Low-cost housing projects provide decent and safe dwellings to eligible low-income families, the disabled and the elderly. Low-cost housing projects come in many sizes and types from single-family condominium units to high-rise apartments. There are roughly 1.2 million families living in low-cost housing projects. Each unit is managed by housing agencies of the responsible local government.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development provides aid to local housing agencies responsible for housing low-income individuals and families. The U.S. government furnishes technical assistance to plan, develop and manage these units.
Public housing is only available to low-income individuals and families. A housing agency determines eligibility based on the applicant’s annual gross income, the applicant's status as a disabled or elderly individual, or status as a citizen or as an eligible immigrant of the United States. The same criteria is taken into consideration for families who apply. In addition to these qualifications, individuals also must be referred to ensure appropriate behavior while living in the unit.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development sets the lower income limits at 80 percent and very low income limits at 50 percent of the median income for the area in which the applicant chooses to live. Income limits vary by area, so applicants may be eligible at one housing agency, but not at another.