Financial-assistance programs for housing offer subsidized, but not free, rent and are found by contacting the local housing authority office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, explains the department's website. The department's website lists the contact information for the approximately 3,300 housing authority offices across the country.
Public housing is available exclusively to low-income families and individuals, HUD notes. Qualification standards are based on gross annual income and classification as elderly, disabled or a family unit. U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status are required for acceptance into public-housing programs. Housing agencies also conduct background checks on potential applicants. Applicants with background history predictive of behavior that is detrimental to other tenants and the community are denied admission into public housing programs.
Income limits are set by HUD, states HUD's website. HUD sets income limits between 50 and 80 percent of the median household income for individual counties or metropolitan areas. Local housing agencies provide applicants with the income limits for their geographical region.
Local housing agencies administer the housing assistance programs for their regions, according to HUD. HUD provides the housing agencies with federal financial aid and assistance in planning, managing and developing housing-assistance programs. More than 1.2 million U.S. households live in public housing. Public housing options range from single-family homes to high-rise buildings and are available in rural or urban areas.