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Are you looking for low-income housing units for you or your family? The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees a variety of assistance programs that may be able to help. Qualified renters can find affordable apartments within public housing developments across the United States. These units are owned and operated by the government.

Public housing developments are owned by the housing authority, which serves as the landlord for all tenants within that development.

Find Cheap Apartments for Rent Through Public Housing Developments
public housing developments

Unlike Section 8 houses for rent, public housing units are not available through vouchers. This means that you do not have the freedom to choose your own dwelling. If you qualify for low-income housing through a public housing development, the local public housing authority (PHA) will assign you to a government-owned building.

To qualify for public housing, you must generally meet the income requirements for your area. HUD low-income housing is designed for individuals and families with incomes below the average median income in their respective areas. 

Specific income limits vary by location. Typically, you are considered low income if your total household income is between 50 to 80% of the area median income or AMI.

Eligibility for low-income housing through a public housing development also depends on the number of family members residing in your household. In general, the more family members you have, the higher the threshold for your income. That means you can earn more income and still qualify for assistance programs.

These types of affordable apartments charge rent differently than others. Instead of setting a fixed rental rate per unit, the housing authority considers your household income and comes up with a percentage.

Most tenants who live in public housing developments pay no more than 30% of their income on rent each month. Local PHAs are responsible for determining exact numbers, but this percentage helps ensure that participants have enough money to pay their rent along with other essential bills.

To apply for low-income housing through public housing developments, you must contact your local PHA. You will need to provide a variety of personal information and documents during the application process in order for the PHA to determine your eligibility for the program.

Due to the high demand for affordable apartments, you will likely be placed on a waiting list until a unit becomes available. You could spend several weeks or months waiting for a unit to become available. The availability of public housing varies depending on where you live.

Looking to rent a unit in a privately owned building? Consider the Low Income Housing Tax Credit option, which provides reduced rent for low-income families residing in privately owned buildings. Continue to the next slide to learn more about this program.