Applicant FAQs

Who is eligible for public housing?

Public housing is available only to low-income families and individuals. RRHA determines your eligibility based on four factors:

  1. Annual gross income;
  2. Whether you qualify as an elderly, a person with a disability or as a family;
  3. U.S. citizenship/immigration status; and,
  4. Your references, verified to ensure you and your family will be good tenants.

The authority will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the public housing community’s environment.

Families and Individuals

  1. Public Housing Wait list
  2. Download RRHA’s Application for Public Housing


  1. View Senior Wait list
  2. Apply for Senior Housing

Will I need to produce any documentation?

An RRHA representative will request certain documents such as birth certificates or tax returns to verify information given on your application. RRHA will also rely on direct verification from your employer. You will be asked to sign a form to authorize release of pertinent information to the RRHA.

When will I be notified?

If we determine that you are eligible for public housing, your name will be put on a waiting list, unless we are able to assist you immediately. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, RRHA will contact you. If it is determined that you are ineligible, RRHA must say why and if you wish, you can request an informal hearing.

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 RRHA. You will also be required to provide a security deposit. You and your RRHA representative will review the lease to gain a better understanding of your responsibilities as a tenant and our responsibilities as a landlord.

Are there any selection preferences?

Giving preference to specific groups of families enables RRHA to direct limited housing resources to the families with the greatest housing need. RRHA has the discretion to establish preferences to reflect needs in its own community. These preferences are included in the Authority written policy manual and are stated on the pre-application.


How is rent determined?

Your rent, which is referred to as the Total Tenant Payment (TTP) in this program, is based on your family’s anticipated gross annual income less deductions, if any.

Federal regulations allow RRHA to exclude from annual income the following allowances: $480 for each dependent (such as a child); $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, an RRHA 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.

The formula used in determining the TTP is the highest of the following, rounded to the nearest dollar:

  • 30% of the monthly adjusted income (your annual income minus deductions allowed by the regulations)
  • 10% of monthly income
  • A $50 minimum rent or higher amount determined by RRHA

What is the role of RRHA?

RRHA is responsible for the management and operations of its local public housing program. We also operates other types of housing programs.

Our ongoing functions: (a) Assure compliance with leases. The lease must be signed by both parties; (b) Set other charges (e.g., security deposit, 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 because of a resident’s request to be transferred; (e) Terminate leases when necessary; and (f) maintain the development in a decent, safe and sanitary condition.

The Authority also provides other services such as: home ownership 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?

You can stay in public housing as long as you comply with the lease. If at re-examination, your family’s income is sufficient to obtain housing on the private market, RRHA determines 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.

How do I request maintenance?

All Public Housing residents can make a request for service and repairs for their unit by calling their site management office. CHA staff members are available to assist residents Monday – Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

When requesting a work order, CHA staff will ask for information such as address, a description of the work required, permission to enter, and phone number. CHA is responsible for any needed repairs caused by normal wear and tear, like a leaky faucet or broken screen. A maintenance fee may be charged when residents or their guests are responsible for damages to an apartment. Please do not ask maintenance workers to make repairs. They are not allowed to do any work that has not been assigned to them by the site manager.

After-Hours Maintenance And Emergencies

For after-hours maintenance emergencies, residents should call CHA’s main number 617.864.3020; these calls are taken by an answering service that will relay messages to CHA’s on-call maintenance staff who will respond and follow up on emergencies such as flood, no-heat calls, etc.

For life-threatening emergencies such as fire, floods, or criminal activity, please dial 9-1-1 immediately.