Housing Help for Low Income

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Approximately 1.2 million households live in HUD public housing rental units.
Approximately 1.2 million households live in HUD public housing rental units.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, works with other federal and local agencies to administer affordable housing programs for low-income families. Rental housing is provided to income-eligible households across the country. Applicants must contact the local housing authority to locate public housing or to get information on how to apply for a Section 8 voucher. Information on applying for rental help can also be found on the HUD website.

  1. Public Housing

    • HUD's Public Housing program allows low-income households to live in decent and affordable housing. Qualified low-income families, seniors or a person with a disability can pay 30 percent of their total household income towards rent. HUD pays the remaining portion of rent. The applicant must meet the income-limit level to be eligible for assistance. Applicants with income in the extremely low level will be given a preference over those with a higher income.

    Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher

    • The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is similar to the Public Housing program. The renter is able to pay 30 percent of her income towards rent. The difference between the Public Housing program and the Housing Choice Voucher program is the tenant is able to live in any rental housing that will accept the voucher payment. The tenant is not restricted to a specific building. The property owner has the option to decline the Section 8 voucher.

    Homeownership Voucher Program

    • The Homeownership Voucher program allows current Section 8 voucher holders to use their housing subsidy to pay for a mortgage. This program is for first-time home buyers or those who have not purchased a home within three years prior. The homebuyer must have a steady source of income and have been employed for at least a year. He must also be able to qualify for a loan with a lender. The homebuyer will be required to attend a homeownership education seminar to participate in the program.

    HUD-VASH

    • The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs Supported Housing, or HUD-VASH, program is for veterans and veteran families who lack an adequate nighttime residence. HUD has provided 20,000 vouchers for qualified homeless veterans. The veteran must receive supportive services and case management along with the rental assistance payments to ensure he is able to maintain his housing. Supportive services include job training, health care services and financial planning services. Dependents are able to reside in the rental unit as long as the veteran maintains his eligibility as the head of household.

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