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Housing and Urban Development (HUD) assistance programs.

The federal government Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) coordinates a number of rent, income based, and low income housing or free voucher programs. The goal of HUD is to help low-income families, including the elderly, disabled and people with no money, find a safe and affordable place to live. The federal government agency administrates the programs at the national level but applications are done locally, and learn more about HUD housing assistance programs and applications below.

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. Some applications can be done online. The places to apply at for HUD programs 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:

  • Section 8 housing vouchers for low income families.
  • Seniors can receive rent assistance from Section 202 vouchers.
  • Housing for the disabled, including Section 811. This can help those living on SSI or SSDI among other benefits.
  • Each HUD affiliated agency will offer HUD funded emergency, low-income housing and rental assistance programs.
  • Assistance is also provided to families looking to buy a home, including mortgage and down-payment help.

Find more details on all these resources below. As noted, the Housing and Urban Development department partners with local non-profits, social service agencies and public housing authorities to process applications and operate waiting lists (if applicable).

HUD Section 8

There is an assistance program, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV), that will help families and individuals with paying rent over the mid to long term. It is for income-based homes, apartments or housing units. This means the tenant will need to pay some of their income (about 30%) towards their monthly rental payments.




The program provides an increase in the number of affordable housing choices for low income households. The Section 8 HUD voucher program allows families or individuals to choose privately owned rental housing or apartments to live in, and in general the voucher recipient has up to 60 days to find a property to lease per HUD terms 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.

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.

The HCV 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 the renter still need to pay a portion of their rent, but the program will pay the difference between what you can pay and what your total housing costs are. Read more on and find income based housing.

The federal government subsidized section 8 voucher housing programs help more than 1.5 million households in the United States with paying their rent every year. The department helps single moms, gig workers, veterans others who need a a place to live. The amount of financial aid provided often allows them to stay in their apartments or homes. Many single parents, veterans, disabled people and others have a place to live due to HUD.

HUD eviction assistance programs

It can take time to apply for a Section 8 voucher, and there can be a waiting list that takes years for section 8 to work through. However there are other programs that can help prevent evictions over the short term. The federal government’s HUD funded Eviction Prevention Program can provide short term grant money, rental assistance or counseling. In some cases, the renter has already been evicted and needs a place to stay, and HUD vouchers can help pay for a motel or hotel. These tend to be for a crisis, and find vouchers for the homeless.





There are also Housing and Urban Development programs that will help struggling tenants relocate an a more affordable home. Rapid rehousing assistance from HUD can often be combined with income or rent subsidized homes, as noted below.

How to apply for HUD rental help or housing programs?

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 government 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.

Section 8 portability allows low-income people or families with a HUD voucher to move. The Housing and Urban Development Department in effect allows the tenant to transfer their section 8 vouchers, or other HUD assistance program, to a new home or apartment. It is offered nationwide. Find details on the process for section 8 portability transfer.

  • Private landlord also rent out luxury apartments and houses to some people on Section 8. There are high end property owners, luxury apartment communities, kid or pet friendly homes and more offered in partnership with HUD. While the units are limited, there are options. Learn how to use section 8 for luxury apartments.

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.

HUD helps set up second chance apartments nationwide. Programs are offered with local housing authorities, private apartment communities and charities. There will be assistance for people (or families) with bad credit, that were incarcerated in the past, that have had an eviction. Locate apartments near you that accept evictions.

There is another low income housing 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.

HUD housing programs1A 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.

Housing and Urban Development home buying programs

Homebuyers or owned can also benefit from HUD programs, including section 8. The rental vouchers can be used to help pay a mortgage or buy a home. Or the funds can be used for a downpayment on a property.  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.

The section 8 homeowner program helps low-income families or those paycheck to paycheck, or that can’t come up with the downpayment, to purchase a home. As HUD will help offset some of the cost of the mortgage payment using the voucher. Learn more about homeownership through section 8.

HUD 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, charities, churches and local public housing authorities. This Continuum of Care from HUD 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. HUD funds can be used to pay for motel vouchers, operate homeless shelters, or coordinate low-income, emergency housing as well. Anything around encouraging affordable, fast access to housing and/or homeless prevention is a focus. Read more on HUD emergency housing vouchers.

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, including veterans, the low-income and unemployed, 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 or emergency housing should contact non-profit agencies in their local communities to learn more.

Anyone in need of a place to live can inquire about section 8, include Section 202 housing vouchers for seniors as well as rent assistance for the disabled from Section 811. Call the HUD counseling hotline at 800-569-4287 to learn about any of the other assistance programs referenced above. Or find a list of topics from HUD which also offers information.


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By Jon McNamara


















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