Those whose incomes fall below income limits set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which vary by region of the country qualify for governmental housing assistance. "Very low income" is defined as 50 percent of the median income in the geographic area, states HUD.gov.
Income limits are adjusted each year based on changes in median income and housing prices in a given geographic area. In areas where the housing prices are exceptionally high relative to median income, the threshold for qualified incomes increases. In areas where median incomes are higher but housing prices have remained low, income guidelines are lowered, notes HUD.gov
Those who seek to qualify for government housing assistance must apply to their local housing authority. The application includes household information such as names of those living in the household, total income and names of employers. After an application is approved, the applicant is placed on a waiting list for assistance and may wait several years prior to receiving assistance. When the housing authority is able to provide assistance, the recipient must lease an apartment or house approved and inspected by the housing authority. The rent paid by those receiving assistance is generally about 30 percent of the household income, states HUD.gov.