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Criminal Record Requirements for HUD Housing Programs.

  1. Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program
  2. Public Housing
  3. Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance
  4. Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Program (Mod-Rehab)
  5. Other HUD Programs
  6. HUD Programs with No Criminal Record Requirements

HUD oversees many housing programs that have the same criminal history policies, which are:

  • Permanent ban on admission, convicted of producing methamphetamine at federally assisted housing.

  • Permanent ban on admission for lifetime registered sex offenders.

  • Three-year ban, prior eviction from federally assisted housing for drug-related activity unless applicant is rehabilitated.

  • PHA/owner must deny admission for a current user of illegal substances.

  • PHA/owner has discretion to admit applicants with a history of drug-related offenses, violent criminal history or crimes that threaten health, safety or peaceful enjoyment of the property.

A list of the programs with these policies can be found below.

Option 1: Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program

The Section 8 HCV program provides tenants with a rental subsidy voucher that they can use to rent apartments from private landlords. Program participants pay 30% to 40% of the household's monthly income towards rent, and the rest is paid to the landlord by the PHA that administers the voucher. The HCV program allows tenants the freedom to rent any unit that meets the program's physical condition and cost guidelines.

For more information about how to apply for public housing, see Affordable Housing Online's Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Guide.

Option 2: Public Housing

The Public Housing program supports affordable rental apartment communities and scattered homes and apartments (known as "scattered sites") that are owned and operated by PHAs. The PHAs receive an operating subsidy for these apartments that allows tenants to pay a lower rent.  Public Housing tenants pay either 1) 10% of their monthly gross income (minus exclusions), 2) 30% of their monthly adjusted income gross income minus exclusions and deductions) or 3) a minimum rent of between $0 and $50 established by each housing authority independently.

For more information about how to apply for public housing, read Affordable Housing Online's Public Housing Guide.

Option 3: Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance

Administered by HUD, the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance program provides affordable apartment communities that are owned by private landlords, both nonprofit and for-profit. It provides landlords with a subsidy so that tenants pay for rent either 1) 10% of their monthly gross income (minus exclusions), 2) 30% of their monthly adjusted income gross income minus exclusions and deductions) or 3) a minimum rent of between $0 and $50 established by each housing authority independently.

For more information about how to apply for public housing, see Affordable Housing Online's Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance Guide.

Option 4: Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Program (Mod-Rehab)

Although this program was repealed in 1991, projects still exist with Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation contracts. These properties receive project-based rental assistance that allows tenants to pay 30% to 40% of their household income for rent.

Option 5: Other HUD Programs

  • The Section 202 program provides development capital and rental subsidies for apartment communities serving low-income seniors.

  • The Section 811 program provides similar resources for developing and operating properties serving disabled adults.

  • The Section 221(d)(3) and Section 236 programs provide mortgage guarantees that provide favorable financing for low-income rental developments making it possible for owners to charge lower rents.

  • HOME is a flexible block grant program where HUD provides funding to states and local governments to support affordable housing development and provide affordable rent for tenants.  HOME allows owner discretion in how they treat all criminal records in the application process. However, HOME is almost always used with other HUD funding that has requirements regarding review of criminal history as described above.

Option 6: HUD Programs with No Criminal Record Requirements

There are only a few HUD programs with no federal criminal background requirement, which mostly target the needs of homeless persons:

  • Shelter Plus Care and the Supportive Housing Program provide support for homeless shelters and transitional housing.

  • Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) provides housing and services for low-income people living with HIV and AIDS.