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BHHC Admin -Chapter 3

Chapter 3

ELIGIBILITY

INTRODUCTION

The PHA is responsible for ensuring that every individual and family admitted to the HCV program meets all program eligibility requirements. This includes any individual approved to join the family after the family has been admitted to the program. The family must provide any information needed by the PHA to confirm eligibility and determine the level of the family’s assistance.

To be eligible for the HCV program:

·         The applicant family must:

-       Qualify as a family as defined by HUD and the PHA.

-       Have income at or below HUD-specified income limits.

-       Qualify on the basis of citizenship or the eligible immigrant status of family members.

-       Provide social security number information for household members as required.

-       Consent to the PHA’s collection and use of family information as provided for in PHA-provided consent forms.

·         The PHA must determine that the current or past behavior of household members does not include activities that are prohibited by HUD or the PHA.

This chapter contains three parts:

Part I: Definitions of Family and Household Members. This part contains HUD and PHA definitions of family and household members and explains initial and ongoing eligibility issues related to these members.

Part II: Basic Eligibility Criteria. This part discusses income eligibility, and rules regarding citizenship, social security numbers, and family consent.

Part III: Denial of Assistance. This part covers factors related to an applicant’s past or current conduct (e.g. criminal activity) that can cause the PHA to deny assistance.


PART I: DEFINITIONS OF FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS

3-I.A. OVERVIEW

Some eligibility criteria and program rules vary depending upon the composition of the family requesting assistance. In addition, some requirements apply to the family as a whole and others apply to individual persons who will live in the assisted unit. This part provides information that is needed to correctly identify family and household members, and to apply HUD's eligibility rules.

3-I.B. FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD [24 CFR 982.201(c),; HUD-50058 IB, p. 13; FR Notice 02/03/12]

The terms family and household have different meanings in the HCV program.

Family

To be eligible for assistance, an applicant must qualify as a family.  Family as defined by HUD includes, but not limited to the following, regardless actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, a single person who may be an elderly person, disabled person, near-elderly person or any other single person; or a group of persons residing together.  Such group includes but not limited to a family with or without children (a child who is temporarily away from the home because of placement in foster care is considered a member of the family), an elderly family, a near-elderly family, a displaced family, or the remaining member of a tenant family.

 The PHA has the discretion to determine if any other group of persons qualifies as a family.

 

Gender Identity means actual or perceived gender characteristics

Sexual orientation means homosexuality, heterosexuality or bisexuality

 

BHHC Policy

A family also includes two or more individuals who are not related by blood, marriage, adoption, or other operation of law but who either can demonstrate that they have lived together previously or certify that each individual’s income and other resources will be available to meet the needs of the family.

Each family must identify the individuals to be included in the family at the time of application, and must notify BHHC if the family’s composition changes.

Household

Household is a broader term that includes additional people who, with the PHA’s permission, live in an assisted unit, such as live-in aides, foster children, and foster adults.


3-I.C. FAMILY BREAK-UP AND REMAINING MEMBER OF TENANT FAMILY

Family Break-up [24 CFR 982.315]

The PHA has discretion to determine which members of an assisted family continue to receive assistance if the family breaks up. However, if a court determines the disposition of property between members of the assisted family in a divorce or separation decree, the PHA is bound by the court's determination of which family members continue to receive assistance.

BHHC Policy

When a family on the waiting list breaks up into two otherwise eligible families, only one of the new families may retain the original application date. Other former family members may make a new application with a new application date if the waiting list is open.

If a family breaks up into two otherwise eligible families while receiving assistance, only one of the new families will continue to be assisted.

If a court determines the disposition of property between members of the applicant or resident family in a divorce or separation decree, BHHC will abide by the court’s determination.

In the absence of a judicial decision, or an agreement among the original family members,

BHHC will determine which family retains their placement on the waiting list, or will continue to receive assistance taking into consideration the following factors: (1) the interest of any minor children, including custody arrangements, (2) the interest of any ill, elderly, or disabled family members, (3) any possible risks to family members as a result of domestic violence or criminal activity, and (4) the recommendations of social service professionals.

Remaining Member of a Tenant Family [24 CFR 5.403]

The HUD definition of family includes the remaining member of a tenant family, which is a member of an assisted family who remains in the unit when other members of the family have left the unit. Household members such as live-in aides, foster children, and foster adults do not qualify as remaining members of a family.

If dependents are the only “remaining members of a tenant family” and there is no family member able to assume the responsibilities of the head of household, see Chapter 6, Section 6-I.B, for the policy on “Caretakers for a Child.”


3-I.D. HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD [24 CFR 5.504(b)]

Head of household means the adult member of the family who is considered the head for purposes of determining income eligibility and rent. The head of household is responsible for ensuring that the family fulfills all of its responsibilities under the program, alone or in conjunction with a cohead or spouse.

BHHC Policy

The family may designate any qualified family member as the head of household.

The head of household must have the legal capacity to enter into a lease under state and local law. A minor who is emancipated under state law may be designated as head of household.

3-I.E. SPOUSE, COHEAD, AND OTHER ADULT

A family may have a spouse or cohead, but not both [HUD-50058 IB, p. 13].

Spouse means the marriage partner of the head of household.

BHHC Policy

A marriage partner includes the partner in a "common law" marriage as defined in state law. The term “spouse” does not apply to friends, roommates, or significant others who are not marriage partners. A minor who is emancipated under state law may be designated as a spouse.

A cohead is an individual in the household who is equally responsible with the head of household for ensuring that the family fulfills all of its responsibilities under the program, but who is not a spouse. A family can have only one cohead.

BHHC Policy

Minors who are emancipated under state law may be designated as a cohead.

Other adult means a family member, other than the head, spouse, or cohead, who is 18 years of age or older. Foster adults and live-in aides are not considered other adults.


3-I.F. DEPENDENT [24 CFR 5.603]

A dependent is a family member who is under 18 years of age or a person of any age who is a person with a disability or a full-time student, except that the following persons can never be dependents: the head of household, spouse, cohead, foster children/adults and live-in aides. Identifying each dependent in the family is important because each dependent qualifies the family for a dependant allowance as described in Chapter 6.

Joint Custody of Dependents

BHHC Policy

Dependents that are subject to a joint custody arrangement will be considered a member of the family, if they live with the applicant or participant family 50 percent or more of the time.

When more than one applicant or participant family is claiming the same dependents as family members, the family with primary custody at the time of the initial examination or reexamination will be able to claim the dependents. If there is a dispute about which family should claim them, BHHC will make the determination based on available documents such as court orders, or an IRS return showing which family has claimed the child for income tax purposes.

3-I.G. FULL-TIME STUDENT [24 CFR 5.603; HCV GB, p. 5-29]

A full-time student (FTS) is a person who is attending school or vocational training on a full-time basis. The time commitment or subject load that is needed to be full-time is defined by the educational institution.

Identifying each FTS is important because: (1) each family member that is an FTS, other than the head, spouse, or cohead, qualifies the family for a dependent allowance, and (2) the earned income of such an FTS is treated differently from the income of other family members.

PIN Notice 2005-16

In order to be eligible for program assistance, an applicant must meet income eligibility requirements, as established by Section 3(a)(1) and 8(o)(4) of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 and implementing regulations at 24CFR 960.201 and 982.201.

3-I.H. ELDERLY AND NEAR-ELDERLY PERSONS, AND ELDERLY FAMILY [24 CFR 5.100 and 5.403, FR Notice 02/03/12]

 

Elderly Persons

An elderly person is a person who is at least 62 years of age.

Near-Elderly Persons

A near-elderly person is a person who is 50-60 years of age.

Elderly Family

An elderly family is one in which the head, spouse, cohead, or sole member is an elderly person. Identifying elderly families is important because elderly families qualify for the elderly family allowance as described in Chapter 6.


3-I.I. PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND DISABLED FAMILY

          [24 CFR 5.403, [FR Notice 02/03/12]]

Persons with Disabilities

 

Under the HCV program, special rules apply to persons with disabilities and to any family whose head, spouse, or cohead is a person with disabilities. The technical definitions of individual with handicaps and persons with disabilities are provided in Exhibit 3-1 at the end of this chapter. These definitions are used for a number of purposes including ensuring that persons with disabilities are not discriminated against based upon disability.

