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Admission and Occupancy FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are questions and answers on the final rule "Changes to the Admission and Occupancy Requirements in the Public Housing and Section 8 Housing Assistance Programs," published on March 29, 2000.


I. Targeting for Admission (CFR 960.202)

A. Income Limits
B. Targeting
C. Preferences
D. Site-Based Waiting Lists

II. Treatment of Income

A. Annual Income
B. Adjusted Income
C. Mandatory Earned Income Disregard from Annual Income
D. Definition of Disabled
E. Welfare Sanctions
F. Training Income

III. Rent

A. Choice of Rent
B. Flat Rent
C. Ceiling Rent

IV. Community Service and Self-sufficieny Requirement

A. Implementation
B. PHA Plan
C. General Questions

V. Pets in General Occupancy Developments


I. Targeting for Admission (CFR 960.202)

A. Income Limits (CFR 960.202)

Q1: The regulation states that no family other than a low-income family shall be eligible for admission to public housing. Does this mean that PHAs must adopt the income limit at 80 percent of area median income? What if a PHA wants to limit admission to those who are at or below 60% of area median income?

A1: Under public housing, the income limit cannot exceed 80 percent of area median income and a PHA cannot deny admission to families who are below 80% and otherwise eligible. However, a PHA may establish a system of preferences that first serves those with relatively lower incomes before those with relatively higher incomes (e.g. above 60% of area median income).

B. Targeting (24 CFR 960.202)

Q1: The Public Housing Reform Act states that 40 percent of new admissions in pubic housing must be extremely low-income (at or below 30 percent of the area median income). Does this mean that the old provision at 24 CFR 5.607 which determined admission to public housing units based on the date they were made available (before or after 10/1/81) are no longer in effect?

A1: The new income targeting requirements for public housing supersede the old 24 CFR 5.607 requirements concerning admission.

Q2: Are there any exceptions to the 40 percent targeting requirement for admission of extremely low income families into public housing?

A2: Yes, during the PHA fiscal year, a PHA may reduce the 40 percent target for public housing by exceeding the 75 percent minimum targeting requirement for admission of extremely low-income families in the PHA’s Section 8 voucher program, not to exceed the lowest of the following: ten percent of the public housing waiting list admissions; ten percent of the Section 8 waiting list admissions; the number of low-income families (other than extremely low-income families) that lease public housing units in high-poverty census tracts, defined as those with a poverty rate greater than 30 percent.

Q3: Are there exceptions to the 75 percent targeting requirement for admission of extremely low-income families in the PHA’s Section 8 voucher program?

A3: Yes, subject to HUD approval, a PHA may admit a lower percentage of extremely low-income families during a PHA fiscal year provided (1) the PHA has opened its waiting list for a reasonable time for admission of extremely low-income families; (2) the PHA has provided full public notice of such opening to such families and has conducted outreach and marketing to such families, including outreach and marketing to extremely low-income families on the Section 8 and public housing waiting lists of other PHAs with jurisdiction in the same metropolitan statistical area or non-metropolitan county; (3) notwithstanding (1) and (2) above, there are not enough extremely low-income families on the PHA’s waiting list to fill available slots in the program during any fiscal year for which a lower percentage is approved by HUD; and (4) admission of the additional very low-income families other than extremely low-income families to the PHA’s tenant-based voucher program will substantially address worst case housing needs as determined by HUD. (See 24 CFR 960.202 and 982.201(b)(2)(ii) for details.)

Q4: Is there an exception to the 75 percent extremely low-income targeting requirement to allow for the admission of very low-income welfare-to-work (WTW families)?

A4: Yes, but this is subject to HUD approval. If HUD grants such approval, admission of that portion of WTW families is not counted in the base number of families admitted to a PHA’s tenant-based voucher program during the fiscal year for purposes of income targeting. (See 24 CFR 982.201(b)(2)(iii) for details.)

C. Preferences (24 CFR 960.206, 903.7(c))

Q1: QHWRA eliminated the statutory preference for elderly, disabled, and displaced singles over other singles. Can a PHA still keep these preferences?

A1: A PHA may keep any of these preferences, but would need to adopt them as local preferences. If a PHA does not want to keep the old federal preferences as local preferences, it will need to change its policies accordingly, provide applicants with appropriate notification and amend its PHA annual plan.

Q2: Can a PHA establish a higher preference for people working full-time and a lower preference for people working part-time?

A2: Yes, a PHA can establish a higher priority for people working full-time over people working part-time. One way this can be accomplished is as follows:

First, a PHA must define work and establish a working preference. Then, the PHA could rank all families eligible for the working preference based on whether they work full-time or part-time.

D. Site Based Waiting List

Q1. Is HUD approval required for the establishment of site-based waiting list?

A1: Yes. Site-based waiting lists are reviewed and approved by HUD as part of PHA Plan approval process. To establish a site-based waiting list, a PHA must (1) submit 50058s to HUD in an accurate, complete and timely manner (85% rate); (2) give every applicant information on all sites, including location, occupancy type, number of units, size of units, amenities, and average waiting time or each unit size; (3) ensure that adoption of site-based waiting list would not violate any court orders, settlement agreements or be inconsistent with any pending civil rights complaints; and (4) ensure that the site-based waiting list is consistent with affirmative marketing requirements, e.g., marketing to attract applicants regardless of race, ethnicity or disability; and (5) provide for review of its site-based waiting list policy annually for consistency with civil rights laws and certifications. A PHA also must perform random testing of the implementation of a site-based waiting list policy every three years. (See 903.7(c) for details.)

Q2: What if a PHA wanted to establish a site-based waiting list subsequent to submission of its PHA Plan?

A2: If a PHA wanted to establish a site-based waiting list subsequent to submission of its PHA Plan, this would be considered a significant amendment to the Plan, and the PHA would have to follow the procedures for amending or modifying a plan found in the PHA Plan regulations at 24 CFR 903.21. The PHA may not adopt the amendment or modification until (1) the PHA has duly called a meeting of its Board of Directors (or similar governing body) and the meeting at which the amendment or modification is adopted is open to the public; and (2) HUD has approved the amendment or modification. A significant amendment or modification is also subject to PHA Plan requirements related to Resident Advisory Boards, the Consolidated Plan and public comments. (See 24 CFR 903.21 for details.)

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