Frequently Asked Affordale Housing Questions

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Section 8 is the common term for federal low-income rental assistance programs managed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The term Section 8 is usually used to describe the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, which helps tenants pay rent based on their income, and pays participating landlords the remainder of the rent. “Section 8” can also refer to the Section 8 Project-Based Voucher (PBV) program, and the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program. In both programs, the tenant typically pays 30% of their monthly income for housing costs. Section 8 may also refer to either the tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program or the Project-based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program. It gets its name from being Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937.
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Can I smoke in my apartment?

Under HUD regulations, smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes are not allowed in apartments, public areas or within 25 feet of Public Housing buildings. At this time the smoking ban does not apply to e-cigarettes, nor to HUD properties that participate in housing programs other than Public Housing. You may or may not be able to smoke in your affordable housing unit; depending on the policy of the housing authority, property management company, or landlord that manages your unit.
  • Public Housing residents may not smoke on premises as of July 31, 2018. More information about that ruling can be found here.
  • If you are a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher tenant, that policy is set by your landlord. The smoking policy should be identified on your lease.
  • For other housing programs, some housing agencies let its residents smoke, while others do not. The smoking policy should be identified on your lease for these programs, as well.
If a housing agency does have a no-smoking policy, there may be designated smoking areas outside. Also, it’s important to note that no-smoking policies do not mean that residents who smoke will be evicted. But they will be not be allowed to smoke on premise. Contact the housing authority, property management company, or landlord that manages your unit to confirm the smoking policy. You can use the search bar at the top of this page to search for housing authority and apartment community contact information.
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Are there HUD emergency housing assistance programs?

Yes, HUD provides funding for cities, counties, states, and Public Housing Agencies for emergency housing programs and resources. Most of these programs only offer temporary housing and assistance, but there are services for permanent housing as well. It is important to note that HUD’s rental assistance subsidy programs are not emergency housing programs. Participants of these programs (such as the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program and Public Housing) usually have to wait on awaiting list for several months or years before receiving assistance. Generally, large metropolitan areas will have longer wait times than lower populated areas. The specific services provided by every local agency varies. Program providers can explain which services are available.
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How do I apply for affordable housing assistance? 

Depending on the housing program you apply to, applications for an open waiting list will be available from the area’s housing authority, or by an affordable apartment community’s management company (or landlord). Housing authorities manage the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher and Public Housing programs, but not all offer both programs. The housing authority may also participate in other housing programs, and offer affordable apartment communities as well. In addition to programs available by housing authorities, property management companies and private landlords operate affordable apartment communities. How to get an application varies by each housing office. Applications are usually available online, in the office, or by calling to request one via mail. The housing authority pages on Affordable Housing Online provide information on how to apply to a specific waiting list. You can find more information on how to apply to open Section 8 waiting lists here, and open Public Housing waiting lists here. If information on how to apply is not available, contact the housing authority for assistance. Affordable apartment community pages on Affordable Housing online have buttons that allows you to email or call the property, and find out how to apply. If contact information is not available, visit the property in person. You can start your search for an affordable apartment here.

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Why is the wait so long?

Because of the high demand of affordable housing, and comparatively low supply, it is not rare to be on a waiting list for several years. For example, in some areas, 20,000+ people may apply through an office that is only placing 1,000 of those applicants on the waiting list. Generally, large metropolitan areas have long waiting lists, while lower populated areas have shorter waiting lists. There are housing authorities and apartment communities with very short waiting lists, or no waiting lists at all, but these opportunities are extremely rare. Also, the Section 8 and Public Housing programs tend to have the longest waiting lists. Affordable housing properties that offer other programs, such as the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit programs, likely have shorter waiting lists than Section 8 and Public Housing. You can search our website for your area of interest, and scroll down to the list of affordable housing communities that may have other programs available. Please contact the housing authority or apartment community for more information.

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What does eviction mean?

An eviction is when a landlord who owns a property removes a tenant who is occupying that property. A formal eviction requires the tenant and landlord to go through a legal process. Evictions may occur if the tenant does not follow the rules agreed to in the landlord’s lease, and in some areas, landlords do not need a reason to evict. Tenants may be evicted for a number of reasons, including not paying rent, destruction of property, illegal activity, disrupting other tenants on the property, or violating rules of a lease.
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What is HUD?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, commonly abbreviated as HUD, is the main agency that oversees federal affordable housing and community development programs. It was created as a cabinet-level department in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Since 2017, Ben Carson has served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the Trump Administration. The position was last held by Julian Castro from 2014 until 2017.
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How can homeownership benefit me?

  • Most of the time, a mortgage payment is lower than a rent payment.
  • The homeowner does not have to answer to a landlord or apartment manager.
  • If the mortgage is a fixed rate mortgage the monthly payments will never go up.
  • The homeowner will have more privacy than a renter and the homeowner can decorate their home in anyway they want.
  • A homeowner can have pets without paying a pet fee and can decide who lives in the home.
  • A homeowner has an investment that can be passed on to their children and if the homeowner buys a house in the right area, the worth of the home can quickly grow.
  • The homeowner will have a stable place to live that belongs to them (and the bank until it is paid off).
With these benefits come added responsibilities. Read the Affordable Homeownership Guide.
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Since this property has received funding in part through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, a certain number of units are set aside for lower income households. Households must earn either less than 50% or 60% of the area median income (depending on the set-aside option chosen by the property owner) to qualify for these units. Rents in these units are capped at a maximum of 30% of the set-aside area median income (adjusted for unit size). Some rental units in this property may not be subject to LIHTC and therefore have higher rents and no maximum household income requirement.
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