What Is HUD Housing Assistance?

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, was established under the War on Poverty initiative created by President Lyndon B. Johnson on the 9th of November, 1965. The HUD helps the federal government to coordinate and resolve issues surrounding urban housing, such as substandard housing and unsafe, deteriorating housing units. The HUD assimilated and consolidated many older and obsolete federal agencies. 

    The HUD is responsible for creating the national housing policy and different programs to acknowledge and resolve housing needs in the United States, develop and improve communities, and ensure fair housing for all citizens. The basic objective behind creating the HUD was to provide decent homes and a suitable living environment for all Americans. 

    In 2018, the HUD provided housing assistance to nearly 5.4 million households, including 1.2 million low-income elderly households, over 2.2 million households with children, over 1.3 million non-elderly disabled households, and over 1.2 million households with incomes below 30% of the area’s median income.

    HUD housing assistance is a program administered by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that provides subsidized housing for low-income families and individuals. The federal government funded the program and provides rental assistance to qualifying households.

    Are you a resident of Texas looking to buy your first home? Check out our article first-time homebuyer grants in Texas.

    Overview of HUD Housing Assistance

    Overview of HUD Housing Assistance

    HUD housing assistance is available in public housingSection 8 housing choice vouchers, and project-based rental assistance. Local public housing authorities own and manage public housing and provide affordable rental units for eligible families. 

    Section 8 housing choice vouchers are administered by local public housing authorities and provide rental assistance to qualifying families who can find a suitable rental unit on the private market. Project-based rental assistance is provided directly to private landlords and provides rental assistance to qualifying families who can find a suitable rental unit in the private market.

    What Has the HUD Accomplished?

    The HUD has achieved a lot of results over the past few decades. Its efforts have positively impacted thousands of communities nationwide, and millions of American citizens have benefited from its programs. 

    The following numbers reflect how HUD’s housing and development programs have impacted Americans.

    • The FHA has insured thirty million single-family home mortgages since 1934.
    • 1.1 million additional new homeowners used FHA mortgages.
    • Ginnie Mae’s Mortgage-Backed Security added over $1.5 trillion to the United States’ affordable mortgage funds due to its lower market rates and incentives for homeowners.
    • HUD is working to provide shelter for the elderly, homeless, disabled, Native Americans, and people with AIDS across the United States.
    • Over 4.3 million low-income families have access to safe and low-cost housing through the different programs of the HUD.

    How Does Public Housing Work?

    Public housing programs provide direct payments to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) and Indian Housing Authorities (IHAs) to develop and operate housing for low-income families. The Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) administers HUD’s public housing programs. 

    HUD provides financial assistance to about 3,350 public and Indian housing authorities that provide public housing and services to 1.3 million households.

    Direct funding to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) and Indian Housing Authorities (IHAs) is provided through the public housing program to assist with developing and operating low-income housing for low-income families. 

    As part of HUD’s public housing program, the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) carries out program administration tasks. 3,350 public and Indian housing authorities receive financial assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides housing and services to 1.3 million individuals.

    HUD Programs for the Homeless

    HUD Programs for the Homeless

    Funds from HUD are given to state and local governments and NGOs to assist homeless individuals and families. Through these funds, homeless and vulnerable individuals and low-income families can move from the streets to temporary homes and supportive housing to finally move back into society. 

    It was in 1987 that the HUD began its first direct homelessness programs with the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. The CPD administers most of HUD’s homeless assistance programs, including the following.

    Shelter Plus Care

    An estimated 940 homeless and disabled individuals receive housing and supportive services through Shelter Plus Care, a HUD-funded rental assistance program. Shelter Plus Care has three main objectives:

    • To increase housing stability for the homeless across the United States.
    • To increase the income and skills of homeless people.
    • To help homeless people obtain greater self-sufficiency.

    The Shelter Plus Care program attends to the rental needs of homeless people with chronic disabilities. Public housing agencies, state and local governments, and Indian tribes can receive funds from the program.

    Every recipient must provide support services equal to rental assistance to be eligible for funds. Supportive services are available for people with mental illness, substance abuse, AIDS, and related diseases. 

    Shelter Plus Care Eligibility Criteria

    To qualify for the Shelter Plus Care program, applicants must adhere to the following eligibility criteria:

    • You must have been in the streets or shelters for more than twelve months (four times in the last three years or consecutively) and have a qualifying disability.
    • You must meet the HUD’s definition of homelessness.
    • At least one adult household member should have a verifiable, long-term disability that prevents her from having an independent life. Their lives could be significantly improved if they had better housing. The eligible disabilities include the following:
      • Substance-use disorders
      • Serious mental disorders
      • Developmental disability disorders
      • PTSD
      • Cognitive impairments due to brain injury
      • Chronic physical illnesses or disabilities
    • The applicant’s household earns less than 50% of the area’s median income. 

    Supportive Housing Program

    The HUD’s Supportive Housing program provides grants to the state and local governments, Indian tribes, and NGOs to assist homeless individuals, families, and disabled people with short-term transitional housing and services. This program also provides funds for longer-term or permanent housing options for disabled people who are homeless. 

