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Low Income Housing

What Do I Need to Qualify for Low-Income Housing?

Low Income Housing is sometimes referred to as "Government Subsidized Housing". 

To qualify for a housing choice voucher, your yearly income must be below a certain level. Income limits are established annually by the Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), based on the annual median income for the area. If you are applying for low-income housing, the local authority will check your income using tax returns and pay stubs, to verify that you are eligible for the program.

Types of Low-Income Housing

The two main types of government-subsidized housing are public housing and the Section 8 program.

HUD - The Department of Housing and Urban Development oversees and helps implement both. Local housing authorities manage public housing units, which they offer at rents affordable to low-income households. The Section 8 program provides vouchers to low-income families to make up the difference between the maximum rent for an area, as calculated by HUD, and what the families can afford.

What qualifies for low income? 

Income Limits are Location Specific. HUD makes low-income units available to households with annual incomes at 80 percent, 50 percent and 30 percent of their area's median figure. HUD categorizes households at these levels as "low income," "very low income" and "extremely low income," respectively. Generally, families at any of the three classifications are eligible for a public housing unit. For Section 8 housing, your household income cannot surpass 50 percent of your area's median income. Actual figures are precise and location-specific. Areas with higher median incomes can skew income eligibility limits.

Your local Public Housing Agency (PHA) decides if you are eligible for a Housing Choice Voucher based on:

  • Your annual gross income.
  • Whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family.
  • U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status.
  • Your family's size.
  • Other local factors.

What will you need?

Proof of Income Documentation

You need to verify your income with HUD to qualify for low-income housing. You can use IRS tax returns and recent pay stubs to do this. If you get into a public housing or Section 8 unit, HUD will look at your income documents annually to make sure you remain eligible.

Demographic Requirements

In addition to income documents, you need to provide HUD with other types of information. For instance, you need to document your family size on an application to determine where your income sits in the HUD scheme. You agree that this number and other demographic and economic information you provide is true and accurate when you execute an eligibility interview with HUD. You must also prove that you are a citizen or legal resident of the United States to qualify for government-funded low-income housing.

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