What is affordable housing?


Affordable Housing is a residence with government assistance that helps low and moderate-income households pay their monthly rent.

Affordable Housing units are often apartments in a larger building. Units may also be a single-family home, townhome, condominium, or co-op.

Housing programs for low-income renters require households to pay only a portion of their monthly income for rent. Some of the more well known programs for low-income renters include:

  • Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher
  • Public Housing
  • Section 8 Project-Based Voucher

Moderate-income renters may not qualify for housing programs that offer income-based rent. However, there are housing programs that keep a unit’s monthly rent at an affordable rate. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program requires a minimum household income, and has rent rates at (or below) Fair Market Rent.

Most affordable housing assistance comes from federal programs operated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). There are also federal programs operated by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Many states, counties and cities nationwide also have locally-based affordable housing programs.

More Housing Policy, Landlords, and Tenants FAQs from Low Income Households

  • How many bedrooms am I eligible for?
  • How much would my rent be?
  • Can I be evicted if my HUD apartment is sold?
  • How Much Are Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Worth
  • What should a landlord expect when renting to a Section 8 voucher holder?