The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers Public Housing for low-income families, the elderly, and those with disabilities. Regional Housing Authorities, making the government agency your landlord. Rent costs in these buildings are significantly less than the market rate. However, your monthly obligation will depend on your income.
Unlike the voucher program, you have almost no choice on where you can live. If you qualify for the program, the local Public Housing Authority (PHA) decides which government-owned building you will live in, and the decision is typically based on eligibility.
To be eligible for Public Housing, you must have a low income. HUD will also determine whether you are an elderly person, a person with disabilities or a family. HUD considers your household as having a low income if it is between 50 to 80 percent of the area’s median income.
Consider the following examples:
One of the highest median household incomes in the United States is in Loudoun County, Virginia at $134,464. You could be eligible for Public Housing if your household income is between $67,232 and $107,571.
The national median household income is about $68,703. You could be eligible for Public Housing if your household income is between $34,351 and $54,962.
One of the lowest median household incomes in the United States is in Sumter County, Alabama at $18,911. You could be eligible for Public Housing if your household income is between $9,455 and $15,128.
The local PHA will also consider the size of your family. The more family members are in your household, the more you can earn and still qualify. For example, in Los Angeles county, a one-person household must have an income below $41,400 to qualify as “very low income.” In the same county, a four person household must earn below $59,100 in annual income in order to qualify as a “very low income” household.
You may apply for public housing through your local PHA. The application will require information and documentation that the PHA will use to determine eligibility for public housing. If there are no low-income housing units available, the applicant will be put on a waiting list. This means the applicant will be given a unit when it is available.
Your area may also have Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties, which provide reduced rent for low-income families in privately owned buildings. Public housing authorities can use these tax credit funds to buy and refurbish more low-income housing.