As discussed in Chapter 2, the PHA must make all aspects of the HCV program accessible to persons with disabilities and consider reasonable accommodations requested based upon a person’s disability.

 

Disabled Family

 

In accordance with 24 CFR Part 5.403:

A disabled family is a family is one in which the head, spouse or sole member is a person with disabilities   It may include two or more persons who are persons with disabilities living together or one or more persons with disabilities living with one or more live-in aides. 

 

Identifying disabled families is important because these families qualify for the disabled family allowance  from income as described in Chapter 6.

Even though persons with drug or alcohol dependencies are considered persons with disabilities this does not prevent the PHA from denying assistance for reasons related to alcohol and drug abuse in accordance with the policies found in Part III of this chapter, or from terminating assistance in accordance with the policies in Chapter 12.

3-I.J. GUESTS [24 CFR 5.100]

A guest is a person temporarily staying in the unit with the consent of a member of the household who has express or implied authority to so consent.

 

BHHC Policy

A guest can remain in the assisted unit no longer than 14 consecutive days or a total of  30 cumulative calendar days during any 12-month period.

Children who are subject to a joint custody arrangement or for whom a family has visitation privileges, that are not included as a family member because they live outside of the assisted household more than 50 percent of the time, are not subject to the time limitations of guests as described above.

A family may request an exception to this policy for valid reasons (e.g., care of a relative recovering from a medical procedure is expected to last 40 consecutive days). An exception will not be made unless the family can identify and provide documentation of the residence to which the guest will return.


3.I.K. FOSTER CHILDREN AND FOSTER ADULTS

Foster adults are usually persons with disabilities, unrelated to the tenant family, who are unable to live alone [24 CFR 5.609].

The term foster child is not specifically defined by the regulations.

Foster children and foster adults who are living with an applicant or who have been approved by the PHA to live with a participant family are considered household members but not family members. The income of foster children/adults is not counted in family annual income, and foster children/adults do not qualify for a dependent deduction [24 CFR 5.603 and HUD-50058 IB, p. 13].

 

BHHC Policy

A foster child is a child that is in the legal guardianship or custody of a state, county, or private adoption or foster care agency, yet is cared for by foster parents in their own homes, under some kind of short-term or long-term foster care arrangement with the custodial agency.

A foster child or foster adult may be allowed to reside in the unit if their presence would not result in a violation of HQS space standards according to 24 CFR 982.401.

Children that are temporarily absent from the home as a result of placement in foster care are discussed in Section 3-I.L.

3-I.L. ABSENT FAMILY MEMBERS

Individuals may be absent from the family, either temporarily or permanently, for a variety of reasons including educational activities, placement in foster care, employment, illness, incarceration, and court order.

 

Definitions of Temporarily and Permanently Absent

 

BHHC Policy

Generally an individual who is or is expected to be absent from the assisted unit for 180 consecutive days or less is considered temporarily absent and continues to be considered a family member. Generally an individual who is or is expected to be absent from the assisted unit for more than 180 consecutive days is considered permanently absent and no longer a family member. Exceptions to this general policy are discussed below.

 

Absent Students

 

BHHC Policy

When someone who has been considered a family member attends school away from home, the person will continue to be considered a family member unless information becomes available to BHHC indicating that the student has established a separate household or the family declares that the student has established a separate household.


Absences Due to Placement in Foster Care [24 CFR 5.403]

Children temporarily absent from the home as a result of placement in foster care are considered members of the family.

 

BHHC Policy

If a child has been placed in foster care, BHHC will verify with the appropriate agency whether and when the child is expected to be returned to the home. Unless the agency confirms that the child has been permanently removed from the home, the child will be counted as a family member.

 

Absent Head, Spouse, or Cohead

BHHC Policy

An employed head, spouse, or cohead absent from the unit more than 180 consecutive days due to employment will continue to be considered a family member.

 

Family Members Permanently Confined for Medical Reasons [HCV GB, p. 5-22]

If a family member is confined to a nursing home or hospital on a permanent basis, that person is no longer considered a family member and the income of that person is not counted [HCV GB, p. 5-22].

 

BHHC Policy

BHHC will request verification of the family member’s permanent absence from a responsible medical professional. If the responsible medical professional cannot provide a determination, the person will be considered temporarily absent. If the family certifies that the family member is confined on a permanent basis, they may present, and BHHC will consider, any additional documentation or evidence.

 

Return of Permanently Absent Family Members

 

BHHC Policy

The family must request BHHC’s approval for the return of any adult family members that BHHC previously determined to be permanently absent. The individual is subject to the eligibility and screening requirements discussed elsewhere in this chapter.


3-I.M. LIVE-IN AIDE

A Live-in aide is a person who resides with one or more elderly persons, or near-elderly persons, or persons with disabilities, and who: (1) is determined to be essential to the care and well-being of the persons, (2) is not obligated for the support of the persons, and (3) would not be living in the unit except to provide the necessary supportive services [24 CFR 5.403].

The PHA must approve a live-in aide if needed as a reasonable accommodation in accordance with 24 CFR 8, to make the program accessible to and usable by the family member with disabilities.

The income of a live-in-aide is not counted in the calculation of annual income for the family   [24 CFR 5.609(b)]. Relatives may be approved as live-in aides if they meet all of the criteria defining a live-in aide. Because live-in-aids are not family members, a relative who serves as a live-in-aide would not be considered a remaining member of a tenant family.

 

BHHC Policy

 

A family’s request for a live-in aide must be made in writing. Written verification will be required from a reliable, knowledgeable professional, such as a doctor, social worker, or case worker, that the live-in aide is essential for the care and well-being of the elderly, near-elderly, or disabled family member.

In addition, the family and live-in aide will be required to submit a certification stating that the live-in aide is (1) not obligated for the support of the person(s) needing the care, and (2) would not be living in the unit except to provide the necessary supportive services. 

BHHC may require additional documentation, in addition BHHC will investigate all request for a live-in-aide to prevent program abuse and fraud.

BHHC will not approve a particular person as a live-in aide, and may withdraw such approval if [24 CFR 982.316(b)]:

The person commits fraud, bribery or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with any federal housing program;

The person commits drug-related criminal activity or violent criminal activity; or

The person currently owes rent or other amounts to the PHA or to another PHA in connection with Section 8 or public housing assistance under the 1937 Act.

BHHC will notify the family of the decision in writing within 10 business days of receiving a request for a live-in aide, including all required documentation related to the request; BHHC will notify the family of its decision in writing.


PART II: BASIC ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

3-II.A. INCOME ELIGIBILITY AND TARGETING

Income Limits

HUD establishes income limits for all areas of the country and publishes them annually in the Federal Register.  They are based upon estimates of median family income with adjustments for family size.  The income limits are used to determine eligibility for the program and for income targeting purposes as discussed in this section.

Definitions of the Income Limits [24 CFR 5.603(b)]

Low-income family. A family whose annual income does not exceed 80 percent of the median income for the area, adjusted for family size.

Very low-income family. A family whose annual income does not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the area, adjusted for family size.

Extremely low-income family. A family whose annual income does not exceed 30 percent of the median income for the area, adjusted for family size.

HUD may establish income ceilings higher or lower than 30, 50, or 80 percent of the median income for an area if HUD finds that such variations are necessary because of unusually high or low family incomes.

Using Income Limits for Eligibility [24 CFR 982.201]

Income eligibility is determined by comparing the annual income of an applicant to the applicable income limit for their family size.  In order to be income eligible, an applicant family must be one of the following:

·         A very low-income family

·         A low-income family that has been "continuously assisted" under the 1937 Housing Act. A family is considered to be continuously assisted if the family is already receiving assistance under any 1937 Housing Act program at the time the family is admitted to the HCV program [24 CFR 982.4]

 

BHHC Policy

BHHC will consider a family to be continuously assisted if the family was leasing a unit under any 1937 Housing Act program at the time they were issued a voucher by BHHC.

·         A low-income family that qualifies for voucher assistance as a non-purchasing household living in HOPE 1 (public housing homeownership), HOPE 2 (multifamily housing homeownership) developments, or other HUD-assisted multifamily homeownership programs covered by 24 CFR 248.173

·         A low-income or moderate-income family that is displaced as a result of the prepayment of a mortgage or voluntary termination of a mortgage insurance contract on eligible low-income housing as defined in 24 CFR 248.101


HUD permits the PHA to establish additional categories of low-income families that may be determined eligible. The additional categories must be consistent with the PHA plan and the consolidated plans for local governments within the PHA’s jurisdiction.

