Frequently Asked Questions

What is public housing?

Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to high-rise apartments for elderly families. There are approximately 1.2 million households living in public housing units, managed by some 3,300 HAs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers Federal aid to local housing agencies (HAs) that manage the housing for low-income residents at rents they can afford. HUD furnishes technical and professional assistance in planning, developing and managing these developments.

A Good Place to Live.

Housing rights: 903.1

Who is eligible?

The Rogue Valley Towers is limited to elderly and disabled families and individuals. Eligibility is based on annual gross income; whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family; and U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status. Income limits, set by HUD, are used in determining eligibility for public housing assistance. HUD sets the lower income limits at 80% and very low income limits at 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which you live.

How do I apply for housing assistance?

To apply for housing through the Rockford Housing Commission elderly and disabled public housing facility, please complete the Housing Application and submit it to the RHC via mail, fax, or e-mail.

The RHC is not currently accepting new Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher applicants due to a lengthy existing waiting list.

How does the application process work?

The application can be found on our website, picked up in our office, or mailed to you. The following information will be asked on the application to determine eligibility:

  1. Names of all persons who would be living in the unit, their sex, date of birth, and relationship to the family head;
  2. Your present address and telephone number;
  3. Family characteristics (e.g., veteran) or circumstances (e.g., living in substandard housing) that might qualify the family for tenant selection preferences;
  4. Names and addresses of your current and previous landlords for information about your family’s suitability as a tenant;
  5. An estimate of your family’s anticipated income for the next twelve months and the sources of that income; and
  6. The names and addresses of employers, banks, and any other information the HA would need to verify your income and deductions, and to verify the family composition.

After obtaining this information, the Rockford Housing Commission will also need to obtain copies of your Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, Valid Driver’s License, and Proof of Income. These items will need to be presented in person to the Rockford Housing Commission when your application is turned in. You will also be asked to sign a form to authorize release of pertinent information to the Rockford Housing Commission.

When will I be notified?

The Rockford Housing Commission will provide written notification regarding your application. If we determine you are eligible, your name will be put on a waiting list. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, you will be contacted via mail (which is why it’s extremely important that you update any address changes to us). If it is determined that you are ineligible, we will mail you a letter stating why you were denied.

Will I have to sign a lease?

If you are offered an apartment with the Rockford Housing Commission and you accept it, you will have to sign a lease and provide a security deposit. We will go over the lease with you so that you have an understanding of your responsibilities as a tenant and our responsibilities as a landlord.

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. HUD regulations allow housing agencies to exclude the following from annual income: $480 for each dependent; $400 for any elderly family, 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, the Rockford Housing Commission representative will determine if any of the allowable 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:

  • 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income. (Monthly Adjusted Income is annual income less deductions allowed by the regulations);
  • 10 percent of monthly income;
  • welfare rent, if applicable; or
  • a $25 minimum rent or higher amount (up to $50) set by an HA.

What is the role of the Rockford Housing Commission?

The Rockford Housing Commission, as the housing agency, is responsible for the management and operation of its local public housing program. They may also operate other types of housing programs.

  1. On-going functions: a) Assure compliance with leases. The lease must be signed by both parties; b) Set other charges (e.g., security deposit, excess utility consumption, and damages to unit); c) Perform periodic reexaminations of the family’s income at least once every 12 months; d) Transfer families from one unit to another, in order to correct over/under crowding, repair or renovate a dwelling, or because of a resident’s request to be transferred; e) Terminate leases when necessary; and f) maintain the development in a decent, safe, and sanitary condition.
  2. Sometimes HAs provide other services that might include such things as: homeownership opportunities for qualified families; employment training opportunities, and other special training and employment programs for residents; and support programs for the elderly.

How long can I stay in public housing?

In general, you may stay in public housing as long as you comply with the lease. If, at reexamination your family’s income is sufficient to obtain housing on the private market, the HA may determine whether your family should stay in public housing.

I am homeless or need immediate housing assistance. How do I apply for emergency housing?

The Rockford Housing Commission administers Hope Community, a transitional housing program that serves homeless women and their children, however, we are not primarily an emergency housing provider. To apply to Hope Community, or to get information about other emergency housing resources, please contact The Salvation Army – Booth Family Services.

I currently live outside of the Rockford area. Can I still apply for housing?

Yes, however, please be aware that our agency-administered public housing developments are required to serve households currently living within our 30-mile jurisdiction before we can serve those applying from outside of our area.

We are not currently accepting new applicants to our Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program due to a lengthy existing waiting list.

How do I apply for employment with the Rockford Housing Commission?

We accept employment applications only when we have an open position. Employment opportunities are advertised in local media and on our website – please check the Employment page of our website for updates.

How do I report a housing code violation or file a complaint about my rental housing?

The Rockford Housing Commission administers affordable housing programs for low-income families and is not a primary agency for City code enforcement.

If you are a RHC Section 8 client, please contact your Section 8 Coordinator. If you rent at a RHC-administered housing development, please contact your RHC Housing Management Staff.

Renters who do not participate in RHC housing programs should report possible housing code violations to the City of Rockford.

I have moved since applying for housing. How do I update the information on my housing application?

You can update your information by completing and returning a PDF version of the Application Update form, available on the website.

What exactly needs to be updated on my previously submitted housing application?

It is very important that you keep your current mailing address on file with the Rockford Housing Commission. When your name reaches the top of our waiting list, you will be contacted by U.S. Mail at the address we have on file. Changes to family composition and income should also be reported.

How do I check the status of my housing application?

You can check the status of your housing application by contacting the Rockford Housing Commission at (616) 866-0371 or e-mailing:

How long is the wait list at Rogue Valley Towers?

The wait to rent at Rogue Valley Towers varies between approximately two months to two years.