Transforming CHA: How To Save On Rent


I am all for redevelopment and I am sure most residents are. I also would like to say that most of the new private managers are really trying to work with residents. But when it comes to the One Strike issue and lease compliance, I and other residents I’ve talked with feel this policy hurts some residents who really want a better life for the residents of CHA and to be rid of drugs and gangs. Many Chicago public housing residents don’t know about CHA’s Income Disregard Policy, which could benefit working residents by keeping their rent low and giving them a chance to save money.

CHA residents are charged rent based on 30 percent of their income. For example, if a resident has an income of $100 per month, they pay $30 in rent per month.

If a resident finds a job and their income rises, they will have to pay more rent  unless they get the Income Disregard.

The Income Disregard is designed to help residents become “economically self-sufficient by minimizing rent increases to the maximum extent allowed by the federal, state and local laws,” according to CHA’s Admissions and Occupancy Policy. In other words, residents who are working or in a job-training program will not get an increase in their rent for a period of time if they qualify for the Income Disregard.

Income Disregard Qualifications
To get the Income Disregard, once a CHA resident becomes employed or begins a job-training program, they must notify their property manager. They must provide the property manager with the dates of when they started work and provide addresses and phone numbers for someone who can verify their employment or job-training participation. The property manager is then responsible for verifying the resident’s participation in the job-training program or employment and processing the information given them by the employers and trainers.

Time Period of Income Disregards
Once the property manager has verified employment or job training, the manager is then required to process the income disregard according to the applicable time periods. Every resident who is working or in a training program will not get the Income Disregard for the same length of time.

There are 4 periods of time allotted for the Income Disregard. If a CHA resident is in a job-training program, the Income Disregard lasts for the duration of the program. If a CHA resident is federally employed, the income disregard lasts for the first 12 consecutive months of employment. If a CHA resident is employed by the state, the Income Disregard lasts for the first 18 consecutive months of employment.

An additional provision for the Income Disregard states that CHA residents employed by the state and federal government will pay only 50 percent of the increase in rent for the next 12 consecutive months following an employment income disregard.

The Income Disregard does not apply to Section 8 participants. CHA spokesperson Derek Hill said the federal government did not make its final decision last year as to whether the policy is applicable to residents of the The Income Disregard Procedures can be found under the Chicago Housing Authority’s Admissions and Occupancy Appendix D document dated January 6, 2000.

Residents’ Journal is investigating whether CHA managers are following the Income Disregard policy. Please call me (Mary C. Johns) at (773) 285-0200 x3372 to find out where to obtain a copy of the Income Disregard policy or to report a manager that isn’t following the policy or doesn’t know about the policy.

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