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About the BHA

Listed below are some frequently asked questions. If you need more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 508-563-7485 or email us at

You may download an application from our website, call our office at 508-563-7485 to have an application mailed to you or stop by to pick one up. If you choose to pick one up and need to speak with staff, please call ahead to schedule an appointment. Applications and supporting documents must be completely filled out and returned to the office.

Public Housing is intended to provide decent, safe and affordable rental housing for eligible low income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. In its broadest definition public housing includes apartments owned and managed by public housing authorities and subsidized apartments privately owned and managed. Bourne Housing owns and manages state and federal subsidized housing.

For all programs there are income limits (see the program/property page for specifics). In addition, all applicants must pass CORI, credit, sex offender, and reference checks.

To be eligible to live in state or federally aided public housing, a household must typically earn no more than 80% of the area median income. To be eligible for the Federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, a household must typically earn no more than 50% of the median family income.

For our public housing units and our MRVP and Housing Choice Voucher Program, local preference is given to Bourne “residents”.

Any applicant domiciled in Bourne on the date of the application, the date of the screening and the date of the final certification. (Domiciled shall mean that the applicant’s permanent address at the time of the application, screening and final certification, is in Bourne). This definition excludes temporary residence in Bourne or temporary residence with relatives or friends in Bourne at the time of the application. The definition includes any person employed or about to be employed in Bourne on the date of the application and the date of final certification. This shall include self-employed persons who can demonstrate specific arrangements to carry out their employment activity in Bourne. There is no duration requirement for permanent residence.

Veteran shall mean (1) any person (a) whose last discharge or release from his/her wartime service as defined herein, was under honorable conditions and who (b) served in the army, navy, marine corps, coast guard, or air force of the United States, or on full time national guard duty for not less than 90 days active service, at least 1 day of which was for wartime service; provided, however, that any person who so served in wartime and was awarded a service-connected disability or a Purple Heart, or who died in such service under conditions other than dishonorable, shall be deemed to be a veteran notwithstanding his/her failure to complete 90 days of active service; (2) a member of the American Merchant Marine who served in armed conflict between December 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946, and who has received honorable discharges from the United States Coast Guard, Army, or Navy; (3) any person (a) whose last discharge from active service was under honorable conditions, and who (b) served in the army, navy, marine corps, coast guard, or air force of the United States for not less than 180 days active service; provided, however, that any person who so served and was awarded a service-connected disability or who died in such service under conditions other than dishonorable, shall be deemed to be a veteran notwithstanding his failure to complete 180 days of active service.

In state housing only, you may apply for veteran preference if you are a veteran, the spouse, surviving spouse, dependent parent or child, or divorced spouse with a dependent child of a veteran.

Massachusetts lawmakers made recent changes to state law regarding veterans in state-aided public housing in the areas of tenant selection and certain rent calculations. The new law makes the same veteran’s preference that is currently used in the state public family housing program available to applicants for state public elderly/handicapped housing program. This means that applicants for state elderly/handicapped housing will no longer have to reside in the community in order to receive a veteran’s preference in tenant selection.

A household whose head or spouse or sole member is at least 62 years of age for federal-aided elderly housing at Roland Phinney Place and a household whose head or spouse or sole member is at least 60 years of age for state-aided elderly housing at Continental Apartments.

For purposes of admission to public housing (24CFR 912.2) a person who is under a disability as defined by Section 223 of the Social Security Act or in 42 U.S Code Section 6001(5). In general, disability refers to limitation of the ability to work or presence of certain neurological conditions. (See also Handicapped M.G.L c121B)

Two or more persons sharing residency whose income and resources are available to meet the family’s needs and who are related by blood, marriage, or operation of law, or who have otherwise evidenced a stable interdependent relationship.

As a general rule, units will be assigned to applicants so that no less than 1 and no more than 2 persons will occupy a bedroom. Husbands and wives are expected to share a bedroom. Children of the same sex are expected to share a bedroom, as are children of the opposite sex under the age of 8. No assignments of units will be made which require use of living room for sleeping.

The wait to get housing depends on many variables (regulations, length of waitlist, preference etc.) It varies by program. Individual Housing Authorities maintain their own waitlists for public housing. The more housing authorities, subsidized programs, and affordable housing wait lists to which you submit applications, the more likely you will find affordable housing. The elderly, family, and disabled housing programs are estimated at 2 – 3 years. The Section 8 waitlist is about 10 – 12 years, and the MRVP waitlist is about 2 – 3 years.

