What Do I Need To Qualify For Low Income Housing?

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Many people who are able to make rent payments are unable to afford market rate housing prices, particularly in urban areas. Low income housing helps these people bridge this gap. There are different types of low income housing programs in select cities around the country, the most widely used is HUD. Eligibility for low income housing includes documentation about the size of your family and your total monthly income. This eligibility is also relative to where you live. Documentation needed for low income housing includes Social Security numbers or birth certificates for every household member. You may also need tax returns, check stubs, and banking information.

What is low income housing?

Typically, a family should put no more than 30 percent of their total earnings into housing, which includes rent or mortgage and utilities. Exceeding 30 percent leaves limited funds for other essentials, such as groceries and transportation. Low income housing allows people to stay under 30 percent while residing in a place that meets their basic needs.

The notion of low income housing is simple enough, but there are a number of factors that contribute to eligibility. The first thing that you must keep in mind is that most people’s definition of low income is not necessarily the same as the federal government’s definition. The second thing that you must keep in mind is that the government has different classifications for low income housing, depending on the area.

For example, an individual qualifies for HUD in San Francisco if he earns $60,200 or less annually. The same individual will qualify for HUD public housing in less wealthy regions of the state, such as the Central Valley, with an annual income of $31,550 or less.

Types of low income housing

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides the two most widely used low income housing programs in the country: Section 8 or the Housing Choice Vouchers program and public housing. Thanks to a government subsidy that covers the difference between the actual rent amount and between 30 and 40 percent of a family’s monthly earnings, Section 8 allows people to rent units from private landlords at market rates. Public housing agencies own and operate units throughout the country. Most of these units are large complexes with affordable rent rates.

You may be able to find other low income housing programs in select cities around the country. Some programs offer direct subsidies while others use indirect tactics to get around local urban zoning and planning regulations. For example, New York City and San Francisco provide incentives or directly require their developers to provide a certain percentage of low income units in buildings that have market rates.

Eligibility for low income housing

While there will be slight variations in eligibility requirements from one housing agency to the next, most agencies have similar requirements. You will have to provide documentation about the size and makeup of your family and your total monthly earnings. Depending on your location and the size of your household, the low income housing agency will provide an income limit. For Section 8, families must have an income at or below 50 percent of the median income for the area. For public housing, earnings must be at or below 80 percent.

Many agencies also require applicants to provide proof that they are citizens or legal residents of the United States. When you offer documentation to HUD or another agency, you consent that you are providing accurate, up-to-date information. It can be tempting to bend the numbers in order to qualify. However, it isn’t worth the risk for the consequences that you may face if the agency finds out that you provided false information.

Documentation needed for low income housing

As you prepare to apply for low income housing, gather documentation about your family size and total household income. Most agencies must have Social Security numbers or birth certificates for every member of the family. Typically the agency will require paycheck stubs, tax returns, and banking information to verify your earnings. Many also require their participants to provide income documentation once a year to maintain eligibility in the program.

Assertive Management Group is a part of the Hope Housing Foundation (HOPE), a nonprofit corporation based in McKinney, Texas. We are focused around creating and preserving affordable housing for low to mid-income families and individuals. We reinvest all of our earnings back into our organization. This business model has enabled us to become one of the most effective nonprofit housing corporations in the United States. To learn more about our organization or to become a partner, give us a call at (214) 842-8383. You can also send us an email with your questions or concerns. Feel free to stop by our McKinney, Texas headquarters at 7290 Virginia Parkway, Suite 2300.