If you need help paying rent, the Section 8 program also has Public Housing options. Section 8 houses for rent are units that the government owns and can rent to low-income households for less than market value. These units may be single-family homes, high-rise apartments, senior communities, and more.
The housing assistance program provides housing directly to you. Since the government owes the building, the local PHA can set the rental price like a landlord. Rental rates will depend on your annual income and your family’s composition, such as elderly and disabled family members.
The local PHA may use the highest of any of the following formulas to determine the Tenant Tenant Payment (TTP):
- 30 percent of adjusted monthly income
- 10 percent of monthly income
- Welfare rent rate
- The minimum rate, between $25 and $50
Unlike the HCV program, you cannot select your rental unit. Public Housing units are limited, and you will need to apply for a spot if/when one becomes available. In some cases, the PHA may give you an option between developments.
Typically, you can stay in public housing for as long as you make payments, comply with the lease, and meet the qualification requirements. Should your income increase enough to obtain private sector housing, the PHA will reevaluate your residence in Public Housing.
The local PHA may also sell public housing units if it gets approval from HUD. To qualify to purchase a Public Housing unit, you cannot earn more than 80 percent of the area’s median income. However, your monthly payment cannot exceed 35 percent of your household income. Monthly payments can include:
- Mortgage principal and interest.
- Homeowners insurance.
- Real estate taxes.
- Maintenance costs.
The PHA may also have minimum down payment requirements and other eligibility requirements. You must also use the property as your principal residence.
Other places that help with rent and utility bills are subsidized housing. Subsidized housing is in the private sector, but property owners and landlords receive government payments for providing affordable housing.
The Housing Credit program gives investors and developers tax breaks in exchange for new construction or rehabilitation of very low- and low-income housing. The property owner must reserve a minimum number of units for tenants who earn significantly less than the area’s median income.
Similarly, the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program provides capital for organizations to construct and rehabilitate housing for low-income elderly tenants. Entities that qualify and receive Section 202 funds must offer affordable housing to tenants who are 62 years of age or older.
You can contact your local PHA or Community Action Program (CAP) office for more information on applying for Public Housing or subsidized housing.
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