The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determines a household's eligibility for housing assistance by verifying annual income, family characteristics and eligible citizenship or immigration status. Households with an income below 80 percent of an area's median income and good references are considered, according to the HUD website.
Income limits for housing assistance vary by city and state because of the different median income in each area. A household could be eligible for housing assistance in one area but ineligible in another area. As of 2015, the HUD provides information on income limits online. The income limits are based on the 2015 poverty guidelines created by the Department of Health and Human Services. The local housing authority selects families for housing assistance using the guidelines provided by the HUD, according to the HUD website.
Families in substandard housing, veterans and the elderly are considered for preference during tenant selection. Households meeting all requirements are placed on a waiting list. When a place becomes available, the new tenant signs a lease with the housing authority. Rent is determined by the Total Tenant Payment program. The lease does not have an end date; tenants are allowed to stay as long as the terms of the lease are followed, according to the HUD website.