Requirements for Other Federal Housing Programs

There are other federal housing programs that have the same criminal history policies. Owners have discretion in admitting applicants with the following:

  • Convicted of producing methamphetamine at federally assisted housing.
  • Lifetime registered sex offender.
  • History of drug-related criminal activity.
  • History of violent criminal activity.
  • History of crimes that threaten health, safety, or peaceful enjoyment.
  • Current user of illegal substances.

Option 1: Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC)

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit program provides tax credits to investors who invest capital in properties that serve low-income households. Although the LIHTC program leaves property owners with discretion as to use of criminal records when reviewing applicants, it is very often used with other federal programs that have more restrictions regarding criminal history. You should check with the property owner or management company to confirm what funding and subsidy are associated with the apartments.

For more information about how to apply for a LIHTC unit, read Affordable Housing Online's LIHTC Guide.

Option 2: USDA Rental Housing Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers affordable housing programs that help low-income renters in rural areas: 

  • The Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program provides low-interest loans to developers of low-income apartment communities.
  • The Section 514 Farm Labor Housing Grant program makes grants for community based housing for migrant and seasonal farmworkers.
  • The Section 516 program provides low-interest loans to community organizations or farmers to build housing for farmworkers.

Apartments with Section 515 and Section 514/516 funding also often have rental assistance attached to them from the Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance program. Tenants living in apartments with Section 521 rental assistance pay 30% of their adjusted monthly income or 10% of their gross monthly income for rent. The owners of USDA-funded properties have discretion in how they apply criminal history.

In many cases, apartment communities built with USDA funding may have rental assistance from HUD, such as Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance. In that case, the stricter criminal history standards are used when reviewing applications. You should check with the property owner to confirm what funding and subsidy are associated with the apartments.