Affordable Housing Types – A Maxwell Drever Primer

If you are looking around for affordable housing, it may seem that you will need to grab the first one available. However, despite the huge pressure on low-rental units, it can be a good idea to know the different types of affordable housing available because with a little bit of luck, you can find a good one. Some common types of affordable housing:

Housing and Urban Development Project Apartments

Even if the word “project” seems scary, you shouldn’t be since it does not stand for a slum. These developments go by many different names like project-based rental assistance, Section 8 buildings, etc. Private landlords own these buildings, but the HUD may have given them special funding. The maximum rent, including utilities, is set at 30% of your income, which means the rent can be very low if you are not earning much. If you do not earn, you may live there, by paying a minimum rental of $50 though you can have it waived citing hardship. While Section 8 buildings do not enjoy a good reputation, in reality, some of them, particularly those designated “elderly” and/or “disabled” can be pretty good, observes Maxwell Drever.

Low Income Housing Tax Credit Buildings

Private landlords own these buildings built with additional funding subject to their compliance with special rules. The residential units can be of various kinds like apartments, townhouses, cottage clusters, or even schools, hotels, or historic buildings converted for housing people. The rental is a fixed 30% of your income for HUD project-based Section 8 apartments, while for other apartments that do not get special HUD financial assistance, you will still pay lower rents than that prevailing in the area. Then there are building with a mix of project-based apartments and regular ones, but even though the rents are different, the apartments are identical.

Public Housing

These are government-owned buildings operated by various housing authorities. The rent is fixed at 30% of your income, however, despite being cheap, the quality, maintenance, sanitation, etc., is not always up to the mark. There is no standard method of locating these units. You can search online but may have to ask every housing authority in the city, county, and state before you find one to your liking, says Maxwell Drever.

USDA Housing Rural Redevelopment

These units are located in rural areas and are owned by private landlords. These units are similar to Low Income Housing Tax Credit Buildings as far as construction, design, and rents are concerned.

Congregate Housing & Assisted Living

If you require additional services like housekeeping and meals, these buildings may fulfill your requirement. While the rent is fixed at a maximum of 30% of your income, you will usually have to pay extra for additional services unless you enjoy waivers by Medicaid. The supply of these residential units is meager, and you may have to hunt a bit before you can locate one.


While the above is a list of the more common options for low-cost housing, you can look for more types in your area that may be funded by the city or state, various groups, and by non-profits.

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