Public Housing FAQ's
WHAT IS PUBLIC HOUSING?
Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low and moderate income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered duplex and quad apartments to highrise apartments for elderly families. These units are owned and operated by the Jacksonville Housing Authority (JHA). Rent in these units is set for each family based on their anticipated annual adjusted income. There are approximately 2,378 families living in JHA’s Public Housing. Our units are located city wide. We have units on every side of town as well as in Baldwin and Jacksonville Beach.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
Public housing is limited to low-income families and individuals. JHA determines your eligibility based on: 1) annual gross income; 2) whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family; and 3) U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status.
If you are eligible, the JHA will check your background through a series of standard screening tests designed to protect the safety of our current residents and property. At minimum, we screen 1) criminal history in the past five years; 2) credit as it relates to your rental history, including evictions; and 3) references from past landlords. Based on this screening, JHA will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other residents or on the public housing environment.
The following income limits are in effect for the Jacksonville area. These limits are based on the number of family members who will be residing with you in public housing.
To qualify for the public housing program, your gross annual income cannot be higher than the amounts listed below.
WHERE IS THE APPLICATIONS OFFICE LOCATED?
The Public Housing Applications Department is on the 1st floor of the Jacksonville Housing Authority’s Administration building at 1300 N. Broad St., Jacksonville, FL 32202 near downtown.
HOW DO I APPLY?
If you are interested in applying for public housing, you must fill out a pre-application with the Public Housing Applications Office. With this, we will require a copy of a government (city, state, or federal) issued picture ID and social security card for every person on your application who is 18 years of age or older. This pre-application will place you on our waiting list. To contact this department, you may call the Public Housing Applications Office during normal business hours. Office hours are 8am – 5pm EST, M-F. Phone: 904-630-3877, TDD: 904-630-3872, FAX: 904-630-3818. We can be reached by mail or in person at the following address: Jacksonville Housing Authority Public Housing Applications Department, 1300 N. Broad St. 1st Floor, Jacksonville, FL, 32202
ONCE I APPLY, WHAT IS THE APPLICATIONS PROCESS?
The applications process follows the steps below (Note: this is only intended as a summary of the process and may not be all-inclusive):
1) Pre-application – the family fills out a pre-application in order to be placed on the waiting list.
2) Waiting List – the family is placed on the waiting list according to application date, local preference, bedroom size, and accessibility needs.
3) Selection – the rate of selection is based on vacancy rate. During times of high vacancies, families will be selected from the waiting list faster than during times of low vacancy rates. Families at the top of the waiting list will be selected in blocks to fill current vacancy needs. Once a family has been selected, they will be notified by mail. They will also be advised in their selection letter of the next steps they need to take in order to continue the application process. If a family fails to respond to the selection, their file will be closed.
4) Standard Screening -This process involves an in-depth examination of the family’s history in order to determine their suitability for housing within JHA. JHA will conduct local and national police check on household members to the extent allowed by Florida State law for record within the past five (5) years. Additional screening on credit as it relates to rental history (including evictions). Based on this screening, JHA will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other residents or on the public housing environment. These standard screening procedures are intended to protect the safety of our current residents and property.
5) Interview & Placement– Once an applicant passes the preliminary screening, they will receive an offer letter to 2 different communities in which they will choose. Once a selection is made, the file will be sent to the community they have accepted. At this point the community manager will schedule a time and date for interview for every family who passes standard screening, or who has been reinstated by the hearing officer. At interview, the staff member will then determine what documents will be needed such as: income verification; landlord references; marriage license; proof of citizenship; etc. If there are any documents required by the agency that an applicant does not bring with them at the time of interview, they will be given a reasonable amount of time to return with these documents. The staff member will give the applicant a check list of items needed with a deadline date to return their paperwork. Once all paperwork has been returned and verified, and the applicant is found eligible, the file will then be placed in a ready pool. Applicants will then be offered vacancies as they become available. Units are offered based on oldest application date and how long a person’s file has been complete.
WHAT IF I NEED TO MAKE CHANGES TO MY APPLICATION INFORMATION?
All changes to application information must be made in writing. If you have changed your mailing address, family members, income etc., you may fill out a change form at our office or send a letter by mail requesting the change (please include your social security number so we can easily identify your records). If we require additional documentation of this change, we will advise you of what is required.
WHEN WILL I BE NOTIFIED?
All official notification will be made by mail. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, JHA will mail a selection letter to you. This will advise you of the next step in the application process. If, at any time, it is determined that you are ineligible, JHA will mail a denial letter to you, telling you why you have been denied and advising you of how you may request an informal hearing.
