Browse Frequently Asked Questions in the sections below.

General Questions

General Questions

How can I receive immediate housing?

The Bloomington Housing Authority does not provide immediate emergency housing. Call the Indiana 2-1-1 hotline or view the City’s Resource Directory to learn about emergency shelter options in the greater Bloomington community.

How can I get housing?

When a waitlist is open, interested applicant may apply. To check the status of program waitlists, click here.

How can residents access services that help families?

Residents can learn more about services and programs available by visiting the Resident Services webpage or by contacting the Step Up program coordinator, Tara Todd, at 812-339-3491 x 115 or ttodd@blha.net.

Public Housing Questions

Public Housing

How long can I stay in public housing?

In general, you may stay in public housing as long as you comply with the lease.

If, at reexamination your family’s income is sufficient to obtain housing on the private market, the BHA may determine whether your family should stay in public housing. You will not be required to move unless there is affordable housing available for you on the private market.

How do I request repairs?

You may request a work order at any time by calling 339-3491 Ex. 121.

What is an emergency work order?

Examples of emergency work orders are: Broken pipes, refrigerator not working, furnace not working in the winter, or any health or safety situations.

When will my repairs be done?

Emergency work orders will be completed within 24 hours; Regular work orders will be completed in the order that they were received.

Will I be charged for repairs?

Tenant will only be charged if damages are due to resident neglect or abuse.

What do I do about my trash?

BHA provides dumpsters close to all housing units at no additional charge. However, any garbage or debris found in your yard or on your porch / patio must be removed by the tenant, or the BHA will remove the items and the tenant will be charged a fee. See Maintenance Policy under forms for more information.

Can I open my windows or doors?

Yes, but certain rules apply. If the furnace or air conditioner is on all windows and doors must be closed.

Can I have a pet?

See the Pet Policy. For additional questions, contact the Public Housing Property Manager at 339-3791 ext. 112.

Do I pay utilities if I live in one of the BHA properties?

Most utilities are included in the rent paid if you reside in one of the BHA properties. You will be required to pay a small monthly fee if you have a washer and dryer, deep freeze, or dishwasher, or use air conditioning in the summer.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A change in a landlord’s rules, policies, practices, or services that is needed to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy an apartment. If you need a reasonable accommodation please contact your Property Manager.

Can I have a garden?

See the Yard Policy. For additional questions, contact the Public Housing Property Manager at 339-3791 ext. 112.11

Can I add someone to my lease?

Yes. You must complete an addition to lease form as well as a change form. You may obtain copies at the Housing Authority or contact your Property Manager. If the person you are adding to your lease is over 18, you must make an appointment. You will need to provide copies of the person’s social security card and birth certificate. Once the appropriate forms are received, the housing authority will conduct criminal background check and landlord screenings. As a reminder it is a violation of your lease to allow someone who is not on your lease to live with you.

May I have visitors?

Yes. You may have visitors as long as those visitors do not stay more than 14 days. You may get permission from the property manager to extend that time, put only under special circumstances. Your lease has further information regarding this issue. If you need further information about visitors please contact the Property Manager.

Why am I being charged for cleaning my yard?

To maintain the complex in a decent and enjoyable environment the grounds are picked up on a daily basis. If you have violated the yard policy and unapproved items are in your yard /porch you will be accessed a fee for the clean-up of those items. It is necessary to charge residents who violate this policy in order to maintain our complex in an enjoyable environment.

What if I cannot pay my rent?

Rent payments are due by the 5th of every month. If you are not able to pay your rent you may contact community agencies that may be able to assist you. However, if your rent is not kept current, the Housing Authority is required to collect your rent and if it is not paid an eviction may be filed. If you have questions about your rent payments please contact your Property Manager.

Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Questions

Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8)

How can I find out my placement on the waiting list?

Please click here to be directed to the online waiting list check.

How do I request an extension on my voucher?

Requests need to be submitted in writing which includes fax, email, etc.  This statement must be submitted before your voucher expires.  Calling to make a request for an extension will not be accepted.

