Frequently Asked Questions

Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low and moderate income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered duplex and quad apartments to high-rise apartments.  These units are owned and operated by the Sanford Housing Authority (SHA).  Rent in these units is set for each family based on their anticipated annual adjusted income. There are approximately 448 families living in SHA’s Public Housing.  Our units are located city wide.

Public housing is limited to low-income families and individuals. SHA determines your eligibility based on: 1) annual gross income; 2) whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family; and 3) U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status.

If you are eligible, the SHA will check your background through a series of standard screening tests designed to protect the safety of our current residents and property.  At minimum, we screen 1) criminal history in the past five years; 2) credit as it relates to your rental history, including evictions; and 3) references from past landlords. Based on this screening, SHA will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other residents or on the public housing environment.

The following income limits are in effect for the Sanford area.  These limits are based on the number of family members who will be residing with you in public housing.

To qualify for the public housing program, your gross annual income cannot be higher than the amounts listed below.

Family Members1
Maximum Income (Fiscal Year 2018)$32,500

The Public Housing Applications can be picked up at any of the communities or at Sanford Housing Authority’s Administration building located at 317 Chatham St. near downtown.

If you are interested in applying for public housing, you must fill out a pre-application. With this, we will require a copy of a government (city, state, or federal) issued picture ID and social security card for every person on your application who is 18 years of age or older. This pre-application will place you on our waiting list. To contact us, you may call the Housing Authority’s Office during normal business hours. Office hours are 8am – 6:30pm EST, M-Th.  Phone: 919-776-7655, TDD/TTY: 800-735-2962, FAX: 919-776-7657.  We can be reached by mail or in person at the following address:  Sanford Housing Authority, 317 Chatham St., Sanford, NC, 27330

The applications process follows the steps below (Note: this is only intended as a summary of the process and may not be all-inclusive):

1) Pre-application – the family fills out a pre-application in order to be placed on the waiting list.

2) Waiting List – the family is placed on the waiting list according to application date, local preference, bedroom size, and accessibility needs.

3) Selection – the rate of selection is based on vacancy rate.  During times of high vacancies, families will be selected from the waiting list faster than during times of low vacancy rates. Families at the top of the waiting list will be selected in blocks to fill current vacancy needs. Once a family has been selected, they will be notified by mail.  They will also be advised in their selection letter of the next steps they need to take in order to continue the application process. If a family fails to respond to the selection, their file will be closed.

4) Standard Screening -This process involves an in-depth examination of the family’s history in order to determine their suitability for housing within SHA. SHA will conduct local and national police check on household members to the extent allowed by Florida State law for record within the past five (5) years. Additional screening on credit as it relates to rental history (including evictions). Based on this screening, SHA will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other residents or on the public housing environment.  These standard screening procedures are intended to protect the safety of our current residents and property.

5) Interview & Placement– Once an applicant passes the preliminary screening, they will receive an offer letter to 2 different communities in which they will choose. Once a selection is made, the file will be sent to the community they have accepted.  At this point the community manager will schedule a time and date for interview for every family who passes standard screening, or who has been reinstated by the hearing officer. At interview, the staff member will then determine what documents will be needed such as: income verification; landlord references; marriage license; proof of citizenship; etc. If there are any documents required by the agency that an applicant does not bring with them at the time of interview, they will be given a reasonable amount of time to return with these documents.  The staff member will give the applicant a check list of items needed with a deadline date to return their paperwork. Once all paperwork has been returned and verified, and the applicant is found eligible, the file will then be placed in a ready pool. Applicants will then be offered vacancies as they become available.  Units are offered based on eligible preferences, oldest application date and how long a person’s file has been complete.

All changes to application information must be made in writing.  If you have changed your mailing address, family members, income etc., you may fill out a change form at our office or send a letter by mail requesting the change (please include your social security number so we can easily identify your records).  If we require additional documentation of this change, we will advise you of what is required.

All official notification will be made by mail.  Once your name is reached on the waiting list, SHA will mail a selection letter to you.  This will advise you of the next step in the application process. If, at any time, it is determined that you are ineligible, SHA will mail a denial letter to you, telling you why you have been denied and advising you of how you may request an informal hearing.

The length of the waiting list varies depending on the number of vacancies we have each month and how many people are applying for housing.  The waiting list also varies depending on which bedroom size you qualify for.

There are several local preferences that can affect your placement on the waiting list:
1) Elderly (50 or older)/Disabled
2) Victims of Domestic Violence
3) Homeless
4) Homeless Veterans

The Sanford Housing Authority cannot provide emergency housing.  If you are in the Sanford area and are in need of emergency housing, you may want to contact Lee County Social Services, Lee County Haven, or Johnston Lee Harnett Community Action (these agencies are not affiliated with SHA).

Bedroom size is determined by the number, generation, and sex of the members of your family.  If your family composition changes after you move in, you may request to be transferred to an apartment with the appropriate number of bedrooms for your current family size.  In general, we will allow one bedroom for every 2 people of the same generation and sex.  Children under the age of 5 will not warrant an extra bedroom.  Persons of different generations and/or of different sexes will not be considered to be housed in the same room.  To give a few examples: a single parent with a 1 year old son, and a 5 year old daughter would be eligible for a 2 bedroom apartment.  A single parent with a 3 year old daughter, a 6 year old son, and a 17 year old son would be eligible for a 3 bedroom apartment.  A single parent with a 4 year old child and a grandparent in the household will be eligible for a 2 bedroom apartment.  A couple with a 6 month old child will be eligible for a 2 bedroom apartment.

Your rent, which is referred to as the Total Tenant Payment (TTP) in this program, would be based on your family’s anticipated gross annual income less deductions, if any. SHA will exclude from annual income the following allowances: $480 for each dependent; $400 for any family whose head or spouse is elderly or a person with a disability; and some medical deductions for families headed by an elderly person or a person with disabilities. Based on your application, SHA will determine if any other deductions should be subtracted from your annual income. Annual income is the anticipated total income from all sources received from the family head and spouse, and each additional member of the family 18 years of age or older.

The formula used in determining the TTP is the highest of the following, rounded to the nearest dollar:
(1) 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income. (Monthly Adjusted Income is annual income less deductions, and divided by 12 months);
(2) 10 percent of gross monthly income;
(3) or $50 minimum rent