Many cities across the United States offer government sponsored housing for low income individuals and families. If you’re eligible for this type of low income housing, the government will subsidize part or all of the cost of your rent. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development provides government funds for local housing authorities that oversee the low income housing in a given area.
For some people, government funds help them cover basic living needs (i.e. food and clothing) without losing their housing. Subsidized housing is available in all sizes and types, from suburban single family homes to inner city high rise complexes. For those looking for this type of assistance, it is important to understand how to qualify for a low income apartment. It is also important to know what happens after qualifying a low income apartment.
Qualifying for a low income apartment
Local housing authorities begin to determine eligibility for low income housing based on annual gross income, United States citizenship, or eligible immigration status. These authorities will also determine whether you qualify as a family, individual with a disability, or elderly. Expect to provide a name and basic information (i.e. birthdays) for everyone in the household and current contact information. You will also need to provide family characteristics or other circumstances that may contribute to eligibility (i.e. veteran status) and details about current and past landlords. You should also be prepared with a current pay stub and any other information that the housing authority may need to verify your earnings and deductions. Other needed information could include bank account numbers or the name and address of a current employer.
There is a cap for low income housing. HUD sets the lower limits at 80% and the very low income limits at 50% of the county or metropolitan area’s median income. As these limits vary in different areas of the country, you may receive eligibility with one housing authority, but not another one. Your local HA should be able to provide the income limit for your specified area. You can also consult the HUD website for current limits for low income housing.
Annual income is the total earnings from the family head and spouse, as well as any additional family members who are 18 years or older. HUD uses a specific formula to determine the Total Tenant Payment (TTP), rounded to the nearest dollar. Take 30% of the monthly adjusted income, 10% of the monthly income, welfare rent (if applicable), or a minimum rent as determined by the HA.
Your monthly earnings dictate how much you’ll cover for TTP. Generally, the less money you make the less you’ll have to pay for rent. HUD guidelines allow HAs to exclude certain allowances from annual income. These allowances include dependents, elderly family members, family members with disabilities, and certain types of medical expenses for individuals with disabilities and elderly individuals. Your HA agent will decide if can subtract any of the allowed deductions from your annual earnings.
After qualifying for a low income apartment
If the housing authority deems you eligible for a low income apartment, they will run a criminal background check. The HA will also verify your bank account information and look into your references to make sure that you would be a good tenant. For example, if you were evicted from a previous apartment due to issues with theft or vandalism, you may not qualify for low income housing. Keep in mind that it can take up to a month for the HA to complete these final checks.
Once the HA decides that you’re eligible and would make a good tenant, you’ll be placed in a low income apartment. If there is no housing available, you may be put on a waiting list so that you get into housing as soon as it’s available. When you receive an offer for a low income apartment, you’ll sign a lease with the HA. You may have to provide the agency with a security deposit as well. Review the entire lease with your HA agent before you sign it. Reading the entire lease helps you understand the housing authority’s responsibilities as a landlord and your responsibilities as a tenant. Once you’ve signed your lease, you’ll be able to set a time to move into the apartment.
Assertive Management Group is a part of 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 Contact Us by email with your questions or concerns. Feel free to stop by our McKinney, Texas headquarters at 7290 Virginia Parkway, Suite 2300.