 

BHHC Policy

BHHC has not established any additional categories of eligible low-income families.

Using Income Limits for Targeting [24 CFR 982.201]

At least 75 percent of the families admitted to the PHA's program during a PHA fiscal year must be extremely low-income families. HUD may approve exceptions to this requirement if the PHA demonstrates that it has made all required efforts, but has been unable to attract an adequate number of qualified extremely low-income families.

Families continuously assisted under the 1937 Housing Act and families living in eligible low-income housing that are displaced as a result of prepayment of a mortgage or voluntary termination of a mortgage insurance contract are not counted for income targeting purposes.


3-II.B. CITIZENSHIP OR ELIGIBLE IMMIGRATION STATUS [24 CFR 5, Subpart E]

Housing assistance is available only to individuals who are U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals (herein referred to as citizens and nationals), or noncitizens that have eligible immigration status. At least one family member must be a citizen, national, or noncitizen with eligible immigration status in order for the family to qualify for any level of assistance.

All applicant families must be notified of the requirement to submit evidence of their citizenship status when they apply. Where feasible, and in accordance with the PHA’s Limited English Proficiency Plan, the notice must be in a language that is understood by the individual if the individual is not proficient in English.

 

Declaration [24 CFR 5.508]

HUD requires each family member to declare whether the individual is a citizen, a national, or an eligible noncitizen, except those members who elect not to contend that they have eligible immigration status. Those who elect not to contend their status are considered to be ineligible noncitizens. For citizens, nationals and eligible noncitizens the declaration must be signed personally by the head, spouse, cohead, and any other family member 18 or older, and by a parent or guardian for minors. The family must identify in writing any family members who elect not to contend their immigration status (see Ineligible Noncitizens below). No declaration is required for live-in aides, foster children, or foster adults.

U.S. Citizens and Nationals

In general, citizens and nationals are required to submit only a signed declaration as verification of their status. However, HUD regulations permit the PHA to request additional documentation of their status, such as a passport.

 

BHHC Policy

 

Family members who declare citizenship or national status will not be required to provide additional documentation unless BHHC receives information indicating that an individual’s declaration may not be accurate.

 

Eligible Noncitizens

In addition to providing a signed declaration, those declaring eligible noncitizen status must sign a verification consent form and cooperate with PHA efforts to verify their immigration status as described in Chapter 7. The documentation required for establishing eligible noncitizen status varies depending upon factors such as the date the person entered the U.S., the conditions under which eligible immigration status has been granted, the person’s age, and the date on which the family began receiving HUD-funded assistance.

Lawful residents of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau, together known as the Freely Associated States, or FAS, are eligible for housing assistance under section 141 of the Compacts of Free Association between the U.S. Government and the Governments of the FAS [Public Law 106-504].


Ineligible Noncitizens

Those noncitizens who do not wish to contend their immigration status are required to have their names listed on a noncontending family members listing, signed by the head, spouse, or cohead (regardless of citizenship status), indicating their ineligible immigration status. The PHA is not required to verify a family member’s ineligible status and is not required to report an individual’s unlawful presence in the U.S. to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Providing housing assistance to noncitizen students is prohibited [24 CFR 5.522]. This prohibition extends to the noncitizen spouse of a noncitizen student as well as to minor children who accompany or follow to join the noncitizen student. Such prohibition does not extend to the citizen spouse of a noncitizen student or to the children of the citizen spouse and noncitizen student. Such a family is eligible for prorated assistance as a mixed family.

Mixed Families

A family is eligible for assistance as long as at least one member is a citizen, national, or eligible noncitizen. Families that include eligible and ineligible individuals are considered mixed families. Such families will be given notice that their assistance will be prorated, and that they may request a hearing if they contest this determination. See Chapter 6 for a discussion of how rents are prorated, and Chapter 16 for a discussion of informal hearing procedures.

Ineligible Families [24 CFR 5.514(d), (e), and (f)]

A PHA may elect to provide assistance to a family before the verification of the eligibility of the individual or one family member [24 CFR 5.512(b)]. Otherwise, no individual or family may be assisted prior to the affirmative establishment by the PHA that the individual or at least one family member is eligible. Verification of eligibility for this purpose occurs when the individual or family members have submitted documentation to the PHA in accordance with program requirements [24 CFR 5.512(a)].

 

BHHC Policy

 

BHHC will not provide assistance to a family before the verification of at least one family member.

When BHHC determines that an applicant family does not include any citizens, nationals, or eligible noncitizens, following the verification process, the family will be sent a written notice within 10 business days of the determination.

The notice will explain the reasons for the denial of assistance, that the family may be eligible for proration of assistance, and will advise the family of its right to request an appeal to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or to request an informal hearing with BHHC. The informal hearing with BHHC may be requested in lieu of the USCIS appeal, or at the conclusion of the USCIS appeal process. The notice must also inform the applicant family that assistance may not be delayed until the conclusion of the USCIS appeal process, but that it may be delayed pending the completion of the informal hearing process.

Informal hearing procedures are contained in Chapter 16.


Timeframe for Determination of Citizenship Status [24 CFR 5.508(g)]

For new occupants joining the assisted family, the PHA must verify status at the first interim or regular reexamination following the person’s occupancy, whichever comes first.

If an individual qualifies for a time extension for the submission of required documents, the PHA must grant such an extension for no more than 30 days [24 CFR 5.508(h)].

Each family member is required to submit evidence of eligible status only one time during continuous occupancy.

 

BHHC Policy

 

BHHC will verify the citizenship status of applicants at the time other eligibility factors are determined.

3-II.C. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS [24 CFR 5.216 and 5.218 PIH Notice 2012-10]

The applicant and all members of the applicant’s household must disclose the complete and accurate Social Security Number (SSN) assigned to each household member, and the documentation necessary to verify each SSN.  If a household member who is required to execute a certification is less than 18 years old, the certification must be executed by the individual’s parent or guardian [24 CFR 5.216(j)]. Assistance cannot be provided to a family until all SSN documentation requirements are met. A detailed discussion of acceptable documentation is provided in Chapter 7.

These requirements do not apply to noncitizens who do not contend eligible immigration status.

In addition, each participant who has not previously disclosed a SSN, has previously disclosed an SSN that HUD or the SSA determined was invalid, or has been issued a new SSN must submit their complete and accurate SSN and the documentation requires to verify the SSN at the time of the next interim or regular reexamination or recertification. 

Participants age 62 or older as of January 31, 2010, whose determination of eligibility was begun before January 31, 2010, are exempt from this requirement and remain exempt even if they move to a new assisted unit.

The PHA must deny assistance to an applicant family if they do not meet the SSN disclosure, documentation and verification, and certification requirements contained in 24 CFR 5.216.


3-II.D. FAMILY CONSENT TO RELEASE OF INFORMATION [24 CFR 5.230, HCV GB, p. 5-13]

HUD requires each adult family member, and the head of household, spouse, or cohead, regardless of age, to sign form HUD-9886, Authorization for the Release of Information/Privacy Act Notice, and other consent forms as needed to collect information relevant to the family’s eligibility and level of assistance. Chapter 7 provides detailed information concerning the consent forms and verification requirements.

The PHA must deny admission to the program if any member of the applicant family fails to sign and submit the consent forms for obtaining information in accordance with 24 CFR 5, Subparts B and F [24 CFR 982.552(b)(3)].


3-II.E. STUDENTS ENROLLED IN INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION [24 CFR 5.612 and FR Notice 4/10/06]

 

Section 327 of Public Law 109-115 and the implementing regulation at 24 CFR 5.612 established new restrictions on the eligibility of certain students (both part- and full-time) who are enrolled in institutions of higher education.

If a student enrolled at an institution of higher education is under the age of 24, is not a veteran, is not married, and does not have a dependent child, the student’s eligibility must be examined along with the income eligibility of the student’s parents. In these cases, both the student and the student’s parents must be income eligible for the student to receive HCV assistance. If, however, a student in these circumstances is determined independent from his/her parents in accordance with PHA policy, the income of the student’s parents will not be considered in determining the student’s eligibility.

The new law does not apply to students who reside with parents who are applying to receive HCV assistance. It is limited to students who are seeking assistance on their own, separately from their parents.

