March 8, 2011
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (or HUD) public housing programs, such as Section 8 Housing or Housing Choice Vouchers, provide affordable, decent and safe rental housing for low-income families. These include persons with disabilities and the elderly. The houses and apartment buildings that are provided by the HUD are managed by about 3,300 housing agencies. Approximately 1.2 million families live under the public housing program. HUD also provides technical and professional assistance in planning, developing and managing housing developments.
How much can you get from Housing Assistance?
The national median for housing assistance comes up to about $505 every month (the lowest monthly is in Mississipi at along $263, and the highest is in Maryland at $1328). Do take note, however, that these are basic figures – there will be subtractions and additions to your assistance package depending on family size, assets and local area factors. This is taken from the national median upper limit for qualifying annual income, which is at $23,163. If you need the assistance, and think you might qualify, read on for qualifications and others details you should consider.
Public housing is only provided to low-income families and individuals. This is done by a housing agency who determines your eligibility based on the following information:
- Annual gross income
- If you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family
- U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status
If you qualify, you will go through another screening process where the housing agency will check your references to determine if you and your family can be good tenants. Housing agencies have the right to deny admission to any applicant who may have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the project’s environment.
Income limits set by HUD are applied by housing agencies. The lower income limits are at 80% of the local median income, very low income limits are at 50%. Income limits vary from area to area so eligibility may vary as well.
The application form and process usually asks for the following:
- Names of all persons who would be living in the house/apartment unit, their gender, date of birth, and relationship to the head of the family;
- Your present address and telephone number;
- Family characteristics or circumstances;
- Names and addresses of your current and previous landlords;
- An estimate of your family’s anticipated income for the next twelve months and the sources of that income; and
- The names and addresses of employers, banks and any other information the housing agency would need to verify your income and deductions.
Rent or Total Tenant Payment (TTP) is based on your family’s anticipated gross annual income less deductions, if any. Here is a list of regulations that housing agencies are allowed to exclude from annual income:
- $480 for each dependent
- $400 for any elderly family, or a person with a disability
- Medical deductions for families headed by an elderly person or a person with disabilities
The housing agency representative will determine if any of the allowable deductions should be subtracted from your annual income, based on the information you give in the application. Annual income is the anticipated total income from all sources received from the head of the family and spouse, and each additional member of the family 18 years of age or older.
The formula used in determining the TTP is the highest of the following, rounded to the nearest dollar:
- 30% of the monthly adjusted income (Monthly Adjusted Income is annual income less deductions allowed by the regulations)
- 10% of monthly income
- welfare rent, if applicable
- $25 minimum rent or higher amount (up to $50) set by a housing agency
How long can I stay in Public Housing?
You may stay in public housing as long as you need to. The housing agency, however, is in charge of determining whether your family should stay or not. If you have to move out, you will not be required to unless there is affordable housing available for you on the private market.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Official Website: http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD
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