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Public Housing FAQs

Fort Walton Beach Housing Authority has a smoke-free policy to prohibit the use of all smoking-tobacco products on all property.

1. What is Public Housing?

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.  These units are owned and operated by the Fort Walton Beach Housing Authority (FWBHA).  Rent in these units is set for each family based on their anticipated annual adjusted income..

2. Who is eligible?

Public housing is limited to low-income families and individuals. FWBHA 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 FWBHA 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, FWBHA 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.

3. How do I apply?

View and print application here.

4. Once I apply, what is the applications process?

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

2) 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.

3) Standard Screening -This process involves an in-depth examination of the family’s history in order to determine their suitability for housing within FWBHA. FWBHA 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, FWBHA 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.

4) Interview & Placement– Once an applicant passes the preliminary screening, they will receive an offer letter.  At this point the manager will schedule a time and date for interview for every family who passes standard screening. 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 oldest application date and how long a person’s file has been complete.          

5. Am I responsible for reporting changes while on the waiting list?

No, all information will be updated at the Eligibility Interview. If there is an addition to your family (other than the birth/adoption of a child) you must request the addition 45 days prior to this appointment. 

6. When will I be notified?

All official notification will be made by mail.  Once your name is reached on the waiting list, FWBHA 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, FWBHA will mail a denial letter to you, telling you why you have been denied and advising you of how you may request an informal review.

7. How long is the waiting list?

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.  On average, you can expect to wait the following amount of time from the date you put in your application:

8. Are there any local preferences? Yes.

  • Victims of a Federally Declared Disaster

9. What if I need emergency housing?

Unfortunately, we do not have emergency housing. 

10. How is bedroom size determined?

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.  Infants under the age of 2 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 3 bedroom apartment.  A couple with a 6 month old child will be eligible for a 2 bedroom apartment. 

The Fort Walton Beach Housing Authority will provide equal accessibility to all persons meeting the family definition as stated in HUD’s Equal Access Rule, See 24 CFR 5.403.

Family includes, but is not limited to, the following, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status:

  • Gender identity means actual or perceived gender-related characteristics.
  • Sexual orientation means homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.

(1) A single person, who may be an elderly person, displaced person, disabled person, near-elderly person, or any other single person; or

(2) A group of persons residing together, and such group includes, but is not limited to:

(i) A family with or without children (a child who is temporarily away from the home because of placement in foster care is considered a member of the family);

(ii) An elderly family;

(iii) A near-elderly family;

(iv) A disabled family;

(v) A displaced family; and

(vi) The remaining member of a tenant family.

11. How is rent determined?

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. FWB 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, FWBHA 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 

12. What is your pet policy and do you have a pet fee?

The FWBHA Housing Authority will allow only common household pets. This means only domesticated animals such as a dog, cat, bird, fish in aquariums or a turtle will be allowed in units. Common household pets do not include reptiles (except turtles). If this definition conflicts with a state or local law or regulation, the state or local law or regulation shall govern.

All dogs and cats must be spayed or neutered before they become six months old. A licensed veterinarian must verify this fact.

Only one (1) dog or cat per unit will be allowed. Only two (1) birds per unit will be allowed. The Fort Walton Beach Housing Authority will give final approval on type and density of pets.

Any animal deemed to be potentially harmful to the health or safety of others, including attack or fight trained dogs, will not be allowed. For example, Rotweillers, Pit Bulls, Huskies, Chows, German Shepherds, and Malamutes, whether pure bred or mix, are not allowed.

No animal may exceed twenty (20) pounds in weight projected to full adult size.

A refundable pet fee of $300.00 is required at the time of registering a pet. And monthly fee of $10.00