Public Housing Programs
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Various Public Housing projects offers disenfranchised members of the community; low income families, physically challenged and the elderly an opportunity to live in an affordable, clean and safe home.
First Things First
Finding affordable housing can be a huge problem, especially if you are not financially stable like low income families and physically challenged individuals. Even still, the high cost of housing shouldn’t result in people living out on the streets. This article will provide guidance on meeting eligibility and the criteria used for the purpose of obtaining public housing. We’ll also look at some disadvantages in addition to the advantages of gaining public housing through some of these government funded programs. Lastly, we’ll touch on how to to expedite the entire process to make your wait time as minimal as possible.
Eligibility for Public Housing
The U.S Development of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the sector that runs the public housing programs. They use the list of eligibility criteria exhibited below.
- Income – Different areas have different income amounts set aside by HUD.
- Age, Family & Disability Status – To qualify for public housing, you must be a low income earner with children, be elderly or be physically challenged.
- Immigration Status – The head of household must have legal immigration status although there are areas that will allow undocumented members to live in the public house.
- Tenant history – HUD, in addition to doing a criminal check on you, will also ask for your rental history records. You can explain any problems at this stage and if the reasons are valid, you’ll make it to the next stage.
The Application Process for Public Housing
Applying for public housing can either be made from your local housing authority or the nearest HUD field office. Housing authorities might have different steps, but below are three of the most common steps you’re likely to encounter:
- Submit an application –There is a written application that housing authorities will require you to submit. You can download this from their website and physically submit it or submit it by mail.
- Interview – there will be an interview conducted by a housing authority representative. For this interview you must carry; proof of identity, like a Social Security card or a driver’s license, proof of immigration status, like a green card or birth certificate, among other essentials.
- Wait for qualification information and select a home – Although you are allowed to state the type of house you prefer to live in, the housing authority has the final say-so. Usually you will be informed of the decision by the housing authority after a few weeks.
What’s the Rent Like and How Long Can I Stay?
HUD and the housing authority will set the rent amount based on your total income. Usually it’s less than 30% of your income. If you begin earning more, you’ll be given a twelve months grace period before a rent increment.
As long as you don’t stop qualifying for the public housing you can stay in the house. For example if you don’t violate your lease and your income doesn’t radically increase.
Advantages of Public Housing
- It’ll help you save enough money to clear your debts, save and possibly continue your education.
- Better quality housing and more spacious than low cost apartments.
- Close supportive community
Disadvantages of Public Housing
- Some public houses have funding problems which can lead to low maintenance of the house, broken lights and fixtures etc.
- Since your landlord IS the government, it can be hard to maintain a personal life outside of government scrutiny
- You likely won’t choose the house you’ll be given.
- The wait list can take a year or more.
Can I Speed Up the Process?
There’s an overabundant amount of people in need of the severely limited public housing spaces available. There are areas where you can even wait for more than a year. However, there are simple tricks you can use to expedite the process.
- Apply as a “preference group” – If you qualify for the housing authorities preference group list; stuck in unsafe housing, adult going for professional training or college, domestic violence victim, and veterans you stand a better chance of being moved up the list much faster.
- Apply to more than one development or agency – Rules differ in different housing authorities. If there are different authorities in a relatively close distance to you, you can increase your chances by applying to both.
- Keep your information current – Alert the housing authority about any changes such as a change in telephone number.
- Provide all the necessary documents – Most applications are turned down due to insufficient documentation and information.
- Have a ready deposit – Inquire about the security deposit you’ll be required to pay before moving in to your new house. Have that cash ready for when you are given the go ahead to move.
The advantages for living in public housing far outweigh the disadvantages. So if you get the opportunity to improve your and/or your family’s quality of life, you should go for it and look into public housing programs. To get started, click HERE to contact your local public housing authority.