When do I give my landlord the Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA)?

You will need to give the landlord your RFTA when you are certain that this is the unit/location for you and after they have approved you to utilize this unit.

Did my unit pass inspection?

Your landlord will know whether or not your unit passed inspection.  Please contact your landlord for inspection results.

Can I sign my lease now?

If your unit has passed inspection, you will need to get in contact with your landlord to sign your lease.  If your unit has not passed inspection, it is recommended that you do not sign a lease with the landlord until the unit passes inspection.  If the unit fails an inspection for a second time, the BHA will not assist the unit and you may need to seek other options.

How soon will I know my rent amount?

Your case manager will not know the rent amount until after the unit passes inspection and up to 10 days thereafter.

If I am currently residing in the unit that I want to receive assistance on, how will I know when the inspection for my unit is scheduled?

It is up to your landlord to notify you of the scheduled inspection.  Please ensure the inspector can access all outlets and windows, and move any furniture which is blocking outlets or windows.

If I am coming in for an appointment, do I still need to sign in?

Yes, please sign in any time you enter the BHA for any reason.

I have called my case manager multiple times and have not yet received a response. What should I do?

Multiple calls will delay the move-in process as case managers are currently assisting over 300 families each.  Case managers have a 24 business hour response time allotment and emailing your case manager will typically result in a quicker response time.

If I qualify for a one-bedroom unit, but there is a two-bedroom unit available within the one-bedroom payment standard, will I qualify for the two-bedroom unit?

Yes, if the two-bedroom unit is within the one-bedroom payment standard (utilities plus rent), you may qualify for the two-bedroom unit.  However, if after one year of residing in the unit, the landlord chooses to request a rent increase of up to the two-bedroom payment standard, you will be responsible for the amount that exceeds the one-bedroom payment standard.

If I am currently residing in a subsidized unit (e.g. Henderson Court or Woodbridge), how do I go about moving from one HUD-assisted housing program to another?

You must give your landlord a notice as stated in your lease agreement.  Move-ins for new admissions to HCV Program are done the 1st or the 15th of the month.  You must turn your keys in at least one day prior to your Section 8 move-in date.  Failure to give your notice and turn in your keys prior to this date will result in delayed assistance.

Is the Waiting List Open?

For current information on all HCV waiting lists, please navigate to the Waiting List by clicking here.

How do I report changes in family income and/or family composition?

To report any changes, increase or decrease, you must complete an interim change form that is available online by clicking here.

You may also obtain and complete the interim change form at the front desk of the BHA main office.  Changes of any sort must be reported in writing within ten calendar days of the occurrence.  If you begin working, an interim change form must be completed within ten calendar days from the hire date.  Calling to report a change will not be accepted.

How can I ensure my dwelling unit passes inspection?

Click here to be directed to the HQS Inspection Guidelines.

I would like to move. What do I need to do?

You will first need to schedule an appointment with your HCV Case Manager to be certified to move. A staff directory with contact information can be found here. Your case manager will assist you with providing your current landlord the required notice to vacate. Please note you may be ineligible to move with continued assistance if you are within your initial 12 month lease term, if you owe money to the BHA, or if BHA has filed for termination of your assistance.

Can I use my voucher assistance in a different city? How about a different state?

Yes, your voucher assistance is portable and can be used anywhere within the United States served by a Public Housing Authority. For more information regarding the portability process, please navigate to the Portability section by clicking here.

I have received a notice of termination of my assistance. What can I do?

You will need to request an appeal in writing within 10 days from the date of your termination notice. The written appeal request must be submitted to BHA within the 10-day window. Once BHA has received your written request for an appeal, a hearing will be scheduled.

Family Self-Sufficiency Program Questions

Family Self-Sufficiency Program

What is the purpose of the Family Self-Sufficiency Program?

The purpose of this program is to connect our clients with public and private employment, social and economic resources to affect positive changes in their lives, leading to independence from all forms of public assistance. FSS is ultimately an employment focused program.

Who can participate?

