The rental assistance program is a U.S. Federal government program that pays a portion of the rent for low-income residents living in modest homes or in public housing. Federal rental assistance includes Section 8 project-based rental assistance, public housing and housing choice vouchers.
The Department of Urban Development oversees the distribution of housing assistance monies for the vast majority of people receiving rental aid. In addition to assisting low-income individuals, rental assistance programs provide funds for individuals with unique challenges, such as people with disabilities, elderly persons and those suffering from chronic illnesses, such as AIDS. Smaller rental assistance programs are administered by states but fall under the administrative auspices of the United States Department of Agriculture.
Families with children and the elderly receive the majority of rental assistance funds, and disabled adults without children receive a large portion as well. To receive rental assistance from the government, individuals must meet low-income eligibility requirements. The typical recipient has an extremely low income that doesn't rise above a certain percentage of the poverty line. Priority for assistance is given to persons who spend at least half of their income on rent. Many applicants for rental assistance are placed on a waiting list, and if approved for assistance, are required to pay a minimum amount towards monthly rent.