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How To Apply For Low Income Housing

Applying for Low Income Housing can be a long process. Knowing a little bit about it can make the difference.

Affordable housing is a very important service provided by the federal government.

Low-income housing can come in many different types, but generally through the federal government there are three forms of low-income housing:

  • Tenant-based: These are subsidies given to those in the household themselves, and it is done through the Section 8 Housing Program.
  • Project-based: These are subsidies given to the housing unit owners themselves so that they can rent out at affordable rates to lower-income individuals. 
  • Public housing: This is operated by the government itself and typically the federal government owns the property.

In order to calculate whether or not a household is low-income, the government will look at the area’s median income for the county or city.

Under their rules, moderate-income households are generally 80 to 120 percent of the area median income.

Low-income households are between 50 and 80 percent of the area median income and very-low income houses are lower than 50 percent. 

Can You Apply?

If you are thinking of applying for low-income housing, it is important to determine whether or not you are able to actually qualify.

The rules will vary by state, but generally you must have an income of less than 70 percent of the area median income. 

For the Section 8 Housing Vouchers, you must have below 50 percent and those below 30 percent are given top-priority.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, houses of 30 percent income or lower are considered to be low-income housing. 

The best advice is to contact your local HUD office or visit their website

How To Apply

If you do feel that you qualify, you can then apply. Depending on the housing program you apply for, the criteria are going to be different. For example, with the Section 8 Housing Program, you are going to need to apply quickly as the wait list for vouchers can be several thousands of families long. You can wait between three to seven years to find out if you have been accepted and approved. Other housing programs are shorter waits. Visit your state government’s website and you should find a link for affordable housing. Once you do, you can typically print off a form that you fill out and take to your local HUD office. The process to get your application is quick and depending on the backlog, you should be moving into affordable housing from within a few months to a few years. 

Affordable housing, especially now, is needed by many people. Housing prices are out of control, rents are sky-high, and even those with high incomes sometimes need help to get by through affordable housing.

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