The United States federal government and individual states give out housing grants to low-income families to help meet their housing requirements. These families are sometimes living on the streets or are in danger of doing so and must meet specific income criteria to qualify for the grants.
Several different government departments and programs extend housing grants, as do nongovernmental organizations such as the Salvation Army. Depending on the sources of the grants, they are often used to help first-time homeowners with their down payments or to help low-income families pay their mortgages or rent.
Two primary federal agencies administer housing grants: the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). HUD provides housing grants for rural areas as long as the recipients live in open country, in cities of fewer than 10,000 inhabitants or in specified cities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants. These funds are channeled through states and can be used to fund very low-, low- or moderate-income families. The classification into different income levels is based on a percentage of the median income level of the area. States in their turn may disburse resources for housing grants to local governments, as well as to NGOs and private businesses.