Definitions

In determining whether and how the new eligibility restrictions apply to a student, the PHA will rely on the following definitions [FR 4/10/06, p. 18148].

Dependent Child

In the context of the student eligibility restrictions, dependent child means a dependent child of a student enrolled in an institution of higher education. The dependent child must also meet the definition of dependent in 24 CFR 5.603, which states that the dependent must be a member of the assisted family, other than the head of household or spouse, who is under 18 years of age, or is a person with a disability, or is a full-time student. Foster children and foster adults are not considered dependents.


Independent Student

 

BHHC Policy

 

BHHC will consider a student “independent” from his or her parents and the parents’ income will not be considered when determining the student’s eligibility if the following four criteria are all met:

The individual is of legal contract age under state law.

The individual has established a household separate from his/her parents for at least one year prior to application for occupancy or the individual meets the U.S. Department of Education’s definition of independent student.

To be considered an independent student according to the Department of Education, a student must meet one or more of the following criteria:

Be at least 24 years old by December 31 of the award year for which aid is sought

Be an orphan or a ward of the court through the age of 18

Be a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces

Have one or more legal dependents other than a spouse (for example, dependent children or an elderly dependent parent)

Be a graduate or professional student

Be married

The individual was not claimed as a dependent by his/her parents pursuant to IRS regulations, as demonstrated on the parents’ most recent tax forms.

The individual provides a certification of the amount of financial assistance that will be provided by his/her parents. This certification must be signed by the individual providing the support and must be submitted even if no assistance is being provided.

BHHC will verify that a student meets the above criteria in accordance with the policies in Section 7-II.E.


Institution of Higher Education

The PHA will use the statutory definition under section 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to determine whether a student is attending an institution of higher education (see Exhibit 3-2).

Parents

BHHC Policy

 

For purposes of student eligibility restrictions, the definition of parents includes biological or adoptive parents, stepparents (as long as they are currently married to the biological or adoptive parent), and guardians (e.g., grandparents, aunt/uncle, godparents, etc).

Veteran

BHHC Policy

 

A veteran is a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released from such service under conditions other than dishonorable.

Determining Student Eligibility

If a student is applying for assistance on his/her own, apart from his/her parents, the PHA must determine whether the student is subject to the eligibility restrictions contained in 24 CFR 5.612. If the student is subject to those restrictions, the PHA must ensure that: (1) the student is individually eligible for the program, (2) either the student is independent from his/her parents or the student’s parents are income eligible for the program, and (3) the “family” with which the student is applying is collectively eligible for the program.

 

BHHC Policy

 

For any student who is subject to the 5.612 restrictions, BHHC will:

Follow its usual policies in determining whether the student individually and the student’s “family” collectively are eligible for the program

Determine whether the student is independent from his/her parents in accordance with the definition of independent student in this section

Follow the policies below, if applicable, in determining whether the student’s parents are income eligible for the program

If BHHC determines that the student, the student’s parents (if applicable), or the student’s “family” is not eligible, BHHC will send a notice of denial in accordance with the policies in Section 3-III.F, and the applicant family will have the right to request an informal review in accordance with the policies in Section 16-III.B.


Determining Parental Income Eligibility

 

BHHC Policy

 

For any student who is subject to the 5.612 restrictions and who does not satisfy the definition of independent student in this section, BHHC will determine the income eligibility of the student’s parents as follows:

If the student’s parents are married and living together, BHHC will obtain a joint income declaration and certification of joint income from the parents.

If the student’s parent is widowed or single, BHHC will obtain an income declaration and certification of income from that parent.

If the student’s parents are divorced or separated, BHHC will obtain an income declaration and certification of income from each parent.

If the student has been living with one of his/her parents and has not had contact with or does not know where to contact his/her other parent, BHHC will require the student to submit a certification under penalty of perjury describing the circumstances and stating that the student does not receive financial assistance from the other parent. BHHC will then obtain an income declaration and certification of income from the parent with whom the student has been living or had contact.

In determining the income eligibility of the student’s parents, BHHC will use the income limits for the jurisdiction in which the parents live.


PART III: DENIAL OF ASSISTANCE

3-III.A. OVERVIEW

A family that does not meet the eligibility criteria discussed in Parts I and II, must be denied assistance.  In this section we will discuss other situations and circumstances in which denial of assistance is mandatory for the PHA, and those in which denial of assistance is optional for the PHA. 

 

Forms of Denial [24 CFR 982.552(a)(2); HCV GB, p. 5-35]

Denial of assistance includes any of the following:

·         Not placing the family's name on the waiting list

·         Denying or withdrawing a voucher

·         Not approving a request for tenancy or refusing to enter into a HAP contract

·         Refusing to process a request for or to provide assistance under portability procedures

Prohibited Reasons for Denial of Program Assistance [24 CFR 982.202(b), Pub.L. 109-162]

HUD rules prohibit denial of program assistance to the program based on any of the following criteria:

·         Age, disability, race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. (See Chapter 2 for additional information about fair housing and equal opportunity requirements.)

·         Where a family lives prior to admission to the program

·         Where the family will live with assistance under the program. Although eligibility is not affected by where the family will live, there may be restrictions on the family's ability to move outside the PHA's jurisdiction (See Chapter 10, Portability.)

·         Whether members of the family are unwed parents, recipients of public assistance, or children born out of wedlock

·         Whether the family includes children

·         Whether a family decides to participate in a family self-sufficiency program

·         Whether or not a qualified applicant has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking if the applicant is otherwise qualified for assistance (See section 3-III.G.)


3-III.B. MANDATORY DENIAL OF ASSISTANCE [24 CFR 982.553(a)]

HUD requires the PHA to deny assistance in the following cases:

·         Any member of the household has been evicted from federally-assisted housing in the last 3 years for drug-related criminal activity. HUD permits, but does not require, the PHA to admit an otherwise-eligible family if the household member has completed a PHA-approved drug rehabilitation program or the circumstances which led to eviction no longer exist (e.g., the person involved in the criminal activity no longer lives in the household).

 

BHHC Policy

 

BHHC will not admit an otherwise-eligible family who was evicted from federally-assisted housing within the past 5 years for drug-related criminal activity, if BHHC is able to verify that the household member who engaged in the criminal activity has completed a supervised drug rehabilitation program approved by BHHC, or the person who committed the crime, is no longer living in the household.

·         The PHA determines that any household member is currently engaged in the use of illegal drugs.

 

BHHC Policy

 

Currently engaged in is defined as any use of illegal drugs during the previous six months.

·         The PHA has reasonable cause to believe that any household member's current use or pattern of use of illegal drugs, or current abuse or pattern of abuse of alcohol, may threaten the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents.

 

BHHC Policy

 

In determining reasonable cause, BHHC will consider all credible evidence, including but not limited to, any record of convictions, arrests, or evictions of household members related to the use of illegal drugs or the abuse of alcohol. A conviction will be given more weight than an arrest. BHHC will also consider evidence from treatment providers or community-based organizations providing services to household members.

·         Any household member has ever been convicted of drug-related criminal activity for the production or manufacture of methamphetamine on the premises of federally assisted housing

·         Any household member is subject to a lifetime registration requirement under a state sex offender registration program

            Evidence of such criminal activity includes, but is not limited to any record of convictions, arrests, or evictions for suspected drug-related or violent criminal activity of household members within the past 5 years. A conviction for such activity will be given more weight than an arrest or an eviction.


3-III.C. OTHER PERMITTED REASONS FOR DENIAL OF ASSISTANCE

HUD permits, but does not require, the PHA to deny assistance for the reasons discussed in this section.

Criminal Activity [24 CFR 982.553]

HUD permits, but does not require, the PHA to deny assistance if the PHA determines that any household member is currently engaged in, or has engaged in during a reasonable time before the family would receive assistance, certain types of criminal activity.

 

BHHC Policy

 

If any household member is currently engaged in, or has engaged in any of the following criminal activities, within the past five years, the family will be denied assistance.

Drug-related criminal activity, defined by HUD as the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution, or use of a drug, or the possession of a drug with intent to manufacture, sell, distribute or use the drug [24 CFR 5.100].

Violent criminal activity, defined by HUD as any criminal activity that has as one of its elements the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force substantial enough to cause, or be reasonably likely to cause, serious bodily injury or property damage [24 CFR 5.100].

