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Winter Information


Winter Safety Tips Apartment Temperature Snow Removal FAQ

Winter Safety Tips

Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.

Walk cautiously. Take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction, when walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway. Walk with your hands out and not in your pockets, in case of a fall you can catch yourself.

Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors.

Drive Safely. Consider taking public transportation if possible. If you must drive in a snow storm, avoid driving during the worst part of the storm and try to drive only in daylight hours. Clear snow and ice from all windows, lights, hood, and the roof before driving. Slow down, leave more room for stopping and look ahead further in traffic.

Don’t crowd the plow. Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows, stay back at least 200 feet and don’t pass on the right.

Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a WHA issued space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.

Prepare for the Storm. Watch the news to track the storm and listen for the WHA phone alerts for information about your home. Build a home emergency kit with flashlights and extra batteries, bottle water, and non-perishable food and canned goods.

Protect your pipes. Close your windows in the winter. Any cold air getting in may freeze your pipes, no matter how high your heat is. If your heat is to high, please put in a request to maintenance.

The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.

Apartment Temperature

Maintaining a comfortable room temperature in your apartment is important. As you can imagine, with approximately 3000 apartments, we have our hands full trying to keep every apartment within an appropriate range.

Heating Season
The official heating season at the Worcester Housing Authority runs from September 15 through June 15. Of course we want all of our residents to have adequate heat. For that reason, we endeavor to provide more heat than required by the City's Health Code. Local code requires that the temperature between 7AM and 11PM be at least 68F. Between 11PM and 7AM the temperature must be at least 64F.

We monitor many of our communities electronically. We also have maintenance staff on-site during the day or on-call in the evening to respond to problems. But, before you call maintenance to report a problem, please follow these easy steps.

    1. Check and close all windows
    You would be surprised how many times we respond to a no heat complaint only to find windows open. Before calling, please check each window (top and bottom) and be sure the windows are completely closed and properly latched.
    2. Make sure your radiator isn't blocked
    If your radiator is blocked by a large piece of furniture like a couch or a chair or covered by long drapes, the heat will not be able to flow through the room. Be sure nothing is directly in front of your radiator.
    3. Don't fool the thermostat
    Make sure you don't have a lamp close to or under the thermostat. This would fool the thermostat into acting as if it were warmer than it actually is.
    4. Make sure your radiator's internal damper is open
    At some of our high-rise buildings the radiators have internal dampers that can be opened and closed to limit the amount of air or heat that moves through the radiator. There is a knob on the face of the radiator cover that opens and closes the damper. By using a flashlight you can see the position of the damper and by turning the handle you can open the damper.
    5. NEVER, EVER use a stove for heat
    Using a stove for heat is extremely dangerous. Please report a heating problem and give us a chance to fix the problem. Using a stove for heat is dangerous to you and your neighbors.

Cooling Season
In the warm weather, many residents purchase air conditioners to cool their apartments. To ensure everyone's safety, your air conditioner will be installed and later removed by our maintenance staff. There is a nominal charge to help defray the costs associated with installation and removal. If you want to install an air conditioner, please contact your Housing Manager

Snow Removal FAQ

What is the WHA’s responsibility during and following a snow storm?
The WHA is responsible for plowing streets, parking lots, clearing common entrances and all common walkways on WHA property.

What is the resident’s responsibility during a snow storm?
Residents at all properties must remove cars as directed by WHA staff to allow staff adequate space to clear streets and parking lots. Residents are responsible for clearing snow from their own vehicles as well as clearing the walkways up to their individual units at Great Brook Valley, Hooper Street, Providence Street, North Street, Sigourney Street, Homes Street, and Dix Street. Main South, Southwest Gardens, and Lewis Street are responsible for full snow removal from the property.

When does the WHA treat and plow the streets, walkways, and parking lots?
Snow plowing will not occur unless 2 inches of snow has accumulated.

How does the WHA decide what streets are plowed first?
During the storm high traffic areas are cleared to allow emergency vehicles on the property. Following the storm common primary walkways are prioritized first and then secondary walkways. Parking lots will be cleared as quickly as possible following the storm. The time it takes to clear a property depends on the severity of the storm. Please be patient, staff are working hard to clear the properties as quickly and safely as possible.

I just saw a plow go down my street with the plow up. Why?
Snow plowing does not begin until after 2 inches of snow has accumulated. In the early stages trucks will be out spreading salt or sand with their plow blades up. They also may be out of material or experiencing an equipment malfunction and headed back to a maintenance yard for refill or repair.

How long after the storm is over can I expect all streets will be passable?
Every snowfall is different, but the WHA follows standard snow removal procedures during every snow event. The timing and intensity of the winter storm will determine how quickly staff can clear roads and sidewalks. Be patient; crews are working hard and will get to your property as soon as possible.
Remain off the roads during a snowstorm unless absolutely necessary. Using alternative transportation during snowstorms reduces the number of vehicles on the road, allowing plows and spreaders more room to operate.

Who do we call to report a sidewalk, parking lot, or street that has not been cleared of snow?
Residents should allow sufficient time for maintenance to clear the walks, parking lot, and street at their property. Please Call Maintenance at (508) 635-3200 if you have any questions.

How does a parking ban help the WHA with snow removal operations?
A parking ban allows work crews to salt and plow the roads and parking lots quickly and safely. Cars that remain parked in violation of a parking ban prevent plow trucks from fully clearing roads and making both lanes clear and drivable following a winter storm event. Please be courteous and move your car when requested to do so.

My car was towed during a parking ban. How can I find out where it is?
Please contact the Worcester Police Department if your vehicle was towed from the street. You can contact your WHA Property Management office if your vehicle was towed from a WHA parking lot.


Worcester Housing Authority
630A Plantation Street
Worcester, MA 01605
Phone: 508-635-3000
Hours: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM