You may obtain an application for a housing unit by using one of the following methods:

1.  Using the following link, complete an online application and submit to us

2.  Download the application at Housing Application Form 101; or

3.  Visit our Main Office to obtain an application packet; or

4.  Visit our Main Office and complete the application packet in our office.

When completing an application be sure to indicate your 1st and 2nd choice for the preferred location of housing.  If you do not indicate a preference, you will be placed in the first available unit when you are next on the waiting list.

If assistance is needed in completing or understanding the application process or documents, please visit our office or call to speak with a Property Manager who can assist you.  Our documents are uploaded in PDF format.  If you cannot view these documents, please download Adobe Reader.

In addition to the Housing Application, the following Application Related Documents will need to be downloaded, completed and then returned to our office by electronic submission to housing@cumberlandhousing.org,  in person or by U.S. mail.

Important:  When submitting an application for housing, the applicant MUST submit ALL of the documents above or the application will not be processed.

Qualified Applicants

Once all application documents are received, each application undergoes a series of phases to determine program eligibility.

Background Screening Phase:

The Housing Authority and HUD have stringent rules regarding previous drug and criminal activity, housekeeping abilities, income reporting, previous rental payments, unauthorized occupants in the rental unit, etc.

A background check is performed on all adults who will be residing in the rental unit through the National Crime Information System by the Allegany County 911 Communications Center/Cumberland City Police.  If there is a negative report, the applicant will be sent a rejection letter with an explanation.  If the applicant feels there is an error, they are advised to contact the office to be fingerprinted and re-screened.

All applicants are entered into the Local and National Registered Sex Offender Registry to assure a negative presence (Registered Sex Offenders are prohibited from residing in subsidized housing).

The current and previous landlords will be contacted to obtain a history of the applicant’s ability to maintain the unit in a clean and nondestructive manner, interact with other tenants in an acceptable manner and pay rent on time.

A check will be made with the HUD database to determine if you have previously participated in any HUD subsidized housing programs.  If you have had problems with a housing agency in the past or owe money for rent or damages to any housing agency, your application to reside in public housing would likely be denied.

A visit to the existing location where the applicant resides may be conducted to better understand identified issues, to further determine eligibility or to qualify for other programs.

Income Qualification Phase:

Once the Background Screening Phase is completed, approved applicants will then proceed through the Income Qualification Phase.  The Public Housing and Project Based Rental Assistance programs provides government subsidized rental units for low-income families as defined by HUD annually through the published Program Income Limits.  A current chart displaying the maximum family income limits by family size for these Programs can be reviewed by clicking here.

Income of all family members must be identified and verified by our Property Managers through methods determined by HUD as part of the screening process to identify the total family income.

Rent Determination Phase:

Once the Income Qualification Phase is completed, applicants who have been determined qualified will then proceed through the Rent Determination Phase.

If a family is determined to be ineligible, they will receive a letter stating the reason and an opportunity to meet with Property Management staff to better understand the reasons and present any special circumstances.

The rent for our units is an affordable rent which is well below the HUD market rate established for the City of Cumberland.  The rental payment is based upon 30% of the total family income less HUD approved adjustments for a child, elderly household, certain medical expenses and others.  This adjusted rent then has a Utility Allowance deducted for any tenant paid utility.  The Utility Allowances are updated annually by an Energy Performance Contracting Firm.

Once the Total Tenant Payment is determined, then the particular type of rent which an applicant/resident may pay is identified as one of the following payment structures:

1.  Minimum Rent – is $50 and no one pays an amount lower;

2.  Income Based Rent – this is the rent that a majority of our residents pay and it is based upon 30% of the adjusted family income

3.  Flat Rent – this is the most rent which can be charged for a Public Housing Unit and is equal to 80% of the area Fair Market Rent as established by HUD annually for the size of unit. Rents in units where residents are paying flat rents are substantially higher than in other public housing units. At the same time, households paying flat rents are virtually always paying less than 30 percent of their income for rent.  If your income increases, you can stay in your public housing unit and choose to pay a flat monthly rent that is not tied to your income (even at full cost, public housing units are usually cheaper than most market-rate rentals).  However, certain developments have regulations which will require over income tenants to move out at the end of their lease period.

4.  Fair Market Rents – Fair Market Rents (FMR’s) are used to determine payment standard amounts for the Housing Choice Voucher program, to determine initial renewal rents for some expiring project-based Section 8 contracts, to determine initial rents for housing assistance payment (HAP) contracts in the Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy program (Mod Rehab), rent ceilings for rental units in both the HOME Investment Partnerships program and the Emergency Solution Grants program, calculation of maximum award amounts for Continuum of Care recipients and the maximum amount of rent a recipient may pay for property leased with Continuum of Care funds, and calculation of flat rents in Public Housing units.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) annually estimates FMR’s for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defined metropolitan areas, some HUD defined subdivisions of OMB metropolitan areas and each nonmetropolitan county.  Fair Market Rent is a gross rent estimate that includes the base rent, as well as any essential utilities that the tenant would be responsible for paying, such as gas or electric. It does not include non-essential utilities such as telephone, television, or internet.

A chart showing the various rents, utility allowances and Fair Market Rents are available by clicking here.

Waiting List Placement

Once the Rent Determination Phase has been completed, the resident will be notified of the results of the qualification process, what the rent will be and if they will be placed in a unit or on a waiting list.

If there are no available units at the time of qualification, the applicant is placed on a waiting list for the development(s) which the applicant indicated interest in residing based upon the date of the completed application was received and the number of preference points assigned to the applicant.  Preference points are assigned for working families, City or County residents and other factors.

If you have been notified of your placement onto the waiting list, you may check your status 24 hours a day by calling 301-724-6606 and select option #2.  During the period on the waiting list, the position status may change to move an applicant up or back depending on other applications filed and the amount of preference points assigned.  Applicants are pulled from the waiting list in the order they appear.  Failure to accept a unit when offered may place you at the bottom of the list to start over.

All waiting lists are open at this time except for Fort Cumberland Homes, which is closed due to the potential RAD Rehabilitation in 2020.

The following documents provide more in-depth explanations as what and how the qualification process is conducted:

Applicant Screening

Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy

Application & Initial Processing Policy

Criminal History Background Policy

Rejected Applicant Grievance Policy

Unit Offers and Placement Procedures 

Waiting List Management