Criminal activity that may threaten the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents or persons residing in the immediate vicinity; or

Criminal activity that may threaten the health or safety of property owners and management staff, and persons performing contract administration functions or other responsibilities on behalf of BHHC (including a BHHC employee or a BHHC contractor, subcontractor, or agent).

Criminal sexual conduct, including but not limited to sexual assault, incest, open and gross lewdness, or child abuse.

Immediate vicinity means within a three-block radius of the premises.

Evidence of such criminal activity includes, but is not limited to:

Any conviction for drug-related or violent criminal activity within the past 5 years.

Any arrests for drug-related or violent criminal activity within the past 5 years.

Any record of eviction from public or privately-owned housing as a result of criminal activity within the past 5 years.

A conviction for drug-related or violent criminal activity will be given more weight than an arrest for such activity.

In making its decision to deny assistance, BHHC will consider the factors discussed in Section 3-III.E. Upon consideration of such factors, BHHC may, on a case-by-case basis, decide not to deny assistance.


Previous Behavior in Assisted Housing [24 CFR 982.552(c)]

HUD authorizes the PHA to deny assistance based on the family’s previous behavior in assisted housing:

 

BHHC Policy

 

BHHC will not deny assistance to an otherwise eligible family because the family previously failed to meet its obligations under the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program or the Welfare to Work voucher program.

BHHC will deny assistance to an applicant family if:

The family does not provide information that BHHC or HUD determines is necessary in the administration of the program.

The family does not provide complete and true information to BHHC.

Any family member has been evicted from federally-assisted housing in the last five years.

Any PHA has ever terminated assistance under the program for any member of the family.

Any family member has committed fraud, bribery, or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with any federal housing program.

The family owes rent or other amounts to any PHA in connection with the HCV, Certificate, Moderate Rehabilitation or public housing programs, unless the family repays the full amount of the debt prior to being selected from the waiting list.

If the family has not reimbursed any PHA for amounts the PHA paid to an owner under a HAP contract for rent, damages to the unit, or other amounts owed by the family under the lease, unless the family repays the full amount of the debt prior to being selected from the waiting list.

The family has breached the terms of a repayment agreement entered into with the PHA, unless the family repays the full amount of the debt covered in the repayment agreement prior to being selected from the waiting list.

A family member has engaged in or threatened violent or abusive behavior toward BHHC personnel.

Abusive or violent behavior towards BHHC  personnel includes verbal as well as physical abuse or violence. Use of racial epithets, or other language, written or oral, that is customarily used to intimidate may be considered abusive or violent behavior.

Threatening refers to oral or written threats or physical gestures that communicate intent to abuse or commit violence.

In making its decision to deny assistance, BHHC will consider the factors discussed in Section 3-III.E. Upon consideration of such factors, BHHC may, on a case-by-case basis, decide not to deny assistance.


3-III.D. SCREENING

Screening for Eligibility

PHAs are authorized to obtain criminal conviction records from law enforcement agencies to screen applicants for admission to the HCV program. This authority assists the PHA in complying with HUD requirements and PHA policies to deny assistance to applicants who are engaging in or have engaged in certain criminal activities. In order to obtain access to the records the PHA must require every applicant family to submit a consent form signed by each adult household member [24 CFR 5.903].

 

BHHC Policy

 

BHHC will perform a criminal background check through local law enforcement for every adult household member.

If the results of the criminal background check indicate that there may be past criminal activity, but the results are inconclusive, BHHC will request a fingerprint card and will request information from the National Crime Information center (NCIC).

PHAs are required to perform criminal background checks necessary to determine whether any household member is subject to a lifetime registration requirement under a state sex offender program in the state where the housing is located, as well as in any other state where a household member is known to have resided [24 CFR 982.553(a)(2)(i)].

BHHC Policy

 

BHHC will use the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender database to screen applicants for admission.  Additionally, BHHC must ask whether the applicant or any member of the applicant’s household, is subject to a lifetime registered sex offender registration requirement in any state [PIH 20012-28]. 

 

If BHHC proposes to deny assistance based on a criminal record or on lifetime sex offender registration information, BHHC must notify the household of the proposed action and must provide the subject of the record and the applicant a copy of the record and an opportunity to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information prior to a denial of admission. [24 CFR 5.903(f) and 5.905(d)].


Screening for Suitability as a Tenant [24 CFR 982.307]

The PHA has no liability or responsibility to the owner for the family’s behavior or suitability for tenancy. The PHA has the authority to conduct additional screening to determine whether an applicant is likely to be a suitable tenant.

 

BHHC Policy

 

BHHC will not conduct additional screening to determine an applicant family’s suitability for tenancy.

 

The owner is responsible for screening and selection of the family to occupy the owner’s unit. BHHC must inform the owner that screening and selection for tenancy is the responsibility of the owner. An owner may consider a family’s history with respect to factors such as: payment of rent and utilities, caring for a unit and premises, respecting the rights of other residents to the peaceful enjoyment of their housing, criminal activity that is a threat to the health, safety or property of others, and compliance with other essential conditions of tenancy.

 

HUD requires BHHC to provide prospective owners with the family's current and prior address (as shown in BHHC’s records) and the name and address (if known) of the owner at the family's current and prior addresses. HUD permits BHHC to provide owners with additional information, as long as families are notified that the information will be provided, and the same type of information is provided to all owners.

 

BHHC may not disclose to the owner any confidential information provided to the PHA by the family in response to a PHA request for documentation of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking except at the written request or with the written consent of the individual providing the documentation [24 CFR 5.2007(a)(4)].

 

BHHC Policy

 

BHHC will inform owners of their responsibility to screen prospective tenants, and will provide owners with the required known name and address information, at the time of the initial HQS inspection or before. BHHC will not provide any additional information to the owner, such as tenancy history or, criminal history.


3-III.E. CRITERIA FOR DECIDING TO DENY ASSISTANCE

Evidence [24 CFR 982.553(c)]

 

BHHC Policy

 

BHHC will use the concept of the preponderance of the evidence as the standard for making all admission decisions.

Preponderance of the evidence is defined as evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not. Preponderance of the evidence may not be determined by the number of witnesses, but by the greater weight of all evidence.

 

Consideration of Circumstances [24 CFR 982.552(c)(2)]

HUD authorizes the PHA to consider all relevant circumstances when deciding whether to deny assistance based on a family’s past history except in the situations for which denial of assistance is mandatory (see Section 3-III.B).

 

BHHC Policy

 

BHHC will consider the following factors prior to making its decision:

The seriousness of the case, especially with respect to how it would affect other residents

The effects that denial of assistance may have on other members of the family who were not involved in the action or failure

The extent of participation or culpability of individual family members, including whether the culpable family member is a minor or a person with disabilities, or (as discussed further in section 3-III.G) a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking

The length of time since the violation occurred, the family’s recent history and the likelihood of favorable conduct in the future

In the case of drug or alcohol abuse, whether the culpable household member is participating in or has successfully completed a supervised drug or alcohol rehabilitation program or has otherwise been rehabilitated successfully

BHHC will require the applicant to submit evidence of the household member’s current participation in or successful completion of a supervised drug or alcohol rehabilitation program, or evidence of otherwise having been rehabilitated successfully.


Removal of a Family Member's Name from the Application [24 CFR 982.552(c)(2)(ii)]

 

Should the PHA’s screening process reveal that an applicant’s household includes a individual subject to state lifetime registered sex offender registration, the PHA must offer the family the opportunity to remove the ineligible family member from the household.  If the family is unwilling to remove that individual from the household, the PHA must deny admission to the family (PIH Notice 2012-28].

 

For other criminal activity, the PHA may permit the family to exclude the culpable family members as a condition of eligibility [24 CFR982.552©(ii)].

 

BHHC Policy

 

As a condition of receiving assistance, a family may agree to remove the culpable family member from the application. In such instances, the head of household must certify that the family member will not be permitted to visit, stay as a guest, or reside in the assisted unit.

After admission to the program, the family must present evidence of the former family member’s current address upon BHHC’s request.

 

Reasonable Accommodation [24 CFR 982.552(c)(2)(iv)]

If the family includes a person with disabilities, the PHA’s decision concerning denial of admission is subject to consideration of reasonable accommodation in accordance with 24 CFR Part 8.

