Do You Qualify for Subsidized Housing?

Do You Qualify for Subsidized Housing?

Let’s be real. Rents aren’t getting any cheaper, wherever you live. Meanwhile, wages don’t seem to stretch as far as they used to. In fact, some folks can’t find enough work to start with. Sucked into this toxic whirlpool of circumstances, you may need assistance finding a place to stay. The government can possibly help with housing, but first, you must establish your eligibility.


Instead of traditional public housing projects, current government policies place increasing numbers of needy renters into Section 8 schemes. Upon proof of very low income according to HUD criteria, your local Public Housing Agency gives you a voucher, usually for any unit owned by a private landlord willing to accept it.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development doesn’t go by a fixed dollar amount. Rather, your total household income cannot be more than half the median income where you live, and preferably should be less than 30 percent. You put 30 to 40 percent of your monthly adjusted income toward rent, and the housing authority handles the rest.

Financial Stability

Government aid aside, your rental arrangement is like any other. Landlords are allowed in all the usual ways to determine if a renter seems reliable, and to refuse those who don’t satisfy their standards.

Unit owners can run credit checks on potential tenants to confirm whether they’ll regularly pay their part of the rent. While landlords decide what counts as good or bad credit, having an insufficient credit history is different. You can’t be turned down on that basis.

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Criminal Record

Landlords have the right to reject tenants for certain forms of criminal activity, past or present. Expect screening services to search household members’ backgrounds. Landlords are specifically on the lookout for drug charges, violent and sexual crimes, or a history of behaviors that could pose a danger to others in the house. Participating in such activities while living on the premises is enough grounds for eviction. This applies not only to the named leaseholder, but to all household residents.

Housing History

Not surprisingly, most landlords will want to know what sort of tenant you are before leasing you their property. Landlords may choose to visit your current address and observe your living conditions. They may consider your hygiene practices, but only insofar as they could create health and safety concerns. They can also check with your previous landlords to see if you’ve ever been evicted and, if so, the reasons why.

Access to secure shelter is a basic human need and right. If you’re struggling to pay even minimal rent, contact your area housing agency for an application.

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