Affordable Housing Online is monitoring the federal government's response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. As of March 13, 2020, Public Housing Agencies across the nation are closing their doors to the public. Most offices are still running and will communicate by phone, email, or mail. Some offices have drop boxes installed outside, so documents can still be hand-delivered. Visit the housing authority's website for the latest on its current operations, if one is available. If there is no information online, contact the housing authority directly. Due to a high volume of calls and modified office hours in most areas, expect a long wait time (days or weeks) for a response. To find your local PHA's contact info, browse by state here.
An extensive list of coronavirus resources for low-income households can be found here.
The most important qualifier is income. For most housing programs, the general qualification requires that the household makes less than 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI) of that area to qualify.
To find an estimate of the AMI for your area of interest, you can search our website for your area and scroll down to our chart of income limits.
There are other significant qualifiers such as housing and criminal history. Past evictions and owing money to a housing authority may make it difficult to qualify. Having a criminal record may make it difficult for a person to receive housing, but it does not automatically disqualify them. Generally, offices are more lenient to persons with an arrest record, but persons with a conviction may find greater difficulty in qualifying. Furthermore, felons face much greater difficulty in qualifying, especially if it was a violence or drug related sentence. Each housing office operates differently, but may allow persons with a criminal record to qualify based on the length of time since the offense occurred, and the severity of the crime. Sex offenders will not qualify for affordable housing.
The Section 8 and Public Housing programs do not issue a credit check, but Section 8 landlords likely will, as well as individual affordable housing properties.
Even if you are placed on a waiting list, it is not a guarantee that you qualify for housing. Many housing offices do not determine eligibility until your name reaches the top of the waiting list.
Contact the housing office you apply through for more information about the qualification process. You can search our website for housing authority and apartment community contact information.
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