    The participating state/local governments and agencies must match housing costs along with some operating costs. The following are provided to eligible participants by the Supportive Housing program to ensure affordable and free housing for disabled people.

    • Acquisition
    • Rehabilitation
    • New Construction 
    • Annual payments for operating costs 
    • Supportive services
    • Technical assistance. 

    Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation (SRO)

    For Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation grants, public and Indian housing agencies compete with private nonprofits based on local needs and the ability to provide homeless persons with single-room occupancy (SRO) housing.

    Emergency Shelter Grants 

    Another form of housing assistance that the HUD offers is Emergency Shelter Grants. These grants are provided to states, entitlement cities and counties, and Indian tribes for the renovation, rehabilitation, and conversion of unused or old buildings so that they may serve as shelters for homeless individuals and families. 

    The recipients of the Emergency Shelter Grants can also use the funds for running emergency shelters and providing food, healthcare, education, and other essentials to the homeless. Moreover, 30 percent of the total assistance that goes to a state may be set aside to sustain efforts undertaken to prevent further homelessness.

    Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) 

    HOPWA, or Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, is a HUD program that offers housing assistance and support services to prevent low-income HIV/AIDS patients and their families from becoming homeless. 

    This program was initiated in 1992 under the AIDS Housing Opportunities Act, which was a part of the Cranston-Gonzales National Affordable Housing Act of 1990 to formulate comprehensive strategies to cater to the housing problems faced by AIDS patients and their families. The activities that are eligible for HOPWA include: 

    • The construction, acquisition, renovation, and operation of facilities
    • Rental assistance and short-term housing payments
    • Supportive services
    • Technical assistance
    • Other housing-related activities.

    About 90% of HOPWA funds are awarded on a formula basis to various states and metropolitan areas with the highest incidence of AIDS cases. The remaining 10% is awarded to state/local governments and charitable institutions to develop model programs to eradicate homelessness.

    Who Is Eligible For HUD Housing Assistance?

    Who Is Eligible For HUD Housing Assistance?

    Individuals and families must be low-income to apply for HUD housing assistance. As part of determining your eligibility for HUD housing assistance, the relevant Public Housing Authority (PHA) will consider your household income, your eligibility as an elderly, disabled, or very low-income family, as well as your citizenship status or immigration status. 

    If the PHA finds you eligible, it will then proceed to check your references from previous landlords to ensure your family’s good conduct as potential tenants. The applicants whose conduct is expected to be detrimental to their neighbors or may negatively impact the project’s smooth operation are denied HUD housing assistance.

    A housing authority uses the income levels stated by HUD to determine low-income status. These income levels are as follows:

    • Lower income limits: 80% or less of the county’s or metropolitan area’s median income.
    • Very Low-Income Limits: 50% or less of the county’s or metropolitan area’s median income. 

    Since these income limits differ depending on the area of residence, you might be ineligible for housing assistance from one housing authority, but you may be eligible at another. Therefore, you must contact your local HUD office to learn more about the appropriate income levels in your area.

    HUD Housing Assistance Application Process

    To apply for HUD housing assistance, you contact the relevant PHA and then either fill out the written application yourself or with the assistance of a PHA representative. In your application, you’ll need to provide the following information for the housing authority to determine your eligibility.

    1. Names, dates of birth, and sexes of all potential residents of the housing unit.
    2. Your contact information (current address and phone number).
    3. The characteristics of your family or its circumstances may qualify it for preferential selection (e.g., veterans in the family, current substandard housing, etc.).
    4. Names and contact information of your existing and past landlords.
    5. An estimated amount and the sources of your family’s anticipated income over the next twelve months.
    6. Names and contact information of your employers and banks to verify your income estimates and sources.

    In addition to the information you provide, you’ll need to provide relevant documents to establish your eligibility for the program. The PHA may also want to visit your current home to interview you and your family members and inspect the upkeep of your existing home.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    What is HUD housing assistance?

    HUD housing assistance refers to various programs and services provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help low-income individuals and families obtain affordable housing. These programs aim to ensure safe and decent living conditions and promote self-sufficiency for those in need.

    What are some examples of HUD housing assistance programs?

    Some examples of HUD housing assistance programs include the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), Public Housing, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). These programs offer rental assistance, affordable housing units, and financial support for energy costs to eligible low-income households.

    How can I apply for HUD housing assistance?

    To apply for HUD housing assistance, you should first determine your eligibility based on your income, household size, and other criteria. Next, research the specific program(s) you are interested in and follow the application process outlined by the local Public Housing Agency (PHA) or other designated organizations. The application process may involve submitting paperwork, attending interviews, and being placed on a waiting list, as demand for assistance often exceeds available resources.

    Is your home in dire need of repairs, but you have no funds? 

    Read our blog post about free grants for home repairs. If you are interested in other grants and assistance programs to help improve your living situation, check out our other resources at Gov-Relations