APPLICATIONS

Please visit our administrative office at 501 Chestnut Street to obtain an application for housing.



LOCAL PREFERENCE

Preference will be given to all applicants who have a legal residence in Cambria County. Applicants who are working or have been notified that they are hired to work in Cambria County are treated as residents of Cambria County. Verification of eligibility for Residency Preference will be documented at the time the family is selected from the waiting list.



VETERAN PREFERENCE

Preference will be given to all applicants who are an active duty United States servicemember or veteran. This preference shall extend to surviving housedhold members of a deceased servicemember or veteran who died of service-connected causes, with stipulations.



SCREENING PROCESS OF APPLICANTS FOR ADMISSION INTO
PUBLIC HOUSING AND THE HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM


The following steps are taken for each application during internal processing:

  • JHA Public Housing Trespass List is reviewed. An application is ineligible if any member is on our trespass list.
  • JHA system search is performed to determine if any members on the application have ever been participants of JHA housing programs in the past and if any outstanding debts exist with JHA.
  • HUD's national database is searched to determine if any individual or family members on the application are currently assisted by another housing authority, or if any members left any other housing authority under negative circumstances or with outstanding balances.
  • The National Sex Offender Registry is checked. A complete criminal background will still be obtained prior to making a listed sex offender ineligible, even though verified sex offenders are ineligible for life.
  • Criminal Records for every adult member on an application are checked by Johnstown Police Department. JPD will indicate if any member has a criminal record. Based on JPD's results, JHA will obtain complete records from either the PA State Repository, or if necessary, applicants may need to be fingerprinted in order for us to obtain records from the FBI.

    All records returned are reviewed to discover the nature of any charges on the record and when the incidents occurred. We analyze incidents within the past five years related to drug activity, violent crimes and crimes which affect the health and safety of other individuals to determine eligibility. However, criminal activity older than five years may also be considered based on the seriousness of the crime and the possible effects to the community.

    An individual made ineligible for criminal activity has a right to an informal hearing if they request. If requested, we consider any additional information the individual submits to determine if the decision will be reversed.

  • All income and asset sources for the applicant are contacted to determine income eligibility.
  • For Public Housing applicants only, we verify previous residences for the past 12 months and obtain a reference from the previous landlord or person with whom the applicant was living. In addition, we also contact any housing authority where the applicant received housing assistance within the past five years for a landlord reference.


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The above is a synopsis of the Johnstown Housing Authority's screening procedures. This information is taken from our Public Housing Admissions and Occupancy Policy and Housing Choice Voucher Program Administrative Plan.


Excerpts from the Admissions and Occupancy Policy and the Administrative Plan, and the governing federal regulations, follow.

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SCREENING FOR PUBLIC HOUSING

Screening for Eligibility

PHAs are authorized to obtain criminal conviction records from law enforcement agencies to screen applicants for admission to the public housing 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].

The PHA may not pass along to the applicant the costs of a criminal records check [24 CFR 960.204(d)].

PHA Policy

The PHA will perform criminal background checks through local law enforcement for all adult household members.

If the results of the criminal background check indicate there may have been past criminal activity, but the results are inconclusive, when necessary, the PHA 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 960.204(a)(4)].
PHA Policy

The PHA will check the National Sex Offender Public Website    www.nsopw.gov

Additionally, PHAs 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 [Notice PIH 2012-28].

If the PHA proposes to deny admission based on a criminal record or on lifetime sex offender registration information, the PHA 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)].

Obtaining Information from Drug Treatment Facilities [24 CFR 960.205]

HUD authorizes PHAs to request and obtain information from drug abuse treatment facilities concerning applicants. Specifically, the PHA may require each applicant to submit for all household members who are at least 18 years of age, and for each family head, spouse, or cohead regardless of age, one or more consent forms signed by such household members that requests any drug abuse treatment facility to inform the PHA whether the drug abuse treatment facility has reasonable cause to believe that the household member is currently engaging in illegal drug use.

Drug Abuse Treatment Facility means an entity that holds itself out as providing, and provides, diagnosis, treatment, or referral for treatment with respect to the illegal drug use, and is either an identified unit within a general care facility, or an entity other than a general medical care facility.

Currently engaging in illegal use of a drug means illegal use of a drug that occurred recently enough to justify a reasonable belief that there is continuing illegal drug use by a household member.

