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Frequently Asked Questions About Housing

Frequently Asked Questions About Housing

Q. What is public housing?

A. Public housing aims to provide safe and comfortable rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing includes apartments owned and managed by public housing authorities, such as the Springfield Housing Authority, and privately owned and managed apartments that are subsidized. Public housing ranges from scattered single family houses to high-rise apartments. There are currently about 1.2 million households living in public housing units in the United States, managed by about 3,300 local housing authorities. 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. In essence, public housing is low-rent housing for eligible families, the elderly, and people with disabilities who meet the income guidelines.

Q. What kinds of housing does the SHA have?

A. Springfield Housing Authority owns and operates 2,397 units of conventional public housing units in 27 developments throughout the city, ranging from high-rise apartments to single family homes. The Springfield Housing Authority also administers the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, which provides rent vouchers for 2,733 units of housing in the private market.

Q. How do I apply for public housing?

A. Applications for public housing can be made at the Application Office at 35 Saab Court. You may download the application from this webpage, but you must bring it physically to the office.

Q. What is Section 8 housing?

A. Section 8, or the Housing Choice Voucher Program, is a federal (HUD) housing program which provides housing assistance to low-income renters and homeowners. This assistance comes in the form of rental subsidies, limiting the monthly rent payment of the assistance recipient.

Q. How do I apply for Section 8 housing?

A. Applications for Section 8 housing can be made at the Rental Assistance Office at 67 Sanderson St., which is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You may download the application from this site (see ‘Admissions’ under ‘Departments’) but you must bring it to the office.

Q. What are your hours of operation?

A. Springfield Housing Authority offices are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Applications offices have different hours, which are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Q. How long are the waiting lists?

A. The wait time varies in years. On the public housing side, the wait for priority applicants can range from three to six months or longer. The waiting list for non-priority applicants can be several years. The Section 8 waiting list is a centralized list combined with 84 housing authorities in the state of Massachusetts. At present, that list includes 150,000 people, with a wait time of between 5 and 10 years.

Q. What are the priorities?

A. Priority status is only acknowledged in our state-funded developments. Priority status is only for an applicant who has been or is imminently faced with displacement from his/her primary residence as a result of circumstances thru no fault. Priority categories are: Homeless, displacement by natural forces; Homeless, displaced by pubic action; Homeless, displaced by domestic violence; Homeless, displaced by foreclosure (tenant only)

Q. How much rent does the SHA charge?

A. People who live in public housing pay 30% of their household income for rent. For Section 8 subsidies, rent payment is based on 30% of your income. The voucher will pay anything above 30% of your adjusted monthly income up to an established limit. For example, if you earn $2,000 per month and the home you want rents for $900 per month, you would pay $600 and the voucher would cover the difference of $300 as long as the Fair Market Rent for your area is equal to or greater than $900.

Q. What services are available for seniors, veterans, and residents who are disabled?

A. Services for seniors, veterans and people with disabilities vary from development to development, and come under the domain of property managers. There is some programming available and staff to work with these populations. At all developments, the Springfield Housing Authority provides referrals to community agencies for services that would help residents maintain comfortable living situations. The authority also brings in occasional speakers of interest to talk about pertinent issues such as health care, safety and more.

Q. What services are available for families?

A. The Springfield Housing Authority provides an array of services for families, with varied programs and services at developments across the city. They include English-as-a-Second-Language programs, which are open to the general public, computer classes, financial literacy classes, nutrition classes and career counseling and placement position. All the services are met to enhance the skills of our residents so that they can move forward in their pursuit of economic self-sufficiency. For children, there are also after-school homework and activity programs at six developments.

Q. How do I report fraud and/or abuse?

A. Report fraud and abuse by calling 413-785-4500 during office hours. Your identity will be kept strictly confidential.

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