Local housing authorities (LHAs) create housing developments for low-income families by constructing new units and/or acquiring existing homes or condominium units. DHCD’s Division of Public Housing and Rental Assistance, which administers this program, has the responsibility for regulatory and administrative oversight of all state-aided public housing programs which address the needs of low income families, elderly and persons with disabilities.
How it works: Households seeking public housing must apply for housing in the communities in which they are interested in living. Each local housing authority (LHA) issues its own application for the housing it manages. Applications are available by calling or visiting a local housing authority or using the forms available on the DHCD website. There is no limit to the number of LHAs to which a household can apply. Tenants who live in state-aided family housing pay 30% of their income for rent if utilities are included in the rent or 25% of their income if the tenant pays for his/her utilities separately. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) provides subsidy funds to local housing authorities to cover the costs of operating state-aided housing not provided for by these reduced tenant rents.
Who is eligible: Families having incomes within the established income limits are eligible.Income limits are set at 80% of the median income for the area in which the community is located, varying by household size and location. They are set every two years. An applicant’s net income is calculated by totaling each household member’s (above 18 years old) gross income less any applicable deductions. Once the household has been determined financially eligible it must then be determined qualified for state-aided public housing by the LHA. Using the qualification standards contained in DHCD’s eligibility and selection criteria, each LHA screens each applicant household to ensure that each applicant and his or her household members are qualified for state-aided public housing. Applicants found either ineligible or unqualified have the right to appeal such a decision locally at the housing authority and if necessary, at DHCD.
Eligible and qualified applicants are selected by the local housing authority in accordance with DHCD regulations. Once the individual need of each applicant household is considered, applicants are selected in chronological order by date of application, with a preference given to local veterans, local residents, and in some cases, minorities. Priority consideration is granted for households determined to be homeless through no fault of their own, consistent with the LHA’s emergency case plan and DHCD regulation.