Housing Authority of Lancaster
Public Housing Program
The Housing Authority of Lancaster (HAL) established the Public Housing Program to provide decent, sanitary and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. We promote personal, economic and social movement to provide families the opportunity to make the transfer from subsidized housing.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers operating subsidy to local housing agencies/authorities (HAs) that manage the housing for low income families at affordable rents. HUD furnishes technical and professional assistance in planning, developing and managing these developments. The HA must create written policies that are consistent with HUD regulations. Among these policies is the HA Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP). The ACOP must be approved by the board of commissioner of the HA.
The Housing Authority of Lancaster (HAL) screens applicants for public housing and, if they are found eligible and accepted, HAL offers the applicant a unit. If the applicant accepts the offer, HAL will enter into a contract with the applicant known as the lease. At this point, the applicant becomes a tenant of the public housing program.
Since HAL owns the public housing development, HAL is the landlord. HAL must comply with all of the legal and management responsibilities of a landlord in addition to administering the program in accordance with HUD regulations and HAL policy.
HAL manages and maintains 140 Public Housing units in the city of Lancaster on two (2) sites, Caroline Courts with 100 units built in 1974 and Frank L. Roddey Homes with 40 units built in 1982. Accordingly, there are 34 one-bedroom units; 44 two-bedroom units; 46 three-bedroom units and 16 four-bedroom units. Both sites are close to downtown and close proximity of grocery stores and other retail outlets.
The HAL staff is easily accessible to the residents and is responsible for:
- Keeping units occupied,
- Collecting rents,
- Performing annual calculations of each resident’s rent,
- Lease enforcement,
- Providing routine and preventive maintenance and
- Pest extermination.
HOW TO APPLY
Applications for public housing are available only during the periods of open registration. We may close the application process from time to time due to an excessive number of applications on file.
Families or individuals wishing to apply for the Public Housing Program must be 18 years of age. Before you begin the Preliminary Application, you must have the name, date of birth and Social Security Numbers available for all household members. You must use the correct legal name for each member of your household. You should also know the amount of income, assets and expenses for each household member. You will also need to know your total gross monthly household income. Total income means all the money you and all members of your household receive each month from all sources. This includes income from a job, welfare, Social Security, SSI, pensions, support (voluntary or court ordered), interest income, etc. Gross income means the amount received before any deductions, such as taxes, etc If you do not have all the information required, your application cannot be processed.
Your preliminary application will be reviewed for the below eligibility requirements.
You may apply at the Main Office on Tuesdays and Thursdays only between 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. or you may complete the Preliminary application for admission and the Authorization for Release of Information, save it and print to return both documents to the office in person, email to Halinfo@lancasterha.org or mail your application. DO NOT SEND ANY OTHER DOCUMENTS AT THIS TIME. This will only place you on the waiting list. We require that you keep your pre-application up-to-date. If you cannot be reached at the address listed on your pre-application, it will be dropped and you will have to reapply.
When your preliminary application reaches the top of the waiting list we will contact you by US Mail to complete the screening process which consist of the following:
- Completing application
- Signing all required consent documents, required for each family member who is at least 18 years of age
- Provide valid picture ID’s for all household members 18 years of age and older
- Provide social security cards for all household members (copies are not acceptable)
- Birth certificates or custodial and/or guardianship papers
- Proof of all income, including letter from Social Security, Veteran’s Administration, pensions, employment, self-employment, unemployment benefits and child support payments.
- Proof of assets such as bank accounts, life insurance policies, etc.
- Verification of child care expenses
- Verification of full-time student status for dependents over 17 years of age
- If the head of household or spouse is over 62 years old or over, or a person with disabilities, you may bring verification of medical expenses or anticipated expenses such as, health insurance payments, on-going prescriptions, doctor’s visits, payback agreement on hospital bills, etc.
The preliminary application for admission is dated and time stamped and processed for the below eligibility requirements and placement on the waiting list.
