If you need help paying rent there are multiple additional types of programs available. Public and subsidized housing are the two most commonly known and commonly utilized programs. These programs were in existence prior to the pandemic and will continue far beyond it as well. What are the differences and similarities between public and subsidized housing programs in the U.S. today?
Both HUD-sponsored places that help with rent strive to make paying rent easier for low-income individuals and families. Each goes about achieving this goal in a slightly different manner, however. For example, both public and private housing assistance options are available through HUD. Both options provide significantly lower rent payments for approved tenants. Public housing offers less flexibility in residential options, however.
In fact, Public Housing assistance programs do not permit tenants to choose their own homes, whereas subsidized (Section 8) housing programs do. Some restrictions and additional criteria still exist pursuant to subsidized housing, however. For example, landlords must be willing to participate in Section 8 programs. Each residence must also meet HUD approval, which includes safety, pricing and numerous other qualification requirements.
Subsidized housing residences are also homes or apartments privately owned by landlords. This results in subsidized housing options often presenting better options aesthetically, locationally and otherwise for tenants. This is quite beneficial for tenants who are reliant upon Section 8 due to qualifying disabilities but otherwise would not be experiencing financial hardships. Section 8 landlords receive a majority of their rental payments from HUD, which is what allows them to rent to low-income individuals or families.
Public Housing programs do not let you choose your own home. This, and the fact most residences are located in overall lower-income areas are the primary differences between the two types of programs. Public Housing is also facilitated by local PHA agencies, with the local PHA serving as the landlord. Public Housing buildings are therefore not privately owned.
Calculating Your Public or Subsidized Housing Rent
Despite several differences, calculating the amount of rent you must pay for each program involves a similar method. Rental rates are not fixed and vary per state and situation. Your income is the primary determining factor when calculating the amount of rent you must pay for your Section 8 or Public Housing residence. In general, you will not be required to pay more than thirty-percent of your income on rent. Otherwise, the financial benefits of the program would be moot.
When applying for Public Housing you must submit your application directly to your local PHA along with applicable income verification documents. When applying for Section 8 or subsidized housing, you must apply through HUD. These processes are different depending on where you live, so be certain to contact the appropriate agency for more information on how to apply to avoid possible delays. Please note: When applying for Section 8 housing assistance you must find your own apartment and submit the location and building for approval along with all other requirements.