Low-income housing is housing provided to families, the elderly and other individuals who do not have adequate income to procure housing. Low-income housing comes in several types.
Public housing is one type of low-income housing. These units are built and controlled by the government. In the past, this type of housing was built in community settings. Public housing can take the form of single-family houses, or high-rise apartments.
Another type of low-income housing is owned by a private entity but the tenants have their rent subsidized by the government. All low income housing assistance is based on income.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintains a state-by-state listing of HUD offices. The local office can direct you through the application process. Keep in mind, that most low-income housing has a waiting list. Even if you cannot get low income housing immediately, it is important to apply and to be placed on the waiting list.
Go to your local housing authority office to get started on the application process. If you cannot contact your housing authority office, contact the local HUD Field Office.
Either the applicant or the housing authority staff can fill out the application, which must be hand written. The information required to determine eligibility generally includes the following:
- The name, age, date of birth and relationship to head of household of everyone who will be living in the housing unit.
- Names and addresses of current and past landlords
- Sources of all income
- Verification of employment
- Banking information
Housing authority staff may request other information related to verify eligibility, including an interview including all people who will reside in the low-income housing unit. Once the application has been taken, the housing authority will determine eligibility.
The office of housing authority must provide written notification of eligibility. If you are determined to be eligible for low-income housing, if there is a waiting list, you will be placed on it. If there is no waiting list, you may be placed in low income housing immediately.
In most areas, the housing authority sets the eligibility level at 80% of the median income for the area where you live. Very low income is set at 50% of thee median income. This level varies from area to area so it is possible to be eligible in one area and not in another.
Once you receive notification that you are eligible for public housing, you may have to wait a period of months, depending on the length of the waiting list. When you move to the top of the waiting list and a unit becomes available, it is important to be ready to take occupancy quickly. Sometimes there are limits to how long an apartment or house can be held. If the tenant is not ready to occupy the apartment, they are placed at the bottom of the list and the unit is offered to another tenant.
Your local housing authority office can give complete information on income requirements and the availability of public housing in your area.