Housing Assistance Programs
In the US more than 1 million households are in need of low-income housing assistance. This service is necessary to help make housing more affordable, while also ensuring this housing is safe and sanitary. Housing assistance programs are managed by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They are managed locally by public housing authorities throughout the nation.
Due to the huge demand for low-income housing in the US, HUD has been required to set up stringent guidelines for applicants. This includes the low-income limit requirement, as well as a review of applicants’ rental histories and criminal records. Only those applicants and households that meet these standards can apply for services.
Once applicants submit their application for Section 8 programs in their state, they are placed on a waitlist. This, too, is a result of the high demand for low-income housing assistance. Some waitlists are so long that applicants have to wait for years to receive housing assistance. Other waitlists are closed indefinitely due to the excessive demand for low-income housing in that area. While the process can be lengthy, applicants that are able to receive Section 8 assistance can benefit from either the Housing Choice Voucher program or project-based public housing.
Housing Choice Voucher Program
Through the Housing Choice Voucher Program you have the option of living where you want to within the state. You can live in a townhome, apartment, condo, single-family house, etc., as long as your rental property follows HUD and Section 8 requirements. You receive a subsidy paid to your landlord for your privately-owned rental property. This subsidy covers rent costs so you are not paying more than 30 percent of your income on rent. If you move to another home you can use your Housing Choice Voucher, even if you move outside of your public housing authority service area.
Project-based Public Housing
Project-based public housing involves rental apartments set aside for Section 8. Also known as HUD apartments, these units feature a preset rent rate that you must agree to in order to receive housing. However, this amount will ensure you do not pay more than 30 percent of your household income on your monthly rent. If you are chosen for this type of Section 8 services you cannot transfer to another HUD apartment without reapplying for low-income assistance.