Individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, are eligible to apply for government housing assistance. For example, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's Housing Choice Voucher program allows individuals to pay 30 percent of their total income while the government pays the rest through a voucher.
The Housing Choice Voucher program allows individuals to choose their own living accommodations rather than live in government housing, subject to a maximum voucher payment of $2,200 per month as of August 2015. At $698 per month for individuals and $1,098 for couples, SSI payments are normally insufficient to cover both the necessities of life and housing costs. As a result, there is excess demand for the government's limited capacity voucher programs, and charities such as Mercy Housing help provide safe, low-cost rental units. Other federal initiatives, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also help cover utilities bills.