The primary qualifications for housing under the programs offered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are the applicant’s level of income and citizenship status. Among the additional factors considered in the qualifications for HUD housing are whether an individual is elderly or disabled and the size of his or her family. After the initial determination is made of an individual or family meeting the qualifications for HUD housing, the character of the applicant also is taken into account.
HUD offers two programs to provide housing assistance. They are the public housing program and the Section 8 program. The income aspect of the qualifications for HUD housing under each of these programs varies according to the area in which the housing is located. The limits are determined annually by HUD based on that area's median income.
The housing programs offered by HUD are administered by local authorities. The public housing program consists of multi-family rental units managed by the local housing authority, which rents directly to the tenant at a reduced rate of rent. To be eligible for this type of public housing, the tenant’s income level cannot exceed a certain percentage of the median income for that area. As of 2011, this percentage was set at 80 percent.
Under the Section 8 program, a rental voucher is issued to the eligible tenant that can be used to rent available housing on the open market. This program also is administered by the local housing authority. The landlord must agree to participate in the Section 8 program for the property to be eligible, and the level of rent charged cannot exceed a fair rental amount as determined by HUD. Under this program, the income level of the applicant’s household must be less than a certain percentage of the area’s median income — 50 percent, as of 2011.
The other principal factor in the qualifications for HUD housing involves citizenship. For either of the HUD housing programs, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen or be an eligible immigrant. A non-citizen who is a legal resident alien would qualify for the programs.
After the income and citizenship qualifications for HUD housing have been satisfied, the local housing authority is charged with verifying the character of the proposed tenant. A local housing authority can deny an application for HUD housing if it determines that the applicant will not be a suitable occupant. The applicant will often be required to provide personal references for this purpose.