 

BHHC Policy

 

If the family indicates that the behavior of a family member with a disability is the reason for the proposed denial of assistance, BHHC will determine whether the behavior is related to the stated disability. If so, upon the family’s request, BHHC will determine whether admitting the family as a reasonable accommodation is appropriate.  BHHC will only consider accommodations that can reasonably be expected to address the behavior that is the basis of the proposed denial of assistance. See Chapter 2 for a discussion of reasonable accommodation.


3-III.F. NOTICE OF ELIGIBILITY OR DENIAL

If the family is eligible for assistance, the PHA will notify the family in writing and schedule a tenant briefing as discussed in Chapter 5.

If the PHA determines that a family is not eligible for the program for any reason, the family must be notified promptly. The notice must describe: (1) the reasons for which assistance has been denied, (2) the family’s right to an informal review, and (3) the process for obtaining the informal review [24 CFR 982.554 (a)]. See Chapter 16, for informal review policies and procedures.

 

BHHC Policy

 

The family will be notified of a decision to deny assistance in writing within 10 business days of the determination.

 

If a PHA uses a criminal record or sex offender registration information obtained under 24 CFR 5, Subpart J, as the basis of a denial, a copy of the record must precede the notice to deny, with an opportunity for the applicant to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information before the PHA can move to deny the application. In addition, a copy of the record must be provided to the subject of the record [24 CFR 5.903(f) and 5.905(d)]. The PHA must give the family an opportunity to dispute the accuracy and relevance of that record, in the informal review process in accordance with program requirements [24 CFR 982.553(d)].

 

BHHC Policy

 

If based on a criminal record or sex offender registration information, an applicant family appears to be ineligible BHHC will notify the family in writing of the proposed denial and provide a copy of the record to the applicant and to the subject of the record. The family will be given 10 business days to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information. If the family does not contact BHHC to dispute the information within that 10-day period, BHHC will proceed with issuing the notice of denial of admission. A family that does not exercise their right to dispute the accuracy of the information prior to issuance of the official denial letter will still be given the opportunity to do so as part of the informal review process.

 

Notice requirements related to denying assistance to noncitizens are contained in Section 3-II.B.

Notice policies related to denying admission to applicants who may be victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking are contained in Section 3-III.G.


3-III.G. PROHIBITION AGAINST DENIAL OF ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, DATING VIOLENCE, AND STALKING                                                              [24 CFP Part 5 - Final Guidance Federal Register October2010]

 

The Violence Against Women Act of 2013 (VAWA) prohibits denial of admission to an otherwise qualified applicant on the basis that the applicant is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.  Specifically, Section 606(1) of VAWA adds the following provision to Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, which lists contract provisions and requirements for the housing choice voucher program:  

Every contract for contributions shall provide that . . . the housing agency shall not deny admission to the project to any applicant on the basis that the applicant is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking if the applicant otherwise qualifies for assistance or admission, and that nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede any provision of any Federal, State, or local law that provides greater protection than this section for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.

 

·         That an applicant or participant is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking is not an appropriate reason for denial of program assistance or for denial of admission, if the applicant otherwise qualifies for assistance or admission.

 

Definitions of key terms used in VAWA are provided in section 16-VII of this ACOP, where general VAWA requirements and policies pertaining to notification, documentation, and confidentiality are also located.

Notification

            BHHC Policy

 BHHC acknowledges that a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking may have an unfavorable history (e.g., a poor credit history, a record of previous damage to an apartment, a prior arrest record) that would warrant denial under BHHC’s policies.  Therefore, if BHHC makes a determination to deny admission to an applicant family, BHHC will include in its notice of denial information about the protection against denial provided by VAWA in accordance with section 16-VII.C of this ACOP and will request that an applicant wishing to claim this protection notify BHHC within 10 business days.

Documentation

Victim Documentation [24 CFR 5.2007]

BHHC Policy

 If an applicant claims the protection against denial of admission that VAWA provides to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, BHHC will request in writing that the applicant provide documentation supporting the claim in accordance with section 16-VVII.D of this ACOP. 

Perpetrator Documentation

BHHC Policy

 If the perpetrator of the abused is a member of the applicant family, the applicant must provide additional documentation consisting of one of the following:

A signed statement (1) requesting that the perpetrator be removed from the application and (2) certifying that the perpetrator will not be permitted to visit or to stay as a guest in the housing unit

Applicant must provide documentation that the perpetrator has successfully completed, or is successfully undergoing, rehabilitation or treatment.  The documentation must be signed by an employee or agent of a domestic violence service provider or by a medical or other knowledgeable professional from whom the perpetrator has sought or is receiving assistance in addressing the abuse.  The signer must attest under penalty of perjury to his or her belief that the rehabilitation was successfully completed or is progressing successfully.  The victim and perpetrator must also sign or attest to the documentation.  This additional documentation must be submitted within the same time frame as the documentation required above from the victim.

 

Notification and Victim Documentation

BHHC Policy

BHHC acknowledges that a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking may have an unfavorable history that would warrant denial under the BHHC’s policies. Therefore, if BHHC makes a determination to deny admission to an applicant family on the basis of an unfavorable history, BHHC will include in its notice of denial a statement of the protection against denial provided by VAWA and will offer the applicant the opportunity to provide documentation affirming that the cause of the unfavorable history is that a member of the applicant family is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.  Documentation must be made in writing and delivered to BHHC either in person or by first class mail, by the close of the business day, no later than 10 business days from the date of BHHC’s notification of denial of admission.  Any documentation or information received from reporting agencies will be kept in a secure location and access will be limited to authorized BHHC staff.  Documentation will be kept on file for a period of 10days after which the documents will be destroyed.  In the event that an applicant requests an informal hearing the documentation will be disposed of after the disposition of the requested informal hearing.

The documentation must include two elements:

 

A signed statement by the victim that provides the name of the perpetrator and certifies that the incidents in question are bona fide incidents of actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking

One of the following:

 

A police or court record documenting the actual or threatened abuse

A statement signed by an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim service provider; an attorney; a medical professional; or another knowledgeable professional from whom the victim has sought assistance in addressing the actual or threatened abuse. The professional must attest under penalty of perjury that the incidents in question are bona fide incidents of abuse, and the victim must sign or attest to the statement.

 

The applicant must submit the required documentation with her or his request for an informal hearing (see section 14-I.B) or must request an extension in writing at that time. If the applicant so requests, BHHC will grant an extension of 10 business days, and will postpone scheduling the applicant’s informal hearing until after it has received the documentation or the extension period has elapsed. If after reviewing the documentation provided by the applicant BHHC determines the family is eligible for assistance, no informal hearing will be scheduled and BHHC will proceed with admission of the applicant family.

 

 

Perpetrator Removal or Documentation of Rehabilitation

 

BHHC Policy

 

In cases where an applicant family includes the perpetrator as well as the victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, BHHC will proceed as above but will require, in addition, either (a) that the perpetrator be removed from the applicant household and not reside in the assisted housing unit or (b) that the family provide documentation that the perpetrator has successfully completed, or is successfully undergoing, rehabilitation or treatment.

If the family elects the second option, the documentation must be signed by an employee or agent of a domestic violence service provider or by a medical or other knowledgeable professional from whom the perpetrator has sought or is receiving assistance in addressing the abuse. The signer must attest under penalty of perjury to his or her belief that the rehabilitation was successfully completed or is progressing successfully. The victim and perpetrator must also sign or attest to the documentation. This additional documentation must be submitted within the same time frame as the documentation required above from the victim.

 

BHHC Confidentiality Requirements

All information provided to BHHC regarding domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, including the fact that an individual is a victim of such violence or stalking, must be retained in confidence and may neither be entered into any shared database nor provided to any related entity, except to the extent that the disclosure (a) is requested or consented to by the individual in writing, (b) is required for use in an eviction proceeding, or (c) is otherwise required by applicable law.

 

BHHC Policy

All applicant and participant information will be kept in a secure location and access will be limited to authorize BHHC Staff.

BHHC staff will not discuss personal family information unless there is a business reason to do so.  Inappropriate discussion of family information or improper disclosure of family information by staff will result in disciplinary action.

In addition, BHHC will ensure that all applicant and participant information and files are maintained in a secure locked file cabinet in a way that protects an individual’s privacy rights.

