Your Guide to Getting Housing & Rent Assistance

If you are elderly, disabled or your household income falls below a certain amount, you may qualify for assistance through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

Through HUD, you may qualify for mortgage support if you’re looking to buy a home. You may also be eligible to obtain rental assistance through the housing choice voucher program (Section 8). 

Other affordable housing opportunities may also be available to you if you’re a veteran, senior or person experiencing homelessness.

If you own a home but are struggling to pay your mortgage, you may even be able to avoid foreclosure through the HUD’s Making Home Affordable (MHA) program. 

Before applying for any of these programs, keep in mind that specific income restrictions vary depending on the HUD program you want to apply for.

If you’re unsure about your eligibility for housing assistance, contact your local HUD office to learn more about these programs and the requirements you must meet.

To learn more about the steps you must take to apply for HUD housing assistance, review the sections below. 

About HUD Rental Assistance Programs

If you wish to apply for rental assistance through HUD, several options may be available to you if you meet income, disability and/or age requirements. These programs include the following:

  • The housing choice voucher program (Section 8)
  • Public housing
  • Privately-owned subsidized housing

As part of the housing choice voucher program, low-income households, eligible seniors and individuals with disabilities can use vouchers to pay for all or part of their rental expenses.

To obtain a voucher, contact your local public housing agency (PHA) to begin the application process. 

Moreover, public housing is another HUD program that assists low-income households, individuals with disabilities and eligible seniors.

Through the HUD’s public housing program, qualifying beneficiaries pay lower rental fees while living in a participating apartment unit or single-family home. To apply for public housing, contact your local PHA. 

Through the HUD’s privately-owned subsidized housing program, eligible low-income households qualify for reduced rental fees. To access these benefits, they must reside in participating apartment buildings. 

To apply for this type of assistance, use the HUD’s Resource Locator Tool to search for participating residences. Then, contact the apartment’s management office to begin the application process. 

5 Quick Tips for Applying for HUD Housing Assistance 

While applying for HUD housing assistance can be a lengthy process, there are several steps you can take to eliminate as many obstacles as possible. Here are five quick tips to assist you: 

  1. Review the income limits for the HUD’s public housing and Section 8 program. 
  2. To apply for public housing or Section 8, contact the PHA in the area you want to live in.
  3. To apply for privately-owned subsidized housing, apply directly through your apartment’s management office.
  4. Use the HUD’s Resource Locator Tool to search for local PHAs, Field Offices and affordable housing opportunities near you.
  5. Gather certified documentation, a list of references, personal information and any other materials that may be needed for your HUD housing application. 

About Housing Assistance Programs for Seniors 

As an alternative to obtaining assistance through Section 8 or the HUD’s public housing program, seniors who own their current homes may qualify for a reverse mortgage.

With a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), qualifying seniors can use the equity in their current property to withdraw funds. 

To participate in the program, seniors must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 62 years of age
  • Meet income, credit and other financial requirements
  • Own the home or have a small remaining balance on your mortgage
  • Reside in the home

To learn more about the HECM program or contact a mortgage lender, call 800-569-4287 or search for an approved lender online here.

When using the online search tool, be sure to check the box for “HECM”. 

Learn About Housing Assistance for Veterans and Homeless Applicants

To assist veterans in their search for affordable housing, HUDVet works with veterans service organizations and connects former servicemembers to the HUD programs that may be available to them. 

To learn more about these programs and services for veterans, email

For those who are homeless, victims of domestic abuse or at risk of losing their homes, homelessness assistance programs are also available under the HUD. Use the HUD’s Resource Locator Tool to search for homeless services in your area. 

If you’re a homeless vet, however, call 877-424-3838 to reach the HUDVet National Hotline. 

How to Apply for Homebuying Assistance Through HUD

Depending on your specific situation, you may qualify for homebuying assistance under one or more HUD programs. Two of these programs include the HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door or Indian Home Loan Guarantee program. 

If you meet income and credit requirements, however, you may qualify for an FHA loan—especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. 

If you currently live in public housing, you may be able to transform your rent payment into a mortgage payment and become a homeowner. Your local PHA can help you to determine whether this option is available to you. 

Moreover, your local government may sponsor other programs to help you purchase your own home. In Minnesota, for instance, additional programs are available through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and State Homeownership Center (HOC). 

To apply for HUD homebuying assistance, search for an approved housing counselor in the state where you live.

Your local housing counselor will provide you with financial advice to help you select the right program for your needs.  

How to Apply for Foreclosure Avoidance

If you’re at risk of losing your home to foreclosure, several options under the HUD’s Making Home Affordable program (MHA) are available to assist you. 

Through the MHA program, you may be able to refinance your loan or temporarily reduce the amount of your mortgage payment.

To avoid foreclosure even if you no longer wish to own your current home, you may qualify for a deed-in-lieu foreclosure or short sale. 

To learn more about these programs, contact your mortgage lender to explore the different options that may be available to you. Alternatively, use the HUD’s website to search for an approved housing counselor near you.