These FAQs are specifically for Residents of Whittier Street Apartments.
Will I have to move?
Yes. The planned redevelopment of Whittier Street calls for the demolition of the Whittier Street site, so that new units can be constructed. Every Whittier Street household will need to move, at least temporarily, from their apartment to accommodate the redevelopment program.
When will I have to relocate?
If we receive a Choice Neighborhoods grant from HUD, which is expected to be in September 2015, you will receive a General Information Notice within a couple of weeks of that notification. This notice will mark the official start of the Relocation Program. BHA has hired Housing Opportunities Unlimited (HOU), a relocation contractor, to counsel residents and ask residents to state their relocation preferences. Once your preference is noted, BHA and its relocation advisors will work with you to find a safe, decent, affordable unit. Once an appropriate unit is found, you will receive a 90-day notice letting you know it is time to move. No one needs to or should move until these relocation notices are received.
What if I move now on my own?
Do not move before receiving the General Information Notice or before receiving relocation counseling. If you do, you will not be eligible for relocation assistance. Again, the General Information Notice will be mailed to you at the start of the relocation counseling program. Do not move before you receive the General Information Notice or before you receive relocation counseling assistance.
Who is eligible for relocation benefits and assistance?
Households living at Whittier Street are eligible for relocation benefits and assistance, so long as they remain tenants. Residents who voluntarily leave Whittier Street before the BHA and its relocation contractor notify them give up their rights to relocation assistance, as well as the right to return to Whittier Street. Only legal occupants of the unit will be entitled to relocation benefits. Make certain that all members of your household have been through the screening process and officially added to your lease. In addition, benefits may be pro-rated if one or more members of the household are ineligible non-citizens. The relocation staff will work with each household to determine the precise level of benefits to which you are entitled.
What type of relocation choices will be available?
BHA is working out the details of the Whittier Street relocation plan. However, if we receive a Choice Neighborhoods grant, the following resources will be available for Whittier Street relocation. These resources are:
- Using a Section 8 voucher to rent an apartment in Boston or elsewhere
- Moving to another BHA public housing community
- Receiving down payment assistance toward the purchase of a home
What if I am the head of household and my adult child does not want to move with me – can we split?
If BHA receives the requested Section 8 relocation vouchers, adult household members, officially recognized as part of the lease, may split from the original household. The original head of household may choose any of the above mentioned relocation options. All other adults wishing to split will be offered an opportunity to apply for a permanent Section 8 voucher. This is the only option available to the other adults that wish to split from the head of household. The head of household and the split household(s) will receive a proportional share of the moving assistance that would have been afforded the entire original household had they not split. In addition, the original head of household will be eligible for security deposit assistance, if appropriate, and the right to return to the revitalized Whittier Street if they remain in Good Standing. However, split households will neither be entitled to security deposit assistance nor be eligible to return to Whittier Street.
What moving assistance am I entitled to?
Families will be offered three moving assistance options. Households may elect to:
- Option 1: Use the services of a professional moving company contracted by the BHA. This option also includes packing materials, utility reconnection fee reimbursement and a dislocation allowance in the amount of $50.
- Option 2: Undertake the move on your own and be reimbursed for all documented reasonable out of pocket expenses. Examples of reasonable out of pocket expenses including packing and moving costs, up to 12 months of storage costs, utility reconnection fees, etc.
- Option 3: Take a lump sum payment in lieu of being reimbursed for out of pocket expenses. Lump sum payments include the dislocation allowance and are based upon unit size.
This assistance will be available to all households as they relocate off-site, whether temporarily or permanently. It will also be offered to those who move back to Whittier Street from their temporary location.
How do I select my relocation option?
If we receive a Choice Neighborhoods grant, BHA will hire HOU to provide relocation counseling assistance to all households at Whittier Street. These relocation counselors will meet with each household to discuss the relocation options and the benefits of each type of relocation. Based on that information, each resident will have to state his or her permanent and/or temporary relocation preferences.
How much rent will I have to pay for my relocation unit?
All of the rental relocation options, including Section 8 and a unit at another BHA development, are affordable. Residents will pay the same amount they do now, no more than 30% of their income.
Who is eligible to return to Whittier Street after redevelopment?
In collaboration with the Whittier Street task force leadership, the Boston Housing Authority will establish re-occupancy criteria as part of the relocation plan. At a minimum, residents who wish to return to the redeveloped Whittier Street must be in Good Standing. A resident is deemed to be in Good Standing if she/he is in compliance with his/her relocation unit lease and:
- If a resident owes rent for the relocation unit or the unit he/she was relocated from, such resident has entered into an agreement to pay the back rent that is owed and is not in default under the terms of such agreement.
- There are no eviction actions currently pending against the resident, including Private Conferences for lease violations.
- The resident does not have a history of significant or repeated lease violations.
- The resident is not subject to a court ordered eviction.
- If additional re-occupancy criteria are established, you will receive written notification.
While households are relocated, HOU will check in with Whittier families regularly to help them remain in Good Standing.
Will resident support services be available to families who relocate either temporarily or permanently?
If the BHA receives a Choice Neighborhoods award, BHA has contracted with Crittenton Women’s Union to provide support services to all the current residents of the Whittier Street development. Residents will continue to have access to case management, supportive services, and employment opportunities, even as they relocate.