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Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rent Assistance Programs.

The federal government Housing and Urban Development department coordinates a number of rent, housing, and low income programs. Individuals will need to apply for rent help or income based apartments at their local housing authority, social service agency, or non-profits in their community. The places to apply at are listed below as well as the various types of HUD resources. The various housing program that are either funded or coordinated by HUD include:

HUD Section 8

There is an assistance program, the Section 8 Rental Voucher Program, that will help families and individuals with paying rent over the mid to long term. The program provides an increase in the number of affordable housing choices for low income households, and the voucher program allows families to choose privately owned rental housing or apartments to live in. Vouchers are distributed to those families in need to help them pay a portion of their rent. Also, find out below how get help that will prevent an eviction.

The program will generally pay the landlord the difference between 30 percent of the families total household income and the PHA-determined payment standard, which is about 80 to 100 percent of what is called the fair market rent (FMR). What this means is that you still need to pay a portion of your rent, but the program will pay the difference between what you can pay and what your total housing costs are.


The monthly rate must be competitive and reasonable as determined by HUD. The household may decide to choose a unit with a higher monthly rent than the FMR. If they do this then they need to pay the landlord the difference in rent, or they can choose a lower cost unit and keep the difference.




Together, these government subsidized housing programs help more than 1.4 million households in the United States with paying their rent each and every year. The amount of financial aid provided often allows them to stay in their apartments or homes. Research has indicated that vouchers are a highly effective form of providing housing assistance and they also lead to success for low-income adults in the workplace and result in a positive outcome for children. This is just one of the HUD voucher resources that is available from section 8 public housing authorities. As indicated above there are also government housing programs specifically for seniors and the disabled.

What about eviction assistance?

It can take time to apply for a voucher, and there can be a waiting list that takes years to work through. However there are other programs that can help prevent evictions over the short term. The federal government’s Eviction Prevention Program can provide short term grants, counseling, and more to help people stay in their homes and apartments.

How does a family use the aid?

Once a family or individual in need receives a voucher from the government, the family has at least 60 days to find housing. They can select an apartment, townhome, mobile home or another type of property. The landlord or owner of the rental units needs to agree to participate in this Housing and Urban Development program.

How do I apply for HUD rent help?

Most of the programs are offered at the state or local government level. Many community action agencies or public housing authorities (PHA) will also accept applications. Find a listing of various state resources, agencies, and community action agencies, all of which may accept applications. Find state and county governemnt assistance programs.





Or, you can contact the public housing agencies (PHAs) that are located in your state and/or county, as these government agencies often run the HUD section 8 program as well as those resources for seniors or the disabled. Learn more on how to apply for section 8.

Each state has a centralized housing authority office that works with the local centers in your county, town, or city. They will oversee and distribute Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants and rental vouchers to the local sites. Many of these state offices also offer other services, such as home repairs, landlord/tenant medication, and even home buying programs. More on government housing authorities.

Individuals with some form of disability can also receive help from the Housing and Urban Development. There are several programs available including section 811, low income housing, or Certain Developments Vouchers. PHAs also process applications for these resources. Click more disabled housing programs.

HUD also provides many other low income housing programs. Tenants that need vouchers to pay their rental costs can apply and there are also government resources for homeowners, such as mortgage help. The goal is to ensure the availability of homes for working poor as well as other families. Find a listing of housing assistance programs.

How much of my rent payment will vouchers cover?

A family requesting help from this program is generally required to contribute 30 percent of their income for paying utilities and rent. The voucher will then pay the rest of those costs, typically up to a limit (called a "payment standard") that is established by the government organization. This is also referred to as the fair market rent.

Can rental vouchers be used to pay other costs or bills?

Yes. These vouchers/grants can sometimes be used to help pay mortgage payments or be used towards the downpayment of a house, thus helping low-income families purchase homes. in some cases they can help a homeowner delay a foreclosure of their home. Vouchers from HUD can sometimes also be used to help pay for repairs or “rehabilitation” of housing for low-income families.





Local programs known as tenant based vouchers

There is another low income program that is run at the state or local county level. It is known as TBRA and it can provide funds to pay rent or it can offer grants or low interest loans to pay security deposits on their apartment. In addition to that, in some cases there may be help from HUD for paying utility deposits for their electric service. Read more on Tenant Based Rental Assistance.

Can I find my own housing or apartment?

Yes, participants in the Section 8 rent assistance program are able to find their own apartment or housing unit and are not limited to selecting only subsidized projects. Clients do not need to live in some form of public housing center. There are various conditions that need to be met though.

A rental unit you select must meet minimum housing standards of both safety and health. Also, it is highly recommended by HUD that the monthly rent due to the landlord be competitive, otherwise the recipient of the voucher will need to contribute even more of their own income towards the monthly costs.

A review of the home or apartment selected will be done by the local public housing authorities that administer the program to those who need rent help. For people that need guidance with this selection process, participants can also use apartment and home finding services that are offered by the Housing and Urban Development or meet with a counselor who can assist in their search. Read more and find how to locate low income subsidized housing.

How do the rent grants get paid?

The housing grant will be paid to the landlord directly by the local or government housing authority on behalf of the participating family who is in the program. The family then pays any difference in total rent charged between the actual monthly rent charged by the landlord and the amount of the grant that is subsidized by the government program.

Continuum of Care homeless assistance

States as well as local counties and towns may receive grants from the Housing and Urban Development Department. The funds are issued to non-profits, community action agencies, and local public housing authorities. This is another program that is fully supported by HUD as well as the federal government.

Communities will then use this federal money to implement emergency rent assistance programs or establish transitional and permanent housing in their area. The objective of the HUD Continuum of Care program is to both prevent evictions and future homeless and to also house those that need a place to live. Struggling families can inquire into this resource at non-profit in their community.





Additional Housing and Urban Development rental programs

While many housing programs are funded by HUD, applications are accepted and funds are distributed at the local level. People who need help paying rent or who need to sign up for low income housing should contact non-profit agencies in their local communities to learn more. Resources to inquire about include Section 202 housing vouchers for seniors as well as rent assistance for the disabled from Section 811. Get information on other state and local assistance programs.

By Jon McNamara

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