To meet eligibility requirements for the Public Housing Program, a family or individual must meet PHA’s qualifications for admissions criteria in accordance with the Admissions and Continued Occupancy Plan (ACOP).
- Completed application with supporting documentation (as listed above)
- Must not exceed income limits as defined by HUD
- Meet Citizenship/Eligible immigration status
Additionally, the PHA will examine relevant information pertaining to past and current habits or practices to include but not limited to:
- Credit History: Past performance in meeting financial obligations especially rent and utilities. A consumer credit check is run on every applicant prior to approval. If you still owe money to a previous landlord, you might not be approved for residency.
- Landlord References: Reference from the places you have lived for the past three years must be provided.
- Criminal History: History of criminal activity on the part of any applicant or family member, especially drug-related activity or violence. A criminal check is run on every applicant 18 and older prior to approval.
- Debts owed to any Public Housing Agency and Landlords.
The HAL has to provide written notification of your application status. Your name will be placed on a waiting list according to date and time of application received by the Housing Authority and by bedroom size. Bedroom sizes and application dates and time are used to determine movement to the top of the list. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, the HAL will contact you. An application may remain on the waiting list for a period of time depending on availability of units.
Applicants who are determined ineligible for admission are notified in writing stating the reason for denial. The applicant will be provided an opportunity for an informal hearing.
When a unit of appropriate size is available, an offer will be made by the HAL. If you are offered an apartment and accept it, you will have to pay the HAL a security deposit. Then you will have to sign a formal lease agreement – covering the term, rental payments, security deposit, occupancy and maintenance requirements, and other pertinent rules and regulations – prior to being admitted into a Public Housing unit. You and the HAL representative should go over the lease together. This will give you a better understanding of your responsibilities as a tenant and the HAL’s responsibilities as a landlord.
How is rent determined?
Your rent, which is referred to as the Total Tenant Payment (TTP) in this program, would be based on your families’ anticipated gross annual income less deductions, if any. HUD regulations allow the HAL 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 HAL 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 percent of the monthly adjusted income. (Monthly Adjusted Income is annual income less deductions allowed by the regulations)
- 10 percent of monthly income
- Flat rate rent, if applicable
- $50.00 minimum rent set by the HAL
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 and you wish to do so. The HAL uses flat rate rents based on the comparable units for our area. Should your income increase to where your family rent contribution is equal or greater than the flat rate rent for your unit, you would be responsible for the entire rent on the unit until your annual reexamination to select flat rate rent or you give the HAL proper notice and vacated the unit.
UPDATING YOUR INFORMATION
Applications for admission should be updated whenever changes to address, family composition or employment occur for any person listed on application for admission. It is your responsibility to report to us in writing any changes in your contact information. The application update form along with any supporting documentation can be hand-delivered or mailed to:
Housing Authority of Lancaster
3502 Caroline Courts
P.O. Box 1235
Lancaster, SC 29721
Attn: Admission & Occupancy Specialist
In accordance with your lease, changes to family composition and income must be reported within (10) ten days from the occurrence using the Interim Change Form. This form along with supporting documentation can be hand-delivered or mailed to:
Housing Authority of Lancaster
Attn: Public Housing Coordinator
P.O. Box 1235
Lancaster, SC 29721
It is the policy of the Housing Authority of Lancaster to fully comply with all Federal/State/local nondiscrimination laws; the Americans with Disabilities Act; and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations governing Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
No person shall, on the grounds of race, color, sex, religion, national or ethnic origin, familial status, or disability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under the HAL’s programs.
To further its commitment to full compliance with applicable Civil Rights laws, the Housing Authority of Lancaster will provide Federal/State/local information to applicants/tenants of the Public Housing or Housing Choice Voucher Program regarding discrimination and any recourse available to them if they believe they may be victims of discrimination. The HAL will provide them with the address of the nearest HUD office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.