Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to multi-level apartments for elderly families. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers Federal aid to local housing agencies that manage the housing for low income residents at rents they can afford.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE? Public housing is limited to low-income families and individuals. The Housing Authority determines your eligibility based on: I) annual gross income; 2) whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family; and 3) U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status. If you are eligible, the Housing Authority will check your references to make sure you and your family will be good tenants. We will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the development’s environment.
The Housing Authority of the City of Bessemer 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 BHA but not at another Authority.
HOW DO I APPLY? If you are interested in applying for public housing, contact the Housing Authority of the City of Bessemer’s Central Office at the address or telephone number indicated on the Website.
HOW DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS WORK? The application must be written. Either you or the Authority’s representative will fill it out. We will require the following information to determine you or your family’s 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., displaced or working) 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 requested to verify your income and deductions, and to verify the family composition; and The Authority also may visit you in your home to interview you and your family members to see how you manage the upkeep of your current home. After obtaining this information, a BHA representative will describe the public housing program and its requirements, and answer any questions you might have.
WILL I NEED TO PRODUCE ANY DOCUMENTATION? Yes, the Housing Authority’s representative will request whatever documentation is needed (e.g., birth certificates, tax returns) to verity the information given on your application. The Housing Authority of the City of Bessemer will also rely on direct verification from your employer, etc. You will be asked to sign a form to authorize release of pertinent information to the Housing Authority.
WHEN WILL I BE NOTIFIED? If the Housing Authority determines that you are eligible, we will provide written notification. Your name will be placed on our waiting list, unless the BHA determines we are able to assist you immediately based on creditable evidence relative to one of the Housing Authority’s preferences. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, we will contact you. If it is determined that you are ineligible, you will receive a letter explaining the reason for denial. If you wish, you can request an informal meeting in writing.
WILL I HAVE TO SIGN A LEASE? If you are offered a house or apartment and accept it, you will have to sign a lease with us, and you will be required to pay the Housing Authority a security deposit. You and the HA representative should go over the lease together. This will give you a better understanding of your responsibilities as a tenant and the Housing Authority’s responsibilities as a landlord.
ARE THERE ANY SELECTION PREFERENCES? Giving preference to specific groups of families enables us to direct our limited housing resources to the families with the greatest housing needs. Since the demand for housing assistance often exceeds the limited resources available to HUD and the local Housing Authorities, long waiting periods are common. In fact, any Housing Authority may choose to close its waiting list when there are more families on the list than can be assisted in the near future. Therefore the Housing Authority of the City of Bessemer has established preferences to reflect needs in our own community and the surrounding areas. These preferences are included in the Housing Authority’s Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP). You should feel free to ask what preferences we honor so you will know whether you quality for a preference.
HOW IS RENT DETERMINED? 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 less deductions, if any. HUD regulations allow us to exclude from annual income the following allowances: $480 for each dependent; $400 for any elderly family, or a person with a disability; and some medical deductions for families headed by an elderly person or a person with disabilities. Based on your application, our 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 19 years of age or older (18 years of age if married). The formula used in determining the TTP is the highest of the following, rounded to the nearest dollar:
- (1) 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income. (Monthly Adjusted Income is annual income less deductions allowed by the regulations);
- (2) 10 percent of monthly income;
- (3) welfare rent, if applicable; or
- (4) a minimum rent of $50 set by the Housing Authority