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FAQ Friday: Remaining Family Member

QUESTION     Our PHA isn’t sure how to handle the following situation. One of our residents, a single mother with minor children, became ill and asked to add the children’s father to her public housing lease. Just as we began to process her request, the resident died. Although we have policies concerning a “remaining family member,” our understanding is that the father doesn’t qualify since he wasn’t added to the lease prior to the resident’s death. The father of the children is concerned that the children would have more trauma if they had to change households and schools now that their mother has passed. What should we do?

ANSWER     In your scenario, the remaining family members are the minor children. Their father can be added to the lease as the new head of household. The following excerpt is from Chapter 2 of HUD’s Public Housing Occupancy Guidebook:

The remaining member of a tenant family is a member who was listed on the lease of a public housing unit and is the only family member still remaining in the unit. A child may remain in the unit as a remaining family member if the PHA permits an adult to join the household as a new head of household.

Keep in mind that the new head of household (in this case, the father) must pass your PHA’s criminal background screening and meet other eligibility requirements. Process his application in the same way you would when adding an adult member to any resident family.

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