Public Housing FAQ

WHAT IS PUBLIC HOUSING?
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 high-rise apartments for elderly families. There are approximately 1.2 million households living in public housing units, managed by some 3,300 HAs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers Federal aid to local housing agencies (HAs) that manage the housing for low-income residents at rents they can afford. HUD furnishes technical and professional assistance in planning, developing and managing these developments.


WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
Public housing is limited to low-income families and individuals. An HA determines your eligibility based on: 1) 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 HA will check your references to make sure you and your family will be good tenants. HAs will 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.

HAs use income limits developed by HUD. Income limits vary from area to area so you may be eligible at one HA but not at another. KHRA can provide you with the income levels for the Kingsport area and your family size, or you can also find the income limits here on the internet.


HOW DO I APPLY?
If you are interested in applying for public housing in the Kingsport Area, contact us at:

Kingsport Housing & Redevelopment Authority
906 E. Sevier Avenue, Kingsport, TN 37660
(or P.O. Box 44, Kingsport, TN 37662 if by mail)

Telephone (423) 245-0135 :: Fax (423) 392-2530

TTY/TDD (423) 246-2273 (Contact Concern)


HOW DOES THE KHRA APPLICATION PROCESS WORK?
Upon submission, your pre-application will be processed in the order received. All Public Housing pre-applications are subject to selection criteria including but not limited to: criminal history checks, rental history review, and credit checks obtained through the Experian Credit Reporting Agency:

Experian
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
1 888 397 3742

Adverse actions may be influenced in whole or in part by information obtained in such reports. Experian does not make the decision and cannot provide the reason for the decision. You may obtain a free copy of your credit report within 60 days from the date an adverse action is made. You also have the right to dispute directly with Experian the accuracy or completeness of any information provided.

You will receive written notification that the initial pre-screening process is complete prompting the formal application process. Unless you have received a formal application notice or an update letter, you may call (423) 392-2560 to check your application status. Your formal application will consist of a meeting with KHRA staff in person or via phone to determine and verify all information about your family, family income, and any preference(s).


WILL I NEED TO PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION?
Yes. At the time you place your pre-application, we ask for a Driver’s license or picture ID for adult household members, and social security cards for all household members.

Upon formal application, all applicants should provide the following documents if they apply to the family:

For each household member:

  • Driver’s license or picture ID for all adult household members
  • Social Security cards
  • Birth Certificates

Additional documents:

  • Marriage certificate if currently married
  • Divorce papers (if within 10 years or pertains to custody issues)
  • Custody order or divorce papers with custodial designation
  • Adoption papers
  • Verification of disability from doctor (for verifying preference or specific needs – e.g. ground level unit)

Income verifications:

  • Job Employment (must be verified directly from your employer)
  • Self-Employment
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • Social Security or SSI benefits
  • Pension
  • Child Support (provide case ID number if applicable)
  • TANF / Families First / Food Stamps
  • Alimony
  • Regular support from family/friends
  • Educational Grants/Scholarships

Assets:

  • All bank accounts (included checking, savings, Christmas Club, IRA and Keogh Accounts)
  • Verification of Value of any property owned (homes, land etc.)
  • Value of stocks, bonds, trusts or other investments
  • Value of property sold or money given away in the past two years

Expenses:

  • Childcare expenses
  • Care expenses for disabled family member (when head/spouse is away)
  • Regular medical expenses, including prescriptions, which are not covered by insurance (Elderly/Disabled families only)
  • Medical insurance premiums
  • Medicare payments

Preference Verification:

  • Violence – police report, restraining order etc.
  • Displaced – verification from fire department or government agency
  • Natural Disaster – verification from Red Cross or FEMA
  • Substandard Housing / Homelessness – verification from housing authority, police/fire dept, homeless shelter
  • Elderly – verification of age/em>
  • Disabled – verification of disability status from physician or Social Security Administration
  • Veteran – verification of current military status or honorable discharge

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY APPLICATION HAS BEEN PROCESSED?
If you have provided all necessary documentation and have been approved you will be offered an appropriate unit according to the date/time of the completion of your application or according to any preferences for which you qualify. If you do not provide all documentation/information needed your application will be closed and you must resubmit a new pre-application. If it is determined that you are ineligible, KHRA will provide written notice of why and, if you wish, you can request an informal hearing.

When an appropriate unit becomes available, those applicants who have been approved will be contacted by date/time/preference order and offered the next available unit. You may refuse offers up to three times, but upon refusal of the third offer your application will become inactive and you must submit another pre-application.

If you accept an offered unit you will be notified when the unit is ready for occupancy, when you may sign your lease and when your move-in inspection is scheduled. It is at this time that your security deposit ( $75) and initial rent are collected. KHRA will pro-rate the initial month’s rent so that you only pay for the portion of the month that is left.


ARE THERE ANY SELECTION PREFERENCES?
Yes! Giving preference to specific groups of families enables an HA to direct their 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 HAs, long waiting periods are common. In fact, an HA may close its waiting list when there are more families on the list than can be assisted in the near future.

Applicants will be placed and selected from the waiting list by date and time of receipt of a completed application. KHRA will select qualified families from the waiting list based on the cumulative total weight from the weighted preference criteria listed below.

  1. Preference for involuntarily displaced families (ref. 4-III.G): Families who have been involuntarily displaced because of an act(s) of God/natural disaster, i.e. fire, flood, tornado etc., which occurred no more than six (6) months from the date of certification and have not secured permanent replacement housing. (20 points)
  2. Preference for victims of domestic violence: The KHRA will offer a local preference to families that have been subjected to or victimized by an affiliated individual within 90 days of application and/or preference request. Applicants requesting protections of VAWA will be required to provide appropriate documentation. (20 points)
  3. Preference for Elderly/Disabled/Veterans: (5 points)
    a. 62 years old or older; or
    b. Meeting the HUD definition of disabled as defined in Section 223 of the Social Security Act; or
    c. Veterans of any branch of the United States military or merchant marine currently serving or separated with DD214 release from activity duty under honorable conditions.
  4. Preference for Substandard Housing/Homelessness: Currently residing in sub-standard housing such as housing that lacks functioning plumbing, heating or electrical systems, and/or which is structurally unsound to the extent that the housing envelope does not adequately prevent incursion by precipitation, or is in imminent danger of collapse. (5 points)
  5. Preference for Homeownership (Housing Choice Vouchers Only): Current families in another KHRA housing program that completes the Affordable Housing Homeownership program and is in need of voucher assistance to complete the home purchase. (Closing on the home needs to occur within 180 days of voucher approval. This may only be extended with approval of the Executive Director.) (5 points)

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 HAs 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, the HA 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. Residents also have the option to pay a flat rent, which remains the same amount, despite income changes. (Income changes still must be reported within 10 days of their occurrence.)

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) a $25 minimum rent.


WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE HA?
An HA is responsible for the management and operation of its local public housing program. They may also operate other types of housing programs.

(1) On-going functions: (a) Assure compliance with leases. The lease must be signed by both parties; (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, in order to correct over/under crowding, repair or renovate a dwelling, or other request according to policy; (e) Terminate leases when necessary; and (f) maintain the development in a decent, safe, and sanitary condition.

(2) KHRA provides other services, such as: homeownership opportunities for qualified families; employment training opportunities, and other special training and employment programs for residents; and support programs for the elderly.


HOW LONG CAN I STAY IN PUBLIC HOUSING?
In general, you may stay in public housing as long as you comply with the lease.

If, at reexamination your family’s income is sufficient to obtain housing on the private market, the HA may determine whether your family should stay in public housing. You will not be required to move unless there is affordable housing available for you on the private market.