Learn about Public Housing Buildings

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) budgets federal funds to pay for public housing that assists low-income families and individuals. These funds are administered by the HUD and distributed to local state Housing Agencies or Housing Authorities (HAs), which oversee the Section 8 program. Section 8, now known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program offers financial assistance to low-income residents with supplements for more affordable rent. The HUD aims to provide low-income families and individuals with affordable, safe, clean and appropriately sized housing through rent subsidies.

Low-income families who do not want to use housing vouchers have the option to find a subsidized public housing building. Many of these low-income housing units were created as a part of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. Home buyers can visit their local housing authority for a list of available public housing in their area. The federal government uses subsidized public housing to meet the needs of low-income individuals and families across the country.

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Data Sourced from The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R).

Who qualifies to live in Section 8 public housing?

Section 8 public housing is intended to serve the elderly, homeless, veterans, people with disabilities and those whose income is 50 percent lower than the median income for the county they wish to move to.

Since the median income varies in different areas, it is possible to be eligible in one county and not in another. Housing authorities will take a family’s gross income and assets into consideration during the application process for low-income housing assistance.

A few of the other factors that are considered during the housing assistance application process include:

  • A family’s size and composition.
  • Their owned assets and income.
  • The citizenship status of all members in the family.
  • The family’s rental history such as any evictions or late payments.
  • Credit history of the family members.
  • Criminal history of all members of the family.

Note: You must continue to meet all Section 8 requirements to continue receiving assistance.

Learn About Public Housing and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

In an effort to increase the amount of affordable housing available in the country, the federal government initiated the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. The LIHTC (commonly pronounced as “lie-tech”) program was created after the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

This program provides local and state LIHTC agencies to distribute tax credits to landlords and developers that offer low-income rental housing units. This includes the acquisition, rehabilitation or new construction of rental housing intended to assist lower-income neighborhoods.

These benefits are used to encourage housing developers and investors to create new housing options for individuals and families in low-income neighborhoods. Furthermore, these housing units must continue to meet the guidelines established by the federal government for the LIHTC program.

Today, about 90 percent of all affordable rental housing in the United States were established because of the LIHTC program.

Discover Public Housing Building Standards

Program participants can use their benefits at approved apartments, single and multi-family homes, townhouses and other similar housing styles. Currently, there are over 1 million housing units managed by over 3,000 local housing authorities.

These HAs are responsible for ensuring that all housing units meet the strict guidelines and standards that have been established by the HUD. Any private owner interested in using their units for public housing must first receive a property inspection from a Housing Authority agent. Typically, a Housing Authority inspector will assess the following parts of a unit:

  • The conditions of the floors, ceilings and walls inside the building.
  • Maintenance and security of the property and general area.
  • An inspection to check for any electrical hazards on the grounds.
  • Appliances must all be in working order.
  • There must be adequate lighting and heat.
  • No garbage or debris in common areas.
  • There must be space for storage in the kitchen, halls and bedrooms.
  • Any deteriorating surfaces will be checked out.
  • Buildings must have proper ventilation.
  • The building must come equipped with smoke detectors.
  • Stairs, balconies and railings must all be safe.
  • The unit must have sinks, toilets and a water heater.
  • There will be an inspection for any leaks.
  • The inspector will check for insect or rodent infestations.
  • Buildings should have an elevator and accessibility options for people with disabilities.
  • The exterior foundation of the building must be secure.
  • Fire exits and extinguishers must be available and properly designated.
  • Inspectors will check water and air quality.

After Receiving Section 8 Approval

Property owners are responsible for maintaining housing standards on all of their buildings in order to remain eligible for Section 8. HUD housing is inspected yearly or after a tenant has filed a complaint about the status of the building.

After a property has been approved for the HUD housing program, it will be assessed for the maximum rent pricing based on the price of housing in the general area. If the owner agrees on the pricing, their property will enter a database of HUD-approved housing units.

After a unit is rented by a tenant, the building owner or landlord will receive a portion of the rent from Section 8. The tenant is responsible for paying the remaining portion of their rent.

Find Out About Section 8 Housing Lists

Once a public housing project is approved by a local housing authority, it will be placed on a Section 8 housing list. This list is created by the federal government in order to help low-income program participants find a home.

Home buyers can find a Section 8 approved home using these handy lists that include helpful information like:

  • The size of the housing unit.
  • The type of housing.
  • The location of the property.
  • The unit’s final price.

Using all of this information, searching for affordable housing that accepts government assistance is easier than ever before.

Simply visit a local housing authority and request to see their Section 8 housing lists. Use the provided info to find a home that fits the needs of you and your family.

Note: Ensure that you call all landlords beforehand so that you can make sure that the unit you are looking to rent is available. Make an appointment if necessary.

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