Find Affordable Rental Housing

Find programs to help with affordable rental housing.

Find Affordable Rental Housing

People with low income, seniors, and people with disabilities may qualify for help from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to get affordable rental housing. HUD doesn't own rental property. It gives money to states and building owners, who in turn provide low-income housing opportunities.

Get Personalized Help with Your Search

Find a HUD-approved housing counselor in your area online or call 1-800-569-4287 to find a local housing counseling agency. The counselor may be from a non-profit organization approved to offer advice on housing assistance.

Search by Type of Program

 There are three main types of affordable rental housing that are supported by HUD:

  • Privately owned, subsidized housing in which landlords are subsidized to offer reduced rents to low-income tenants. Search for an apartment and apply directly at the rental management office. 
  • Public Housing, which is state-owned, affordable rental houses or apartments for low-income families, people who are elderly, and people with disabilities. To apply, contact a public housing agency in your state.
  • Housing Choice Voucher Program in which you find a rental property yourself, and use the voucher to pay for all or part of the rent. To apply, contact a public housing agency in your state.

If you have trouble contacting your local public housing agency, contact your local HUD field office for help.

If you're a landlord, learn how you can participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

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Help with Home Repairs and Modifications

If you plan to repair or renovate your home, government programs may make it easier for you to afford those home improvements.

What help is available?

The most common type of financial help from the government for home repairs or modifications is through home improvement loans programs backed by the government. Some programs are available nationwide, while others are only available at the state or county level.

Find Loans and Other Incentives

Assistance for Certain Demographic Groups

Am I Eligible?

Eligibility requirements vary from program to program. In general, it depends on income level, age of the homeowner, type of property, or where the property is located.

How do I apply?

Reach out to the federal, state, or county government agency that administers the program. Loans are made by traditional lenders, but the government programs help these lenders make loans that they might normally not fulfill. Grants are available depending on your income level and work to be done. Contact your local government housing office or nonprofit programs in your area that may have received funding from HUD.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Tips for Hiring a Contractor

Finding a good contractor to do repairs and improvements on your home is important. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides resources and tips on hiring a contractor, including questions to ask and how to report problems.

Watch Out for Utility Lines Before You Dig - Call 811

Before digging on your property, call 811. Utilities will come out to mark the area to help you avoid damaging or being injured by underground utility lines. Timing for processing your request differs from state to state. Some states allow for an online digging request.

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Help with Rent Payments

Contact the following agencies to find out if you qualify for help with your rent payments:

Contact your state human/social service agency:

  • If you need immediate, emergency assistance
  • To find out what other help may be available for you locally 

Even if you are ineligible for benefits through these agencies, they may be able to provide referrals to community organizations that might offer help. You may also search for and contact community or nonprofit organizations in your area directly for help or referral information.

Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers the HUD-VASD for homeless veterans. It combines HUD housing vouchers with VA supportive services.

Senior Citizens

The Eldercare Locator is a free service that can connect you with resources and programs designed to help seniors in your area.

Rural Residents

Local Rural Development (RD) offices can help rural residents through the Rural Housing Service.

 

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Housing Choice Voucher Program (Formerly Section 8)

What help is available?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8) is a program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that helps pay for rental housing for low income families or people who are elderly or disabled throughout the United States.

Participants in this program are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments and use Housing Choice Vouchers to pay for all or part of the rent.

Am I eligible?

Eligibility for a Housing Choice Voucher is determined by your local Housing Authority. A representative will determine your eligibility for a voucher based on:

  • Your annual gross income

  • Whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family

  • U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status

  • Other local factors

  • Calculations are based on the total annual gross income and family size

In general, a family's income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live for eligibility.

Each state or city may have different eligibility requirements for housing programs. Contact your local Public Housing Agency to learn about your eligibility for Housing Choice Vouchers.

How do I apply?

To apply for Housing Choice Vouchers, contact a Public Housing Agency in your state. If you need more assistance, contact your local HUD office.

  • You will need to fill out a written application or have a representative of your local Public Housing Authority (PHA) assist you.
  • A representative of your local Public Housing Authority will collect information on your family income, assets, and family composition.
  • The PHA will verify this information with other local agencies, your employer, and bank, and will use the information to determine program eligibility and the amount of your housing assistance payment.
  • The PHA determines a payment that is the amount generally needed to rent a moderately-priced home in the local housing market and that is used to calculate the amount of housing assistance a family will receive.
  • The maximum housing assistance (Housing Choice Voucher) is generally the lesser of the standard payment for your area minus 30% of your family's monthly adjusted income or the gross rent for the unit minus 30% of your family’s monthly adjusted income.
  • The housing selected by your family must meet an acceptable level of health and safety before the PHA can approve the unit.
  • After you are approved for Housing Choice Vouchers, When you find a unit that you wish to occupy and reach an agreement with the landlord over the lease terms, the PHA must inspect the dwelling and determine that the rent requested is reasonable.


