority will send you written confirmation indicating that your name has been placed on respective program(s) waiting list(s). Once your name is reached on the waiting list, you will be contacted immediately. If you are ineligible, the Housing Authority will send you written notification indicating the reason of ineligibility. You may request an informal hearing to discuss the circumstances of the Housing Authority's decision.
WILL I HAVE TO SIGN A LEASE?
A client who has accepted an apartment offered in a Public Housing Program (apartments owned and managed by the Chatham Housing Authority), will sign a lease with the Housing Authority. In addition, the client may be required to provide a security deposit. A representative of the Housing Authority will review the lease with the client to make certain the client understands his tenant responsibilities as well as the Housing Authority's responsibilities.
In the Leased Housing Voucher Programs, a lease for the unit will be signed by both the client and the private landlord. The client also signs a voucher contract with the Housing Authority. The Housing Authority is not the landlord for the property. The client may be required to provide a security deposit. The Housing Authority will inspect the apartment to be leased to make sure it is safe, sanitary and well maintained. The voucher contract will be reviewed with the client to make certain the client understands his tenant responsibilities.
ARE THERE ANY SELECTION PREFERENCES?
Yes, there are preferences to specific groups of families. These preferences enable the Housing Authority to direct its limited housing resources to the families with the greatest housing needs. The Housing Authority determines these preferences from the information provided during the application process.
HOW IS RENT DETERMINED?
Rent is based upon your family's gross annual income, with deductions and exclusions according to applicable regulations. Deductions and exclusions vary with different programs. Typical deduction examples include: allowances for dependents, elderly family members, disabled individuals, and medical expenses for families headed by an elderly person or a person with disabilities. These examples may or may not be applicable to the program you are applying for and to your family's situation. The formula used in determining your family's rent varies from program to program but is generally a percentage of your monthly adjusted income (Monthly Adjusted Income is annual income less deductions allowed by the regulations), or a minimum rent established for that program by the Housing Authority, or welfare rent (if applicable) or a market (flat) rent.
IS THERE PARKING PROVIDED AT DEVELOPMENTS?
Yes, parking is provided at all developments. Availability of parking for apartments under the Leased Housing Voucher Programs varies from apartment to apartment.
HOW LONG CAN I STAY IN PUBLIC HOUSING OR A VOUCHER PROGRAM?
In general, you may stay in public housing or retain your voucher as long as you comply with the lease or terms of the voucher contract and meet the income eligibility requirements of the program. You will not be required to move from public housing unless there is affordable housing available for you in the private market except for violation of terms of your lease or contract--and this only after due process.