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Housing assistance for low-income families

There is a shortage of affordable housing for low-income families in the United States. Based on analyzing 2010 data, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) concludes that one full-time minimum wage cannot afford a fair price for renting a one bedroom apartment anywhere in the nation . Subsidized housing programs sponsored by the government intended to close the gap affordability.


The Department of Housing and Urban Development United States (HUD) for its acronym in English establishes income limits each year to inform eligibility guidelines for programs of social housing. At the bottom of the income scale are households with incomes below 30% of median income in your area. HUD these families classified as “extremely low”. According NLIHC, there was 9.2 million tenants in very low-income households in the country, from the American Community Survey 2008, but can only afford 6.1 million rental units in homes nationwide.


Programs for low-income housing strive to increase the supply of affordable housing for needy families in the country. As NLIHC notes in consensus among housing experts is that if a family spends more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities, housing costs are not affordable. More subsidized housing plans are structured to ensure that participants in most cases do not exceed the 30% threshold. To lower housing costs, NLIHC argues that many low-income families settle for substandard housing and overcrowding.


Virtually any program for low-income housing uses some form of subsidy. The two largest programs come from HUD. Or Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program subsidizes private market segment in a low-income family in which the rent is greater than 30-40% of their income. The program consists in HUD public housing units owned and operated by local public housing agencies with affordable rents levels. Some cities run their own programs plus Section 8 and public housing. Many of the cities of San Francisco Bay Area, for example, use some kind of continuation of the program of market price. In Palo Alto, California, for example, Palo Alto Housing Corporation nonprofit (PAHC) administers the market rate below the city. Generally, households cannot be applied to live in one of the properties contained in the program if they earn more than 80% of median income of Palo Alto, according to PAHC website.


Some programs contain a component of home ownership; however, the magnitude of these initiatives pales in comparison to the efforts to tenants. PAHC, for example, run “Below market rate purchase program” Palo Alto offering properties below market prices. The city of Palo Alto requires developers to make at least 15% of the units in buildings with five units or more below market sales opportunities. Other cities, including New York and San Francisco, running similar programs intended primarily for tenants.

Income Limits

Most income housing programs of social interest income used as the primary eligibility. Most postponed until the HUD income limits, which change every year and vary depending on location and household size. As mentioned efforts of Palo Alto, the program allows HUD public housing tenants below 80% of the average in your area. The Section 8 program limits the income to 50% of the average of the area; however, housing authorities must distribute 75% of their Section 8 vouchers to families below 30% of the average in your area.

Help with finding Section 8 housing

Housing and Development Urban US (HUD, for its acronym in English) provides vouchers for Section 8 housing for low-income residents. Residents receive these vouchers through the local HUD office; HUD pays a portion of the income of the resident, as he is in the Section 8 program is the responsibility of the tenant finds suitable housing once it reaches its housing voucher.

Narrowing the search

During the search for a Section 8 apartment, looking ads that specifically provide that the landlord accepts Section 8 tenant these owners have already agreed to participate in the Section 8 program, which means you cannot refuse for the sake of your financial situation and that the rent is at or below fair market price for their apartments. The owners of Section 8 are also used to dealing with representatives of HUD and may be more familiar with the requirements of inspection.


It may be easier to find Section 8 housing in your city or county, as moving can be costly. However, Section 8 housing is a national program, therefore, can be used in any city in the United States, even if not the city where signed up vouchers. Consider contact HUD offices in other cities ahead of time to ensure you meet all the requirements of Section 8 housing in your new hometown.

Staying at home

If you are currently renting a house when applying Section 8, you’ll be able to stay in it. A representative of HUD should inspect your home to ensure that it meets the requirements of the program, such as having adequate space for all family members and all appliances are in good working order. The owner must also agree to accept Section 8 vouchers if the house meets these conditions will not have to move out once you receive your coupons.

Rental period

Once you find a suitable home and passes the inspection, you must sign a lease for at least a period of one year. During the period of one year, you must pay the rent on time and comply with all other terms of the lease. Your landlord must accept the rent and must make repairs when necessary during the rental period.

Buying a home

From 2011, you can use Section 8 vouchers to buy a house instead of renting if you buy first, and win at least US $ 10,853 per year and has been employed continuously for the past 12 months. You must attend an orientation session for homebuyers to learn about your responsibilities before you buy your home. This program works similarly to the way rental program: HUD’s local representative should inspect the house before you move home and if approved, pay a percentage of your mortgage costs each month.

Help for low-income homebuyers first

Buying a home is not something unattainable and those who do first have some advantages. If you did not buy or you were interested in a home in the last three years, you may qualify for rates lower interest rate or less fees. Also, you can qualify for a grant.


The Authority Federal Housing (FHA, its acronym in English), also known as HUD, allows homebuyers for the first time purchased with a down payment of 3.5%.Most mortgages require a minimum down payment of 20% unless the mortgage is insured. Any lender can offer FHA loan.

Other amounts

Grants are available for low-income buyers by state and are not necessarily limited to the purchase of a first home. According Down Payment Solutions, “you must meet the requirements established median income in your area.” Some grants cover the down payment and other costs, which are then returned when the house is sold.

Other options

The VA program is limited to eligible veterans and reservists and allows low-income buyers made no down payment or closing costs. Insures mortgage loans in rural communities, allowing a lower down payment. None is limited to first time buyers, but both have specific restrictions.


Homebuyers can qualify first for Assistance Act for Workers Homeownership and Business enacted in 2009, which extends the tax credit up to $ 8,000.