Public Housing

The public housing program provides safe, decent, and affordable rental housing to low- and very low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.

Eligibility is based on area median income; residents must also be a U.S. citizen or an eligible immigrant.  Their monthly rental and utilities payments are capped at 30% of adjusted income.

There are approximately 1.2 million public housing units owned and managed by more than 3,000 housing authorities.

Housing authorities receive operating and capital subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to cover ongoing operating and capital costs. They are responsible for general property management, ongoing program compliance, and, in some cases, providing supportive services to residents.  

Currently, there are more than 2 million persons that reside in about 1 million public housing households. Of those 1 million households, more than half (52 percent) are headed by a disabled and/or elderly resident, and nearly half (41 percent) have at least one child residing in the home. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of households are considered very low- or extremely low-income, making less than 50 percent of area median income, and the average annual tenant income is about $13,400.

Who lives in public housing?

More about public housing stock