The HUD public housing program is available to low-income families and individuals, the elderly and the disabled. Eligibility is based on annual gross income, whether the applicant is an elderly or a disabled person, and U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status.
To qualify as a low-income individual or family, applicants must earn a percentage of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which they wish to live. The low-income limit is considered to be 80 percent of median income and the very-low-income limit is set at 50 percent. Local income limits are set by the area’s housing agents and vary by location and by family size.
Eligibility is also determined by the status of the individual’s or family’s personal references. It is the local housing agent’s job to place low-income individuals and families in adequate and safe rental properties but to also ensure that the habits of the person or persons do not disrupt the lives of the individuals currently residing in the building. HAs may deny the application of any individual or family expected to have a detrimental effect, and a visit to the applicant's current address may be required.
To apply for public housing, applicants should contact a local housing agent. Each applicant needs the name, birth date, sex and the relationship to the family’s head of each person expected to live in the new residence as well as the applicant's estimated income, present address and phone number. The agent may also require a list of family characteristics or circumstances, contact information for current and previous landlords, and contact information of employers and banks.