Applications will be stored for no less than (5) five years.  If the applicant is determined to be eligible, the criminal history report shall be shredded as soon as the applicant is housed.  The file will be noted that a Criminal Background check was performed.  Applicant denied housing, due to an unfavorable criminal background history.  The file will be noted with the statement adverse reporting.  The actual report will be kept in a separate locked file cabinet.  The information will only be retained during the allotted time limit granted by BHHC’s grievance procedures.  Once the time limit has expired and if there has been no request made by the applicant for a informal review, the record will be shredded.  BHHC will shred negative criminal background reports.

BHHC Confidentiality Requirements

All information provided to BHHC regarding domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, including the fact that an individual is a victim of such violence or stalking, must be retained in confidence and may neither be entered into any shared database nor provided to any related entity, except to the extent that the disclosure (a) is requested or consented to by the individual in writing, (b) is required for use in an eviction proceeding, or (c) is otherwise required by applicable law.

 

BHHC Policy

All applicant and participant information will be kept in a secure location and access will be limited to authorized BHHC staff.

BHHC staff will not discuss personal family information unless there is a business reason to do so. Inappropriate discussion of family information or improper disclosure of family information by staff will result in disciplinary action.

 In addition, BHHC will ensure that all applicant and participant information and files are maintained in a secure locked file cabinet in a way that protects an individual’s privacy rights.

 

Applicant files will not be shared with a database nor provided to any related entity, except where written permission by the applicant is given to BHHC.

 

Applications will be stored for no less than (5) five years.   If the applicant is determined to be eligible, the criminal history report shall be shredded as soon as the applicant is housed.  The file will be noted that a Criminal Background check was performed.  Applicant denied housing, due to an unfavorable criminal background history.  The file will be noted with the statement adverse reporting.  The actual report will be kept in a separate locked file cabinet.  The information will only be retained during the allotted time limit granted by BHHC’s grievance procedures.  Once the time limit has expired and if there has been no request made by the applicant for a hearing, the record will be shredded.  BHHC will shred negative criminal background reports

 

BHHC Policy

BHHC has implement a system of records management that ensures that any criminal record received by BHHC from a law enforcement agency is confidentially maintained, it will not be misused or improperly disseminated, and will be destroyed, once the purpose for which the record was requested has been accomplished, including expiration of the period for filing a challenge to BHHC.

 

 

Definitions

As used in VAWA:

·         The term domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

·         The term dating violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

-       The length of the relationship

-       The type of relationship

-       The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship

·         The term stalking means:

-       To follow, pursue, or repeatedly commit acts with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate; or

-       To place under surveillance with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person; and

-       In the course of, or as a result of, such following, pursuit, surveillance, or repeatedly committed acts, to place a person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, or to cause substantial emotional harm to (1) that person, (2) a member of the immediate family of that person, or (3) the spouse or intimate partner of that person.

·         The term immediate family member means, with respect to a person:

-       A spouse, parent, brother or sister, or child of that person, or an individual to whom that person stands in the position or place of a parent; or

-       Any other person living in the household of that person and related to that person by blood and marriage.

 

 

3-III.H.  NOTICE OF ELIGIBILITY OR DENIAL

The PHA will notify an applicant family of its final determination of eligibility in accordance with the policies in Section 4-III.E.

 

If a PHA uses a criminal record or sex offender registration information obtained under 24 CFR 5, Subpart J, as the basis of a denial, a copy of the record must precede the notice to deny, with an opportunity for the applicant to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information before the PHA can move to deny the application. In addition, a copy of the record must be provided to the subject of the record [24 CFR 5.903(f) and 5.905(d)].

 

BHHC Policy

If, based on a criminal record or sex offender registration information an applicant family appears to be ineligible, BHHC will notify the family in writing of the proposed denial and provide a copy of the record to the applicant and to the subject of the record. The family will be given 10 business days to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information. If the family does not contact BHHC to dispute the information within that 10 day period, BHHC will proceed with issuing the notice of denial of admission. A family that does not exercise their right to dispute the accuracy of the information prior to issuance of the official denial letter will still be given the opportunity to do so as part of the informal hearing process.

 

Notice requirements related to denying admission to noncitizens are contained in Section 3-II.B.

 

Notice policies related to denying admission to applicants who may be victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking are contained in Section 3-III.F.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXHIBIT 3-1: DETAILED DEFINITIONS RELATED TO DISABILITIES

Person with Disabilities [24 CFR 5.403]

The term person with disabilities means a person who has any of the following types of conditions:

·         Has a disability, as defined in 42 U.S.C. Section 423(d)(1)(A), which reads:

Inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months; or

In the case of an individual who has attained the age of 55 and is blind (within the meaning of “blindness” as defined in section 416(i)(1) of this title), inability by reason of such blindness to engage in substantial gainful activity, requiring skills or ability comparable to those of any gainful activity in which he has previously engaged with some regularity and over a substantial period of time.

·         Has a developmental disability as defined in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 [42 U.S.C.15002(8)], which defines developmental disability in functional terms as follows:

(A) In General

The term “developmental disability” means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that:

(i)   is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;

(ii) is manifested before the individual attains age 22;

(iii) is likely to continue indefinitely;

(iv) results in substantial functional limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activity: (I) Self-care, (II) Receptive and expressive language, (III) Learning, (IV) Mobility, (V) Self-direction, (VI) Capacity for independent living, (VII) Economic self-sufficiency; and

(v) reflects the individual’s need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.

(B) Infants and Young Children

An individual from birth to age 9, inclusive, who has a substantial developmental delay or specific congenital or acquired condition, may be considered to have a developmental disability without meeting 3 or more of the criteria described in clauses (i) through (v) of subparagraph (A) if the individual, without services and supports, has a high probability of meeting those criteria later in life.

·         Has a physical, mental, or emotional impairment that is expected to be of long-continued and indefinite duration; substantially impedes his or her ability to live independently, and is of such a nature that the ability to live independently could be improved by more suitable housing conditions.

People with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or any conditions arising from the etiologic agent for AIDS are not excluded from this definition.

A person whose disability is based solely on any drug or alcohol dependence does not qualify as a person with disabilities for the purposes of this program.

For purposes of reasonable accommodation and program accessibility for persons with disabilities, the term person with disabilities refers to an individual with handicaps.

 

Individual with Handicaps [24 CFR 8.3]

Individual with handicaps means any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment. The term does not include any individual who is an alcoholic or drug abuser whose current use of alcohol or drugs prevents the individual from participating in the program or activity in question, or whose participation, by reason of such current alcohol or drug abuse, would constitute a direct threat to property or the safety of others. As used in this definition, the phrase:

(1)  Physical or mental impairment includes:

(a)  Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or

(b)  Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The term physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, drug addiction and alcoholism.

(2)  Major life activities means functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.

(3)  Has a record of such an impairment means has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

(4)  Is regarded as having an impairment means:

(a)  Has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit one or more major life activities but that is treated by a recipient as constituting such a limitation;

(b)  Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such impairment; or

(c)  Has none of the impairments defined in paragraph (1) of this section but is treated by a recipient as having such an impairment.


EXHIBIT 3-2: DEFINITION OF INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION
[20 U.S.C. 1001 and 1002]

Eligibility of Students for Assisted Housing Under Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937; Supplementary Guidance; Notice [Federal Register, April 10, 2006]

Institution of Higher Education shall have the meaning given this term in the Higher Education Act of 1965 in 20 U.S.C. 1001 and 1002.

Definition of ‘‘Institution of Higher Education’’ From 20 U.S.C. 1001

(a)   Institution of higher education. For purposes of this chapter, other than subchapter IV and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of Title 42, the term ‘‘institution of higher education’’ means an educational institution in any State that

(1)   Admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate;

(2)   Is legally authorized within such State to provide a program of education beyond secondary education;

(3)   Provides an educational program for which the institution awards a bachelor’s degree or provides not less than a 2-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward such a degree;

(4)   Is a public or other nonprofit institution; and

(5)   Is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association, or if not so accredited, is an institution that has been granted preaccreditation status by such an agency or association that has been recognized by the Secretary for the granting of preaccreditation status, and the Secretary has determined that there is satisfactory assurance that the institution will meet the accreditation standards of such an agency or association within a reasonable time.