The rent that a resident or family pays in public housing is based on household income and whether the costs of utilities are included or not. Residents of elderly/disabled BHA developments pay 30% of adjusted income which includes utilities. Residents of BHA family developments pay 27% of their adjusted income and pay all utilities.

No. Due to our heavy workload and call volume, BHA staff cannot accept requests either by phone or in person regarding position on the Public Housing or Section 8 waitlists. You will be contacted by mail when your application is nearing the top of the waitlist. Position on a waitlist may change based on emergency cases and preferences. Any change in family composition, address, or phone number should be reported immediately. It is critical that the housing authority has current information on all applicants.

Leased housing or rental voucher programs (often times referred to as Section 8 or MRVP) use vouchers to subsidize the family’s rent paid to private landlords. This allows eligible low income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities the opportunity to afford private rental apartments. The BHA receives funding from the Massachusetts Dept of Housing and Community Development for the MRVP Program which regulates the eligibility and other requirements of the specific housing. The BHA receives funding from the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) for the Section 8 program.

Please review the check list in the “Documents” area to see what applies to your needs.

The application process begins with completing an application with the housing authority. The application must be filled out and submitted to the BHA. A representative from the Authority will process your application. If you schedule an appointment to submit the application in person BHA staff will describe to you each housing program and its requirements. Certain documents and information are required as part of the application process.

We will review all information provided in your application for public housing or for voucher assistance. A decision on your eligibility will be made. If you are eligible, we will send you written confirmation indicating that you have been placed on the waiting list. Once your name is reached on the list, you will be contacted. If you are ineligible, we will send you a written notification indicating the reason. You may request an informal hearing to discuss the decision.

A client who has accepted an apartment offered in a public housing program (apartments owned and managed by the housing authority) will sign a lease with the housing authority.  We will review the lease with the client to make certain the tenant and BHA responsibilities are understood. In the leased Housing Voucher Program, a lease for the unit will be signed by both the client and the private landlord.

No. Please be aware that not all Massachusetts housing authorities belong to the Section 8 centralized list. Among those that do not belong are Boston and Cambridge. Each city or town that does not belong to the list requires its own application at each housing authority. To find a list of those Authorities that do not participate go to the section 8 centralized waitlist at web site. To find a list of Massachusetts housing authorities visit the DHCD website.

If your application is not complete or if we need more documentation, depending on the circumstances we will either return your application or request that you provide additional documentation.

When your name has been reached on the waiting list and we have an apartment available for you the housing administrator will contact you and ask you for updated documentation so that we may confirm that you are still eligible for the program. We will then do credit, CORI and landlord reference checks.  Should you still qualify one of our administrators will make an appointment for you to view the unit. You will have 7 days to accept/reject the unit.

When your name has been reached on the waiting list and we have a Section 8 Housing Voucher available to be given out our Section 8 Administrator will contact you and ask you for updated documentation so that we may confirm that you are still eligible for the program. We will then do credit, CORI and landlord reference checks.
If you still qualify, you will be contacted by our Section 8 Administrator to attend a briefing session at which point you will be given the voucher and informed as to what you must do to utilize the vouchers.
Please note: the waitlist for a Section 8 Voucher is generally 10+ years.

Programs differ as to how the rent is calculated because some programs allow deductions for medical, dental etc. and others do not. However, for all programs your rent is based on a percentage of your monthly adjusted income.
Your rent portion under the Section 8 program is figured on your adjusted income and the city or town’s rent payment standard. For more information you may go to the HUD HCV fact sheet web page.

No. All BHA properties are smoke free. There is no smoking in the units, common areas, parking lots or anywhere on the property. Residents are responsible for informing their guests that the entire community is smoke free.

All of our developments have parking lots, but there are not always parking spaces available. Please be advised that most parking spaces at 871 Shore Rd are assigned to residents. Please park in the visitor parking which is located to the left of the BHA offices.

Our office at 871 Shore Rd, Pocasset is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday. We are closed on all legal holidays and we may close early before certain holidays. The office may be closed during severe weather. Please call ahead to schedule an appointment so that we may better serve you.

Tenants may have guests provided that the tenant shall be responsible for the conduct of any guest while on BHA property. Guests at Continental Apartments, Waterhouse Apartments, and Windswept Acres may stay overnight for no more than twenty-one (21) nights within a 12 month period without the BHA’s written approval. Guests at Roland Phinney Place may stay overnight for no more than 14 days in a calendar year. Guests may only park in visitor parking and may not smoke anywhere on the property.

smoke free housingAll Bourne Housing Authority properties are smoke free.
There is no smoking allowed on the premises, including outdoor spaces and parking lots.