HOW LONG IS THE WAITING LIST?
The length of the waiting list varies depending on the number of vacancies we have each month and how many people are applying for housing. The waiting list also varies depending on which bedroom size you qualify for. On average, you can expect to wait the following amount of time from the date you put in your application:
1-2 Bedrooms 8-48 months from the date of application
3 Bedrooms 12-18 months from date of application
4-5 Bedrooms 4-12 months from the date of application
Studio apartments in high-rises 12-18 months from the date of application
ARE THERE ANY LOCAL PREFERENCES?
There are several local preferences that can affect your placement on the waiting list:
1) Working Families – Two families from this category will be selected for every one family selected from the Non-Working Families category. Families whose head of household or spouse are employed at a bona fide job working at least 30 hours per week continuously for at least 6 months will qualify for this preference. Families whose head or spouse is at least 62 years old or who are documented to have a disability will also qualify for this preference. This preference will also be given to families whose head or spouse can verify, at time of application, participation in a job-training program or graduation from such a program that will lead to employment within 6 months of graduation; and who can verify participation in this program while on the waiting list.
2) Victims of Domestic Violence – Applicants who can verify that they are victims of domestic violence will receive a preference on the waiting list. Status can be verified by a police report, restraining order, or referral from a victim service shelter (such as Hubbard House etc.) Confidentiality of applicant status shall be maintained by the Agency in accordance with the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
3) Government Displacement – Applicants who can document that they have been displaced through government action will receive a preference on the waiting list. Documentation must be provided from the government agency causing the displacement.
4) Veterans – Any veteran who has served active duty in any branch of the United States military service. If the veteran is deceased before admittance to the program, the spouse of the veteran shall maintain their place and preference on the wait list. (Effective 10/01/09)
WHAT IF I NEED EMERGENCY HOUSING?
The Jacksonville Housing Authority cannot provide emergency housing. If you are in the Jacksonville area and are in need of emergency housing, you may want to contact the following agencies who are not affiliated with JHA.
New Life Inn 904-353-5565
Trinity Rescue Mission 904-355-1205
Salvation Army Lodge 904-356-8641
I.M. Sulzbacher Center 904-359-0457
Quigley House 904-284-0340
Hubbard House 904-354-6460
YWCA/Community Connections 904-727-6460
Catholic Charities Bureau 904-354-4846
Lutheran Social Services 904-632-0022
The Help Center 904-633-9383
Jewish Family/Community Services 904-448-1933
HOW IS BEDROOM SIZE DETERMINED?
Bedroom size is determined by the number, generation, and sex of the members of your family. If your family composition changes after you move in, you may request to be transferred to an apartment with the appropriate number of bedrooms for your current family size. In general, we will allow one bedroom for every 2 people of the same generation and sex. Infants under the age of 2 will not warrant an extra bedroom. Persons of different generations and/or of different sexes will not be considered to be housed in the same room. To give a few examples: a single parent with a 1 year old son, and a 5 year old daughter would be eligible for a 2 bedroom apartment. A single parent with a 3 year old daughter, a 6 year old son, and a 17 year old son would be eligible for a 3 bedroom apartment. A single parent with a 4 year old child and a grandparent in the household will be eligible for a 3 bedroom apartment. A couple with a 6 month old child will be eligible for a 2 bedroom apartment.
It is the policy of the Jacksonville Housing Authority to house only family members together in an apartment. To be a member of the same family, members must prove relationship either through blood, marriage to each other, or legal adoption. This will include foster children, pregnant females, persons seeking custody of a minor, fathers and mothers of the children of a single head of household, and single persons. For a parent to claim a child as a member of their family, the parent must be anticipated to have primary residential care of the child.
HOW IS RENT DETERMINED?
Your rent, which is referred to as the Total Tenant Payment (TTP) in this program, would be based on your family's anticipated gross annual income less deductions, if any. JHA will exclude from annual income the following allowances: $480 for each dependent; $400 for any family whose head or spouse is elderly or a person with a disability; and some medical deductions for families headed by an elderly person or a person with disabilities. Based on your application, JHA will determine if any other deductions should be subtracted from your annual income. Annual income is the anticipated total income from all sources received from the family head and spouse, and each additional member of the family 18 years of age or older.
The formula used in determining the TTP is the highest of the following, rounded to the nearest dollar:
(1) 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income. (Monthly Adjusted Income is annual income less deductions, and divided by 12 months);
(2) 10 percent of gross monthly income;
(3) or $50 minimum rent