What is public housing?
Public housing is low-rent housing built with government money. The federal and state governments provide money for public housing for low and moderate-income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The Worcester Housing Authority is in charge of public housing in Worcester.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible for public housing, your household income must be no greater than 80% of the area median income. For dollar amounts, see What are the income limits? on MassResources.org. Federal public housing has noncitizen eligibility rules. "Senior only" public housing has age requirements. For all public housing, your references, criminal background check, and credit history must show that will be a good tenant.
The MassResources.org Rental Assistance Eligibility Check is an easy way for you to find out if you are likely to qualify for public housing. After you answer a set of questions about your family, your living situation, your income, and your expenses, you will see the results of the eligibility check right away, on your computer screen.
What rent will I pay?
You will pay about 30% of your net monthly income for rent. The amount depends on whether you live in state or federal public housing and whether utilities are included in your rent.
How do I apply?
The Worcester Housing Authority (WHA) is in charge of public housing in Worcester. You can call the WHA at 508-635-3000 and ask them to send you an application, or you can pick one up at the WHA office at 40 Belmont Street, Worcester, MA 01605. The Worcester Housing Authority web site has public housing locations and more information.
There is a waiting list for most types of public housing, and it may take several years to get housing. The Worcester Housing Authority keeps separate waiting lists by bedroom size. If you are in one or more preference categories, your name will be placed above others on the waiting list.
For federal public housing, the Worcester Housing Authority gives preference to:
- People who live or work in Worcester
- Veterans, or families of deceased veterans if the death was service related
- People who are homeless, or living in substandard housing that puts their health or safety at risk
- People who are forced to move from their homes through no fault of their own (because of disaster, government action, action of the property owner, inaccessibility of the unit, domestic violence, hate crimes, or fear of reprisals)
For state public housing, the Worcester Housing Authority gives preference to:
- People who are homeless due to fire or natural disaster
- People who are homeless or will be made homeless due to public action or sanitary code violations
- People in emergency situations, whose life or safety is threatened by a lack of suitable housing, such as victims of domestic abuse or those with medical emergencies
- Veterans, or families of deceased veterans whose death was service-related
- Local residents
- People who are already getting certain types of housing assistance who must move
What happens when I get housing?
You and the Worcester Housing Authority must sign a lease. The lease will list the rent you must pay, the names of the people who can live in your apartment, how long the lease will last, which utilities you must pay (if any), the rules you must follow, and the housing authority's responsibilities. The housing authority will check your income and household size and recalculate your rent each year. Once you get public housing, you have the right to stay in it as long as you meet eligibility requirements, pay your rent, and follow the rules.
More information about Public Housing is on our statewide web site, MassResources.org. When you click on the link below, you will go to MassResources.org. Click "Back" on your browser to return to WorcesterResources.org.