Understanding Income-Assisted Housing

When it comes to income-assisted housing, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Available options include a range of opportunities that will depend on age, living independence, length of stay and type of housing.


Independent vs. Assisted Living

Most types of low-income housing are designed for individuals able to live on their own. However, seniors may be eligible for vouchers or stays at a nursing home, hospice or other special care facilities through the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency. These facilities may exclusively serve HUD-subsidized individuals or accept both non-subsidized and HUD-sponsored individuals.


Length of Stay

Low-income housing options range from permanent placement to emergency shelter. Permanent housing simply means that there is not a limit on the length of time you can stay and/or receive assistance. Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is a form of long-term residence that helps individuals and families to maintain their living situation and access community resources.

HUD offers transitional housing for homeless individuals and families. These facilities are designed to help displaced individuals to transition to independent living. Stays are typically limited to no more than 1-2 years, and are often much shorter. Services to help residents become self-sufficient are also offered.


Temporary and Emergency Housing

These projects and programs are meant to be either very short-term (1-3 months), or simply provide overnight shelter for those who become homeless suddenly or experience a housing crisis.


Understanding Rental and Housing Types

Housing properties range from standard market-rate sites to subsidized project-based facilities.

Market-rate housing is defined as a property or properties managed or owned by individuals that either purchased the property at market value or pay market rent on the property. No subsidies are involved.

Affordable housing consists of properties whose construction was subsidized for the purpose of providing for low-income residents. These sites are required by law to offer below-market rents for people with financial needs, senior citizens, and those with disability.

Subsidized housing refers to tenant-based assistance. Programs like Section 8 and HOPWA Tenant Based Rental Asst provide individuals with need-based vouchers that can be used toward monthly rental payments in the community of their choice. However, the private landlord must be willing to accept these vouchers. Such programs typically require that tenants pay at least 30% of their total income toward rent and utilities. Other examples of low-income housing subsidy programs include:

  • Shelter Plus Care TBRA
  • ESG Rapid Re-Housing

Project-based subsidized housing requires that individuals and families reside in a unit at the project property. As with tenant-based subsidized housing, renters must usually pay 30% of income toward utilities and rent. Because these units are project-based, those who move from the property will lose their housing assistance.


Other Available Resources

In addition to low-income housing options, there are a variety of programs available that can help with housing placement and homeless prevention. Prevention programs are designed to provide temporary assistance with covering past due rents, mortgage payments, utility bills or other financial needs that put an individual or family at risk for eviction or displacement, while housing placement services assist with costs such as security deposits, application fees and utility connections.

There are many different low-income housing options depending on length of stay, income, age, and health status. These programs are designed to assist people with low incomes to live in a quality home while perhaps saving for something better. Find our if you qualify for one of these programs today. 

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