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Public Housing Program - Overview

General Description

The Public Housing Program is one of several Federal Rent Assistance Programs established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single-family houses to high-rise apartments for elderly families.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers Federal aid to local Housing Agencies (HAs) that manage the housing for low-income residents at rents they can afford. HUD furnishes technical and professional assistance in planning, developing and managing these developments.

There are approximately 1.3 million households living in public housing units managed by some 3,300 HAs, which, within Federal guidelines, set eligibility standards and determine rent payments.

Application

If you are interested in applying for public housing, contact your local Housing Authority (HA). If you have trouble contacting the HA, contact the local HUD field office.

An application must be written. Either you or the HA representative will fill it out. An HA usually needs to collect the following information to determine eligibility:

 Names of all persons who would be living in the unit, their sex, date of birth, and relationship to the family head;

 Your present address and telephone number;

 Family characteristics (e.g., veteran) or circumstances (e.g., living in substandard housing) that might qualify the family for tenant selection preferences;

 Names and addresses of your current and previous landlords for information about your family's suitability as a tenant;

 An estimate of your family's anticipated income for the next twelve months and the sources of that income;

 The names and addresses of employers, banks, and any other information the HA would need to verify your income and deductions, and to verify the family composition; and

 The PHA also may visit you in your home to interview you and your family members to see how you manage the upkeep of you current home.

The HA representative will request whatever documentation is needed (e.g., birth certificates, tax returns) to verify the information given on your application. The PHA will also rely on direct verification from your employer, etc. You will be asked to sign a form to authorize release of pertinent information to the PHA.

An HA has to provide written eligibility notification. If the HA determines that you are eligible, your name will be put on a waiting list, unless the HA is able to assist you immediately. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, the HA will contact you. If it is determined that you are ineligible, the HA must say why and, if you wish, you can request an informal hearing.

If you are offered a house or apartment and accept it, you will have to sign a lease with the HA. You may have to give the HA a security deposit. You and the HA representative should go over the lease together. This will give you a better understanding of your responsibilities as a tenant and the HA's responsibilities as a landlord.

Lease Duration

In general, you may stay in public housing as long as you comply with the lease.

If, at reexamination, your family's income is sufficient to obtain housing on the private market, the HA may determine whether your family should stay in public housing. You will not be required to move unless there is affordable housing available for you on the private market.

Source:

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): 24CFR960

Back to:

Federal Rent Assistance


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