Any consent form used for the purpose of obtaining information from a drug abuse treatment facility to determine whether a household member is currently engaging in illegal drug use must expire automatically after the PHA has made a final decision to either approve or deny the admission of such person.

Any charges incurred by the PHA for information provided from a drug abuse treatment facility may not be passed on to the applicant or tenant.

If the PHA chooses to obtain such information from drug abuse treatment facilities, it must adopt and implement one of the two following policies:

Policy A: The PHA must submit a request for information to a drug abuse treatment facility for all families before they are admitted. The request must be submitted for each proposed household member who is at least 18 years of age, and for each family head, spouse, or cohead regardless of age.

Policy B: The PHA must submit a request for information only for certain household members, whose criminal record indicates prior arrests or conviction for any criminal activity that may be a basis for denial of admission or whose prior tenancy records indicate that the proposed household member engaged in destruction of property or violent activity against another person, or they interfered with the right of peaceful enjoyment of the premises of other residents.

If the PHA chooses to obtain such information, it must abide by the HUD requirements for records management and confidentiality as described in 24 CFR 960.205(f).

PHA Policy

The PHA will obtain information from drug abuse treatment facilities to determine whether any applicant family's household members are currently engaging in illegal drug activity only when the PHA has determined that the family will be denied admission based on a family member's drug-related criminal activity, and the family claims that the culpable family member has successfully completed a supervised drug or alcohol rehabilitation program.

Screening for Suitability as a Tenant [24 CFR 960.203(c)]

The PHA is responsible for the screening and selection of families to occupy public housing units. The PHA may consider all relevant information. Screening is important to public housing communities and program integrity, and to ensure that assisted housing is provided to those families that will adhere to lease obligations.

PHA Policy

The PHA will consider the family's history with respect to the following factors:
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
Behavior of all household members as related to the grounds for denial as detailed in Sections 3-III. B and C
Compliance with any other essential conditions of tenancy

Resources Used to Check Applicant Suitability [PH Occ GB, pp. 47-56]

PHAs have a variety of resources available to them for determination of the suitability of applicants. Generally, PHAs should reject applicants who have recent behavior that would warrant lease termination for a public housing resident.

PHA Policy

In order to determine the suitability of applicants the PHA will examine applicant history for the last 12 months. Such background checks will include:

Past Performance in Meeting Financial Obligations, Especially Rent
PHA and landlord references, gathering information about past performance meeting rental obligations such as rent payment record, late payment record, whether the PHA/landlord ever began or completed lease termination for non-payment, and whether utilities were ever disconnected in the unit. PHAs and landlords will be asked if they would rent to the applicant family again.
Electric company reference regarding whether the applicant can get utilities turned on in his/her name.
Applicants with no rental payment history will also be asked to provide the PHA with residency references.

Disturbances of Neighbors, Destruction of Property or Living or Housekeeping Habits at Prior Residences that May Adversely Affect Health, Safety, or Welfare of Other Tenants, or Cause Damage to the Unit or the Development
PHA and landlord references, gathering information on whether the applicant kept a unit clean, safe and sanitary; whether they violated health or safety codes; whether any damage was done by the applicant to a current or previous unit or the development, and, if so, how much the repair of the damage cost; whether the applicant's housekeeping caused insect or rodent infestation; and whether the neighbors complained about the applicant or whether the police were ever called because of disturbances.
Criminal record checks will be used to check for any evidence of disturbance of neighbors or destruction of property that might have resulted in arrest or conviction.
A residency reference will be requested to complete a verification of the applicant's ability to care for the unit, cause any disturbances, control of children, how long they resided with them and if they help with expenses.



SCREENING FOR HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM

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].

PHA Policy

The PHA will perform criminal background checks through local law enforcement for all adult household members.

If the results of the criminal background check indicate there may have been past criminal activity, but the results are inconclusive, when necessary, the PHA 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)].

PHA Policy

The PHA will check the National Sex Offender Public Website    www.nsopw.gov

Additionally, PHA's 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 [Notice PIH 2012- 28].

If the PHA proposes to deny assistance based on a criminal record or on lifetime sex offender registration information, the PHA 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.

PHA Policy

The PHA 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. The PHA 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 the PHA to provide prospective owners with the family's current and prior address (as shown in PHA records) and the name and address (if known) of the owner at the family's current and prior addresses. HUD permits the PHA 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.

PHA Policy

The PHA 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. The PHA will not provide any additional information to the owner, such as tenancy history or criminal history.