(b)   Additional institutions included. For purposes of this chapter, other than subchapter IV and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of Title 42, the term ‘‘institution of higher education’’ also includes—

(1)   Any school that provides not less than a 1-year program of training to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation and that meets the provision of paragraphs (1), (2), (4), and (5) of subsection (a) of this section; and

(2)   A public or nonprofit private educational institution in any State that, in lieu of the requirement in subsection (a)(1) of this section, admits as regular students persons who are beyond the age of compulsory school attendance in the State in which the institution is located.

(c)   List of accrediting agencies. For purposes of this section and section 1002 of this title, the Secretary shall publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies or associations that the Secretary determines, pursuant to subpart 2 of part G of subchapter IV of this chapter, to be reliable authority as to the quality of the education or training offered.

Definition of ‘‘Institution of Higher Education’’ From 20 U.S.C. 1002

(a)   Definition of institution of higher education for purposes of student assistance programs

(1)   Inclusion of additional institutions. Subject to paragraphs (2) through (4) of this subsection, the term ‘‘institution of higher education’’ for purposes of subchapter IV of this chapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42 includes, in addition to the institutions covered by the definition in section 1001 of this title—

(A)  A proprietary institution of higher education (as defined in subsection (b) of this section);

(B)  A postsecondary vocational institution (as defined in subsection (c) of this section); and

(C)  Only for the purposes of part B of subchapter IV of this chapter, an institution outside the United States that is comparable to an institution of higher education as defined in section 1001 of this title and that has been approved by the Secretary for the purpose of part B of subchapter IV of this chapter.

(2)   Institutions outside the United States

(A)  In general. For the purpose of qualifying as an institution under paragraph (1)(C), the Secretary shall establish criteria by regulation for the approval of institutions outside the United States and for the determination that such institutions are comparable to an institution of higher education as defined in section 1001 of this title (except that a graduate medical school, or a veterinary school, located outside the United States shall not be required to meet the requirements of section 1001 (a)(4) of this title). Such criteria shall include a requirement that a student attending such school outside the United States is ineligible for loans made, insured, or guaranteed under part B of subchapter IV of this chapter unless—

(i)    In the case of a graduate medical school located outside the United States—

(I)(aa) At least 60 percent of those enrolled in, and at least 60 percent of the graduates of, the graduate medical school outside the United States were not persons described in section 1091(a)(5) of this title in the year preceding the year for which a student is seeking a loan under part B of subchapter IV of this chapter; and

(bb) At least 60 percent of the individuals who were students or graduates of the graduate medical school outside the United States or Canada (both nationals of the United States and others) taking the examinations administered by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates received a passing score in the year preceding the year for which a student is seeking a loan under part B of subchapter IV of this chapter; or

(II)  The institution has a clinical training program that was approved by a State as of January 1, 1992; or

(ii)   In the case of a veterinary school located outside the United States that does not meet the requirements of section 1001(a)(4) of this title, the institution’s students complete their clinical training at an approved veterinary school located in the United States.

(B)  Advisory panel

(i)    In general. For the purpose of qualifying as an institution under paragraph (1)(C) of this subsection, the Secretary shall establish an advisory panel of medical experts that shall—

(I)    Evaluate the standards of accreditation applied to applicant foreign medical schools; and

(II)  Determine the comparability of those standards to standards for accreditation applied to United States medical schools.

(ii)   Special rule if the accreditation standards described in clause (i) are determined not to be comparable, the foreign medical school shall be required to meet the requirements of section 1001 of this title.

(C)  Failure to release information. The failure of an institution outside the United States to provide, release, or authorize release to the Secretary of such information as may be required by subparagraph (A) shall render such institution ineligible for the purpose of part B of subchapter IV of this chapter.

(D)  Special rule. If, pursuant to this paragraph, an institution loses eligibility to participate in the programs under subchapter IV of this chapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42, then a student enrolled at such institution may, notwithstanding such loss of eligibility, continue to be eligible to receive a loan under part B while attending such institution for the academic year succeeding the academic year in which such loss of eligibility occurred.

(3)   Limitations based on course of study or enrollment. An institution shall not be considered to meet the definition of an institution of higher education in paragraph (1) if such institution—

(A)  Offers more than 50 percent of such institution’s courses by correspondence, unless the institution is an institution that meets the definition in section 2471 (4)(C) of this title;

(B)  Enrolls 50 percent or more of the institution’s students in correspondence courses, unless the institution is an institution that meets the definition in such section, except that the Secretary, at the request of such institution, may waive the applicability of this subparagraph to such institution for good cause, as determined by the Secretary in the case of an institution of higher education that provides a 2-or 4-year program of instruction (or both) for which the institution awards an associate or baccalaureate degree, respectively;

(C)  Has a student enrollment in which more than 25 percent of the students are incarcerated, except that the Secretary may waive the limitation contained in this subparagraph for a nonprofit institution that provides a 2-or 4-year program of instruction (or both) for which the institution awards a bachelor’s degree, or an associate’s degree or a postsecondary diploma, respectively; or

(D)  Has a student enrollment in which more than 50 percent of the students do not have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and does not provide a 2-or 4-year program of instruction (or both) for which the institution awards a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree, respectively, except that the Secretary may waive the limitation contained in this subparagraph if a nonprofit institution demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the institution exceeds such limitation because the institution serves, through contracts with Federal, State, or local government agencies, significant numbers of students who do not have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent.

(4)   Limitations based on management. An institution shall not be considered to meet the definition of an institution of higher education in paragraph (1) if—

(A)  The institution, or an affiliate of the institution that has the power, by contract or ownership interest, to direct or cause the direction of the management or policies of the institution, has filed for bankruptcy, except that this paragraph shall not apply to a nonprofit institution, the primary function of which is to provide health care educational services (or an affiliate of such an institution that has the power, by contract or ownership interest, to direct or cause the direction of the institution’s management or policies) that files for bankruptcy under chapter 11 of title 11 between July 1, 1998, and December 1, 1998; or

(B)  The institution, the institution’s owner, or the institution’s chief executive officer has been convicted of, or has pled nolo contendere or guilty to, a crime involving the acquisition, use, or expenditure of funds under subchapter IV of this chapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42, or has been judicially determined to have committed fraud involving funds under subchapter IV of this chapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42.

(5)   Certification. The Secretary shall certify an institution’s qualification as an institution of higher education in accordance with the requirements of subpart 3 of part G of subchapter IV of this chapter.

(6)   Loss of eligibility. An institution of higher education shall not be considered to meet the definition of an institution of higher education in paragraph (1) if such institution is removed from eligibility for funds under subchapter IV of this chapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42 as a result of an action pursuant to part G of subchapter IV of this chapter.

(b)   Proprietary institution of higher education

(1)   Principal criteria. For the purpose of this section, the term ‘‘proprietary institution of higher education’’ means a school that—

(A)  Provides an eligible program of training to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation;

(B)  Meets the requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 1001 (a) of this title;

(C)  Does not meet the requirement of paragraph (4) of section 1001 (a) of this title;

(D)  Is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association recognized by the Secretary pursuant to part G of subchapter IV of this chapter;

(E)   Has been in existence for at least 2 years; and

(F)   Has at least 10 percent of the school’s revenues from sources that are not derived from funds provided under subchapter IV of this chapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42, as determined in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary.

(2)   Additional institutions. The term ‘‘proprietary institution of higher education’’ also includes a proprietary educational institution in any State that, in lieu of the requirement in paragraph (1) of section 1001 (a) of this title, admits as regular students persons who are beyond the age of compulsory school attendance in the State in which the institution is located.

(c)   Postsecondary vocational institution.

(1)   Principal criteria. For the purpose of this section, the term ‘‘postsecondary vocational institution’’ means a school that—

(A)  Provides an eligible program of training to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation;

(B)  Meets the requirements of paragraphs (1), (2), (4), and (5) of section 1001 (a) of this title; and

(C)  Has been in existence for at least 2 years.

(2)   Additional institutions. The term ‘‘postsecondary vocational institution’’ also includes an educational institution in any State that, in lieu of the requirement in paragraph (1) of section 1001 (a) of this title, admits as regular students persons who are beyond the age of compulsory school attendance in the State in which the institution is located.

 

Copyright 2008 Benton Harbor Housing Commission 721 Nate Wells sr Drive, Benton Harbor, MI 49022