How does HUD help people with low income find homes?

Several HUD housing programs are available under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a federal agency that works to address and improve America’s housing needs.

These HUD housing assistance programs help to create safe, clean and suitable living environments for all Americans, including minorities, Native Americans, homeless or elderly individuals, and those with disabilities. The HUD also helps low-income families find affordable housing opportunities through renting or homeownership.

Through its Section 8 rentals, public housing and rental subsidy programs, the HUD currently assists more than 4.3 million low-to-moderate-income families in need of affordable housing. Moreover, the HUD also oversees the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the largest global insurer of home mortgages. To date, the FHA has insured the mortgages of more than 30 million low-to-moderate-income homeowners. To learn more about the HUD and the various programs it administers, in order to assist low-income families, review the information below.

What are the different HUD housing programs for low-income families?

Many homes and low income apartments for rent are available through several of the HUD’s primary assistance programs, including public or subsidized housing, mortgage assistance through the FHA and the Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8. While Section 8 rental vouchers and public or subsidized housing opportunities are available to low-income renters who meet financial restrictions, the FHA mortgage assistance program assists low-to-moderate-income families who wish to achieve the American dream of owning a home. To qualify for assistance through most of these HUD programs, applicants must:

  • Meet financial restrictions.
  • Be elderly.
  • Be disabled.
  • Be U.S. citizens or eligible immigrants.

Additional information about each of these HUD programs is available in the sections that follow.

How Getting on the Section 8 Housing List Can Benefit You

One type of HUD housing assistance that allows you to search for your own affordable rental property is the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Also known as Section 8, this program can help you to find an affordable rental property if you are elderly or disabled, or meet income restrictions, depending on the size of your household. However, your local Public Housing Agency (PHA) may require you to meet additional requirements, as well.

While the Section 8 rental unit you choose to live in must meet health and safety standards, this program provides you with greater flexibility than many other HUD programs, as it allows you to select your own affordable apartment, townhome or single-family home in which to reside. Additionally, your Housing Choice Voucher covers all or part of your rent, depending on your specific situation. However, your household income and family size will determine the size of the rental unit for which you qualify.

If you wish to complete a Section 8 housing application to receive rental assistance through this HUD program, you must contact your local PHA to get started. If your PHA determines that your family unit is eligible for participation in the Housing Choice Voucher Program, it will add your name to a waiting list. unless you qualify for immediate assistance. Due to the long wait, however, you may choose to apply for assistance through the HUD’s public housing program, as well.

Once your name reaches the top of the waiting list, your local PHA will issue your family a housing voucher. Once you find Section 8 housing for rent, you must sign a lease of at least one year, and you may need to pay a security deposit. However, your landlord will determine whether a security deposit is necessary.

About Public and Private HUD Housing Opportunities for Low-Income Families

Other types of HUD housing assistance are available to qualifying low-income families, the elderly and individuals with disabilities. These are known as the HUD’s public and private housing programs. To reside in public housing, however, families must meet income restrictions for the county or metropolitan area where they wish to live. If applicants do not meet these income restrictions, they may qualify for assistance through the private housing market. In some situations, families may reside in public housing and move to the private market, once their household incomes increase.

Once families find low income apartments for rent through public or private housing, their adjusted gross incomes will determine the amount of their rent. When residing in privately-owned subsidized housing units, for instance, tenants can expect to pay around 30 percent of their adjusted gross incomes on rent and utilities. However, public housing rental amounts may be lower, depending on the situation.

Moreover, the process of finding low income apartments for rent varies by program. To apply for assistance through public housing, for instance, applicants must contact their local PHAs to apply. However, families who wish to reside in privately owned housing must apply by contacting the apartment’s management office directly. To find privately-owned subsidized housing opportunities, applicants can use the HUD’s online Resource Locator tool.

Learn About HUD Housing Assistance for Low-to-Moderate-Income Families

Another type of HUD housing program helps low-to-moderate-income families in achieving the American dream of owning a home, even if they cannot afford to make a large down payment on the purchase of the property. With an FHA loan, first-time homebuyers and other qualifying applicants can purchase homes with a down payment as low as 3.5 percent of the home’s purchase price, as long as they have a FICO credit score of at least 580. For credit scores between 500 and 579, applicants must put at least 10 percent down.

To apply for this type of HUD home assistance program, applicants must contact an FHA-approved lender. When applying for an FHA loan, homebuyers typically need to provide the following information:

  • Bank statements, W2s and employer pay stubs from the previous two months
  • Copies of tax returns

Since FHA loans require a minimal down payment and fewer eligibility requirements than conventional loans, purchasing HUD housing may be a better option for some lower-income families who do not qualify for other types of housing assistance programs. To receive assistance in determining whether homeownership is the right decision for them, applicants may choose to speak with an HUD-approved housing counseling agency. HUD housing assistance agencies are located throughout the U.S., in order to provide low-to-moderate-income families with the help they need to buy or rent homes.