Shelter is one of the basic human needs. For those who are on a low income, however, having a place to call home can seem impossible for some. That is where low income housing comes into play. When applying for low income housing, consider this step-by-step guide.

Social Services Office or HUD Office

Begin the process of applying for low income housing at your local social services office. Request a listing of those agencies in your district that provide low income housing. Additionally, you can check with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) via the "Find an Office" tool on this website. Contact these agencies to determine whether or not you will be eligible to apply for their housing. For example, many low income housing agencies will offer to put you on a waiting list due to a high demand for this type of housing.

Qualifying for Low Income Housing

There are two types of low income housing programs available from HUD: Section 8 and low-rent. Additionally, you can search out non-governmental options, such as Habitat for Humanity. In order to find out if you quality for any or all of the low income housing programs, you will need to complete an application that includes the following:

  • Your contact information

  • History of previous housing along with contact information for past landlords

  • List of everyone who will be living with you, along with their gender, birth date and relationship to you as the head of the household

  • Estimated income you anticipate for every adult who will be living with you along with proof of income

  • Contact information for banks, employers and other agencies familiar with your income, deductions and family composition

  • Information regarding any special circumstances, such as being a military veteran or living in substandard conditions, that could increase preference for your situation

Documents you will need to have when applying include, but are not limited to, birth certificates, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, W-2 forms, tax returns and pay stubs. You may be visited by a PHA representative who will interview you and any family members who will be living with you. This is to verify the management of your current residence in relation to how you will manage low incoming housing. Individuals who have a history of recklessness regarding housing are typically rejected for low income housing programs.

The Waiting Game

After you have submitted your application to your local social services office, be prepared to wait for as long as years for an acceptance. In the meantime, contact the office, once a month preferably, to make sure that there isn’t anything else you can submit or do regarding your application. While you wait, plan for your future by saving as much money as you can to use for a deposit on your new home.