Housing Assistance for Low-Income Families

Rahul Pandita Jan 5, 2019
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Helping low-income families with housing has realized many people's dream of owning a house. Here, we will take a look at some of the important points one should remember before applying for these public housing programs.
The US government helps alleviate housing problems of low income families by providing them decent rental housing as a part of its public housing plans. It is estimated that there are around 1 million households which have been funded by such Federal aid.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) looks after the assistance program for low income families. There are various housing agencies (HA) that manage the assistance for low-income families. Providing help is an attempt by the government to have stability and balance in the society.
Housing help for low-income families began during Great Depression that left many Americans with less or no money and widespread unemployment. Federal housing assistance saw changes in 1970s. Low-income families were given vouchers, certificates to assist in the monthly cost of living. For Federal aid for housing, some terms and conditions must be fulfilled.

Eligibility Criteria

To ensure that public aid is being given to applicants who really are not well off financially, and to prevent its abuse, the HA determines the eligibility on that criterion. The annual gross income of the applicant should be either 80% of the average median income (AMI), or 50% of the average median income.
If your income is 80% of the AMI, you will be in the category of 'low-income' and if salary is 50% of the AMI, you will fall under 'very low-income' category. The AMI varies from place to place, so one can be eligible for housing assistance at one place, but not at the other. Besides, one should be in a condition to afford the principal, interest rates, etc.
Another criterion is that one should be able to afford 29% of PITI (PITI is an acronym for the sum of monthly principal, interest, taxes and insurance) and 41% for the total debt. The HA also helps low-income households in paying their rents through various vouchers, known as Section 8 vouchers.
The voucher pays anything above 30% of your monthly income (to a fixed limit). For example, if your monthly income is $1000 and the house you want to rent is $400, you pay $300 and the voucher will take care of the rest $100. One important point to remember is that the fair market value of the apartment should be equal to or more than the rent amount.

Application Procedure

To apply for low income housing aid, you need to write an application with the names of all the people who would be living in the unit, along with their personal details. You also need to mention your monthly income and the debt you may have. For verification purposes, you will have to fill in the names of your previous landlords, banks, employers etc.
You would be asked to submit certain documents such as birth certificates, tax returns etc. Your HA agent would be able to help you on this better. After this procedure, if you are selected for the public housing aid, your name would be put on waiting list, and if you are not deemed eligible, then the HA will send you a written notification.
The Federal assistance has helped many households so far, however, in the recent times, the waiting lists to get these grants for housing for low income families have to be closed, as the demand for these aids is more than the available resources that the HUD has.
So, even if one is eligible and fulfills all the criterion, it cannot be said that he will get assistance. Nevertheless, one should not lose hope and should at least apply for these public housing programs. This was a bit of information on public housing assistance by the government. Hope the information would be useful to you.