How do I check the status of an application?

If your local Public Housing Authority determines that your family is eligible for Housing Choice Vouchers, the PHA will put your name on a waiting list, unless it is able to assist you immediately. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, the PHA will contact you and issue to you a housing voucher.

How do I complain/where do I call for extra help?

If you need assistance applying for Housing Choice Vouchers or getting information about housing programs, you should contact your local Housing Agency.

If you need further assistance, contact your local HUD branch office.

For information by phone about any housing question or if you need to file a complaint about your local Housing Agency, contact the PIH Customer Service Center at (800) 955-2232 (Toll-Free) from 9 am to 5 pm EST Monday - Friday, except for federal holidays

If you feel that you have been a victim of housing discrimination, File a housing discrimination complaint.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Since the demand for housing assistance often exceeds the limited resources available to HUD and the local housing agencies, long waiting periods are common. Approval for vouchers in one city or state does not guarantee approval for vouchers in another city or state.

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Identify and Complain about Housing Discrimination

Housing discrimination happens when a housing provider acts in a way that blocks someone from renting or buying housing because of their

  • Race or color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National origin
  • Familial status (such as having children)
  • Disability

A housing provider that discriminates against someone could be a landlord or a real estate management company. It could also be a lending institution like a bank or other organization that is an important part of acquiring a home.

Housing discrimination is prohibited by the Fair Housing Act. Discrimination covered by the Act can take many different forms beyond just raising prices or lying about availability. For example, the Act addresses wheelchair access in some newer properties. Learn what the Fair Housing Act covers, how to complain, and how the investigation process works.

File a Housing Discrimination Complaint

If you think you are a victim of housing discrimination,

 

Discrimination Against LGBT People

The Fair Housing Act does not specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. But discrimination against someone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) may still be in violation of the Act or other state or local regulations.  If you think you've been discriminated against for these reasons, file a complaint as described above, or email HUD at LGBTFairhousing@hud.gov with general questions about LGBT housing issues. 

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Public Housing

What help is available?

Public Housing is state-owned, affordable rental houses or apartments for low-income families, people who are elderly, and people with disabilities administered by The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Public housing is located all over the United States and comes in all sizes and types, from single family houses to highrise apartments.

Am I eligible?

A Housing Authority representative in your area will determine your eligibility for public housing based on:

  • Your annual gross income

  • Whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family

  • U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status

  • Other local factors

Housing Authorities use income limits developed by HUD to determine eligibility. HUD sets the lower income limits at 80% and very low income limits at 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which you choose to live.

Income limits vary from area to area so you may be eligible at one area’s Housing Authority but not at another.

Each state or city may have different eligibility requirements for housing programs. Contact your local Public Housing Agency to learn about your eligibility for federal and local public housing programs, Housing Choice vouchers, rental assistance or subsidized housing.

How do I apply?

To apply, contact a Public Housing Agency in your state. Here’s what you can expect during the application process:

The application must be written. Either you or the Housing Authority representative from your Public Housing Agency will fill it out.

A Housing Authority representative  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 Housing Authority representative would need to verify your income and deductions and to verify the family composition

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

After obtaining this information, the Housing Authority representative should describe the public housing program and its requirements, and answer any questions you might have.

A Housing Authority representative will request whatever documentation is needed (e.g., birth certificates, tax returns) to verify the information given on your application.

The Housing Authority will also rely on direct verification from your employer, etc. You will be asked to sign a form to authorize the release of pertinent information to the Public Housing Authority.

How do I check the status of an application?

Your Housing Authority has to provide written notification of the status of your application. If the Housing Authority determines that you are eligible, your name will be put on a waiting list, unless the Housing Authority is able to assist you immediately. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, the Housing Authority will contact you.

How do I complain/where do I call for extra help?

If you need assistance applying for public housing or getting information about housing programs, you should contact your local Housing Agency.

If you need further assistance, contact your local HUD branch office.  

For information by phone about any housing question or if you need to file a complaint about your local Housing Agency, contact the PIH Customer Service Center at (800) 955-2232 (Toll-Free) from 9 am to 5 pm EST Monday - Friday, except for federal holidays

If you feel that you have been a victim of housing discrimination, File a housing discrimination complaint.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Since the demand for public housing is often larger than the amount of housing available to HUD and the local Housing Authorities, long waiting periods are common. A HA may close its waiting list when there are more families on the list than can be assisted in the near future.

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Last Updated: August 25, 2017

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