Public Housing

There are 4 basic qualifications for living in Public Housing as follows:

  1. The applicant must qualify as a family. A family may be a single person or a group of persons. A group of persons is defined as two or more persons who can demonstrate a history of living together and who’s income and resources are available to meet the family’s needs. The term “family” also includes, but is not limited to, a family with or without children, an elderly family, a disabled family, a displaced family, the remaining member of a tenant family, a single person who is not elderly, displaced, or a person with disabilities.
  2. Family income may not exceed the amounts indicated by family size on the Income Limits Chart at the time of admission. The percentage represents the relationship to median income for the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), and are updated yearly. The chart is effective December 12th, 2011 and typically is good for a year.
  3. A family who has previously participated in any HUD program must have cleared or made arrangements to clear any outstanding debts to those programs. Current and previous participation is HUD assisted housing by the family is checked against a national database.
  4. All applicants must submit 2 character references, the name of their landlord(s) for references, proof of income, birth certificates and Social Security cards. Applicants sign a release of information and are screened for violent, drug-related or other serious criminal activity or placement on the national sexual offender registry. Credit histories are checked through the Credit Bureau. This background check is intended to protect the quality of life common to our residents and other citizens of Oak Ridge. It must be noted that ORHA does not eliminate applicants with less than a perfect credit check or rental history, but performs the above checks to identify families who are chronic non-payers of affordable rent and/or have a history of violent criminal or drug activity or abuse of property.

*Federal law mandates Income Targeting that requires ORHA to execute a minimum of 40% of leases to families whose income does not exceed 30% of median income in the Public Housing Program. Currently 70% of families assisted by ORHA’s Public Housing Program are under 30% of median income.

The Oak Ridge Housing Authority has established Preferences for Public Housing admissions secondary to Income Targeting. Within each preference the oldest application is processed first. Families will be offered assistance in the following order:

  1. Families displaced from the Voucher Program due to reductions in federal funding.
  2. Military Veterans, elderly, disabled, displaced and Working Families.*
  3. All other eligible applicants based on date and time of application

*All of the above are weighted equally and an eligible applicant may have only 1 preference and assistance is offered based on type of unit required and time and date of application. (Oldest first).