Preferences for admission
1. Witness protection
2. Natural disaster (public housing resident)
3. Natural disaster (nonpublic housing resident)
4. Displaced by government action
5. Working full time
6. Working part time
7. CHA job training program
8. Chronically homeless
9. Standard applicant
Preferences for admission
(All No. 1s receive equal preferential treatment)
1. Involuntary displacement (disaster or government action)
1. Victims of domestic violence
1. Households that contribute to meeting income goals
1. Victims of hate crimes (considered involuntary displacement)
2. High rent burden (rent is 50 percent of income)
3. Working families and those unable to work because of age or disability.
3. Those enrolled in educational, training or upward mobility programs.
You stand a better chance of getting public housing if you have a job than if you are unemployed and homeless.
The Chattanooga Housing Authority recently changed its policy and has given priority to full-time working residents over people who are chronically homeless.
“When you moved in public housing, it was to give you a chance to get a step up, but the idea wasn’t to stay there. You work to get out,” said Betty Ruth Robinson, resident representative on the authority’s board of commissioners and one of several board members who approved the authority’s five-year plan.
While the 2008 plan stated a preference for admission to working residents, under the 2009 plan, those working full time or part time now take precedent over those who are chronically homeless, housing officials said.
Housing officials update their five-year plan each year.
“We encourage our residents, those who are able to work, to find training programs and work programs to gain self-sufficiency,” said Bill Lord, the housing authority’s chief information officer. “The intent is to move up and out of public housing into the housing spectrum.”
Housing officials say they use third-party verification to make sure residents who say they are working actually are employed.
The new plan is intended to encourage residents to help themselves as much as possible, said Eddie Holmes, chairman of the housing authority’s board.
“I hope it offers an incentive for those who are not working to move toward self-sufficiency,” Mr. Holmes said.
Mr. Holmes said working residents also are preferred because they are able to provide some funding to the housing authority’s budget. Of the 2,834 public housing heads of households, about 400 of them are minimum renters, records show.
“With the cuts in funding, we need support from tenants,” Mr. Holmes said. “That’s long overdue.”
The housing authority has four housing development sites — Oaks at Camden, Villages at Alton Park, Woodside Apartments, Greenwood Terrace — where residents are required to have a job, a trend known as work force housing.
It was about a year ago when authority officials hosted the grand opening for the Oaks at Camden, the housing authority’s newest development and part of a national public housing trend that requires residents to have jobs. All 57 units at the Oaks — where apartments are more luxurious than traditional public housing — are work force housing. The only exceptions are people who are disabled or age 62 or older, officials said.
Since the opening of the Villages at Alton Park in 2005, work force housing units account for more than 10 percent of housing units in the city, housing authority officials said.
Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...