There aren’t many things that are more important than having somewhere to sleep at night. Unfortunately, for many people, most housing options are far beyond their means. For this reason, the United States government offers a few affordable housing options for low-income individuals and families. 


So what exactly is affordable housing and do you qualify?


What is Affordable Housing?

Affordable housing is a general term that includes a few different government-subsidized housing programs. These programs are meant to help provide reliable housing to low-income families, disabled individuals, and seniors. These programs include:

  • Government Public Housing:  This could include anything from an apartment to a single-family home. Currently, this is a very popular affordable housing program in the United States; however, this option is actively being replaced by private affordable housing options.
  • Private Affordable Housing:  Private real estate investors can also build low-income housing options in exchange for government tax credits. Often, apartment complexes will be built with only a certain amount of units set aside for affordable housing.
  • Section 8: Section 8 is one of the most common and the oldest affordable housing program in the country. Landlords participating in the Section 8 housing program are reimbursed by the government for a portion of their tenants’ rent.

Now that you know the main options for affordable housing, you probably need to figure out whether or not you are able to qualify for any of these programs.


Do You Qualify?

The requirements for affordable housing programs are fairly straightforward and easy to understand.



To be eligible for government-subsidized affordable housing, you need to be classified as a low-income individual or family. According to the federal government, the low-income classification includes people whose combined family income is less than 80% of the median income in your area. For example, if the median income in your area is $50,000, and your household makes $39,999 or less, you might qualify for affordable housing.

Unfortunately, however, just because you qualify doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to move in any time soon.


Waiting Lists

Due to limited government funding, affordable housing is only able to be provided to a certain amount of families – under five million. As a result, certain areas have incredibly long waiting lists for families waiting to be placed in affordable housing. Highly populated areas with large low-income populations like Los Angeles can have waiting lists up to 10 years long. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a less densely populated area, however, you might be lucky enough to be placed in an affordable housing program relatively quickly.

Government-subsidized affordable housing programs are one of the ways that low-income individuals and families can put a roof over their head without going further into poverty. Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of what is included under affordable housing and how you might qualify for one of these programs.