Public Housing FAQ’s

What is Public Housing?

Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to highrise apartments for elderly families.


What is the difference between Section 8 and Public Housing?

Public Housing is when a Housing Authority owns and manages the property. Section 8 is property owned and managed by private landlords who lease their property with a Section 8 participant and the Housing Authority.


Who is Eligible for Public Housing?

Public housing is limited to low-income families and individuals. A housing authority determines 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 housing authority will conduct a background check to make sure you and your family will be good tenants. Housing authorities will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the project’s environment.

What are the income limits for Huntsville / Madison County?

Spreadsheet of FY 2015 Incomes


The income limits for public housing in Huntsville, AL / Madison County are different to the income limits in other areas of the country.  If you are moving to Huntsville from another part of the country, please review these income limits carefully.


Who should I contact regarding items in need of repair in my home?

Contact the maintenance department 256-536-2521 and report the issue.

Who do I contact if I have an emergency maintenance issue at night or on the weekends?

You must call (256) 536-2521.  These emergency situations will be addressed within twenty-four (24) hours.  Emergency maintenance staff will respond to emergency repair requests that are called in after the Management Office has closed on weekdays (8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.), or all day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.  Examples of emergency repairs are:  Gas leaks, toilet stoppages that cause serious floods, passengers stuck in elevators, electrical power failures, sewer back-ups, apartment door and door knobs not working, and heat and hot water issues.  Once the emergency is abated, the repairs will be performed by maintenance staff during regular business hours.


How is my rent determined?

Rent is based on a family’s ability to pay.  HHA verifies the income, assets, and allowable expenses of each family to determine the family’s anticipated annual income.  Families have the option of selecting an income-based rent (which is generally 30% of the family’s monthly adjusted income), or a flat rent (which is based on bedroom size).  Please contact your Property Manager for more information.

What is “EIV,” and why do I have to provide so much information?

EIV, or Enterprise Income Verification, is HUD’s system which HHA uses to verify a family’s Social Security, Federal SSI, Employment, and Unemployment income.  The information you provide is necessary to accurately determine the family’s appropriate rent, confirm whether you need a larger or smaller apartment, and determine whether the family is still eligible to live in public housing.

Why are there so many inspections?

HUD requires an annual inspection from Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC).  HHA requires an UPCS (Uniform Physical Condition Standards) inspection to make sure everything in the home is up to code.  HHA also requires housekeeping inspections at least once a year to check for cleanliness and possible infestation.

Why do I have to report changes to my household income or composition?

Changes to your household circumstances may affect the rent you pay or the type and/or bedroom size of housing you are eligible to lease.  You must report any changes in your household circumstances to the management office within fourteen (14) days of the change.  Failure to report changes timely may result in termination of your lease.

Are dogs or other pets allowed in Public Housing?

HHA allows certain pets at its developments.  Residents must comply with HHA’s Pet Policy, which include several requirements such as a pet deposit and proof of certain vaccinations.  See HHA’s Pet Policy or contact your Property Manager for more information.

What can I do if I suspect a crime is being committed in my building or development?

Call 911 if you feel there is a serious or immediate threat. If you do not believe that there is a serious or immediate threat to the safety and security of yourself or other residents, you can report it to your Property Manager in person or anonymously by calling after hours and leaving a message on the voicemail.  The Property Manager will keep the information confidential.  Or, you can report it directly to the Police Department yourself by calling your local police precinct.