Frequently asked questions
What are the hours of operation for Brookline Housing Authority's main office?
Our office at 90 Longwood Avenue is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. We are closed on all legal holidays and we close early before certain holidays (click here for full list of holidays and early close). Please also be advised that all parking spaces in the 90 Longwood Street lot are assigned to either residents or staff. Street parking has a two-hour limit and the Brookline police do ticket.
Are all waiting lists open?
The 4 & 5-bedroom Family and the Family Accessible Apartment waiting lists are open. Elderly/Disabled housing and Section 8 waiting lists remain open. Applications may be download from our "Download Forms" page for these waiting lists.
Our 1-, 2-, & 3- bedroom family waiting lists are closed until further notice.
How do I know if I am eligible to apply for housing and how do I apply?
The criteria for eligibility for BHA programs, as well as the ability to download applications, can be found on our
Family Housing and
Elderly/Disabled Housing and
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher pages. The BHA has the same application for State and Federal programs. The Section 8 program has its own application. Please call our Applications Department at 617-277-1885 if you have any questions.
Also, you should be aware that various affordable housing programs and housing authorities have different income and eligibility requirements.
How long is the wait for housing?
Unfortunately, the wait for housing may be lengthy. See
here for links to agencies that assist in the search for affordable housing. The information that these agencies offer is extremely helpful.
The more housing authorities, types of subsidy programs, or private-sector affordable housing waiting lists to which you submit applications, the more likely you will be to find affordable housing.
How is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program different from Public Housing?
The Brookline Housing Authority owns and manages Public Housing apartments and must follow the rules and regulations of HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) or DHCD (Department of Housing and Community Development).
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is a HUD regulated, federally-funded, rent-subsidy program in which applicants find their own housing in the private sector. The wait for a voucher may also be lengthy. The Section 8 Centralized Waiting List allows an applicant to apply to one authority and be eligible for vouchers from many different Massachusetts' cities and towns. If a city or town does not belong to the the Section 8 Centralized Waiting List and does have a Section 8 program, an application should be made to that authority.
To learn more about HCVs visit the
HUD website and visit our
Section 8 page.
Do all Massachusetts Housing Authorities participate in the Section 8 Centralized Waiting List?
No, you should be aware that not all Massachusetts housing authorities belong to the Section 8 Centralized Waiting List. Among those that do not belong are Boston and Cambridge. Each city or town that does not belong to the Section 8 Centralized Waiting List requires the applicant to obtain its own application and submit the completed application to its housing authority only. To find a list of those Authorities that do participate go to the Section 8 Centralized Waiting List web site. To find a list of all Authorities in Massachusetts visit the DHCD site.
Are there any selection preferences and priorities?
Yes, BHA has the following preferences and priorities (all preferences and priorities must be documented when submitting the application and again, in some instances, before an apartment is offered):
Resident Preference - The applicant lives or works in Brookline - utility bills in your name or pay stubs
Veteran Preference - Veteran, spouse, surviving spouse, dependent parent or child, or divorced spouse with a dependent child of the Veteran - Veteran's discharge or separation papers (form DD214)
Domestic Violence - provide court or social service agency documentation
Homelessness due to Natural Disaster or Public Action - appropriate documentation
How do I know if my application has been accepted?
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.
If your application is accepted, we will send you a receipt within 30 days with a Control Number. The receipt will inform you what program list(s) your name has been added to and how long we estimate the wait is before your name reaches the top of the list.
What happens when an apartment in one of our developments is available for you?
When your name has been reached on the waiting list and we have an apartment available for you, our Applications Department 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, one of our managers will make an appointment for you to view the apartment. We do not accept applications for specific developments.
If you accept the unit, the manager will calculate your rent amount, require you to sign a lease and other documents, assign a parking space (if applicable and if available), give you a Resident Handbook, and go over other important items and services with you. This usually takes a few hours.
What happens when a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher is available for you?
When your name has been reached on the waiting list and we have a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher available, our Applications Department 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 Leased Housing Department to attend a Briefing Session at which you will be given the voucher and informed as to what you must do to utilize the voucher. These informative sessions are two hours long.
How is your rent determined?
Programs differ as to how the rent is calculated because some programs allow deductions for medical, dental, etc. and others do not. However, all programs base your rent on a percentage of your monthly adjusted income. Our Federal public housing programs have a minimum rent of $50.00 and a maximum rent that is adjusted annually.
Your rent portion under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is figured on your adjusted income and the city's or town's rent payment standard. For more information you may go to the
HUD HCV fact sheet web page.
How long may I stay in public Housing or keep on a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher?
A resident is allowed to stay in public housing or retain a housing choice voucher without a time limit as long as he/she is not evicted for cause or for failure to pay rent and continues to meet the income eligibility requirements. The resident will not be required to move from public housing unless there is affordable housing available in the private market except when a violation of the terms of your lease or contract has occurred.
Once my application is accepted, can it be removed from the waiting lists?
Yes, applications may be removed from the waiting list(s) for the following reasons:
1. Failure to respond to an update or request for information;
2. An apartment offer is refused;
3. A Section 8 briefing session is not attended; or
4. Voluntary withdrawal (i.e. subsidized housing is found or there no longer is a need).
If you move, please notify Brookline Housing Authority's Application Department, 90 Longwood Avenue, Brookline, MA 02446 in writing. Make sure that you give us your Control Number or Social Security Number and your old and new addresses and phone numbers.
Is there parking for residents in all developments?
All our developments have parking lots, but there are not always parking spaces available. If there is no parking space available at your development, we try to accommodate the resident at another development until a space becomes available at the development in which he/she lives.