To participate in the FSS Program, the head of the household must be a tenant of the Housing Choice Voucher Program, be 18 years of age or older, be committed to entering a job training and/or educational program, be currently in “good standing” with the BHA and be willing to enter into a FSS Contract of Participation. Other members of the household may participate and receive social services as well.

What can FSS do for me?

FSS can help families become self-sufficient by helping you to create an Individual Training and Services Plan (ITSP) that will encourage progress towards your educational and career goals. The BHA’s FSS Coordinators will work with each family to identify the barriers they may have encountered in becoming self-sufficient and determine possible solutions.

Are there any benefits and incentives of being a participant in the FSS program?

Yes! If the family’s earned income increases, the BHA compares the family rent to the baseline rent when a Contract of Participation (COP) is signed, and in most cases the difference is escrowed. Upon the successful completion of the FSS program, the family will be given a check for the amount in their escrow account which they can spend towards whatever they choose. Many families have spent their escrow funds towards paying off credit card debt, school loans, purchase of a car or down payment for a home.

What are my responsibilities as an FSS participant?

When you first decide to participate in the program, you will have an appointment with a FSS program coordinator. In that appointment, you will be helped in identifying your needs, goals and identifying obstacles. Your coordinator will network with other agencies to help you overcome those obstacles and to achieve your goals. You will also be signing an Individual Training and Services Plan (ITSP) and be expected to seek and maintain employment.

What is an Individual Training and Services Plan (ITSP)?

An ITSP is a specific plan designed to assist you with identifying your strengths, goals, challenges, needs and abilities. Once identified, together we have a realistic idea of what it is going to take and possibly how long it will take to accomplish the goals to ensure your long and short-term success. The following criteria are necessary to create an ITSP:

  • An ITSP is essential and must coincide with your Contract of Participation (COP).
  • Other adult family members can choose to have an ITSP. Available resources and services will be noted.
  • Your ITSP it will have short and long term goals. O
  • One final goal is always obtaining and maintaining suitable employment. Another final goal is to be free from all TANF (welfare) 12 months before your COP expires (typically a COP is for five years).
What is a Contract of Participation (COP)?

The Contract of Participation is a signed agreement between the BHA and the participant acknowledging the client’s desire and willingness to work with the FSS coordinator to achieve self-sufficiency over a 5 year period of time.

What is considered earned income?

Earned income includes income from wages and salaries, overtime pay, commission, tips, bonuses, military pay, self-employment and other compensations for personal services. Only adult household member (over 18 years of age) income counts towards earned income.

What is an escrow account?

An escrow account is a special savings account created specifically and only for FSS participants as an incentive reward for attaining self-sufficiency. As a Section 8 recipient and FSS participant, you are eligible to escrow a percentage of any increase in your earned income since your Contract of Participation date. If the families earned income increases, the BHA compares the family rent to the baseline rent, and in most cases, is escrowed.

What happens if I lose my job?

Your escrow stops until you find another job and earn income. It will remain “frozen” until then.

Does everyone in FSS get a savings account?

No. If there is no increase in earned income, then there will be no savings account.

How do I get this money and when?

Upon graduation from the FSS program, you will have a check issued to you in the amount you have escrowed since you began your contract plus interest.

What happens to the escrow if I quit FSS or don’t complete the contract?

Remember, this isn’t your money until you complete the program. If you quit or don’t complete the program, the money is forfeited and lost to you and your family.

Can the escrow help me pay a debt that I have?

Yes, upon graduation, the escrow can be used for anything you like, including paying debts, buying a home or car and paying school loans. If you owe money to the housing authority however, we will automatically deduct the amount owed from your escrow before giving it to you.

What is meant by seeking and maintaining employment?

It simply means that the head of the Section 8 household is obligated to find and continue to be gainfully employed. If employment is not met, then it is up to the head of the household to prove that they have made consistent attempts at employment. We do this through written and verbal notice. Employment is based upon each individual’s applicable circumstances and is defined by those circumstances. It is acceptable to work part-time and go to school part-time, or even go to school full-time. Participants must obtain employment before their contract expires.