Public Housing Agency FAQs

Table of Contents

What is a PHA?

A public housing agency (PHA) is a public not-for-profit corporation that works with local, state and federal governments to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing to vulnerable populations. These populations include the elderly, the disabled and low-income families.

PHAs are independent agencies that, while required to follow federal regulations, are not affiliated with any state or federal government. PHAs work alongside local governments to develop long-term housing strategies for disadvantaged communities.

In exchange for following federal regulations, PHAs receive subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Housing agencies also receive funding from state governments in some states. Other agencies are not subsidized by a government agency at all. Whatever government funding a PHA receives, its primary function is to serve the vulnerable members of its community and help them find safe and affordable housing.

What Services Does a PHA Offer?

To be eligible to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program, a renter must be at or below a certain income level. In general, income categories are broken down into moderate, low, very low, and extremely low. Every year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development establishes income levels for each individual county in the United States. In addition, you must be a U.S. citizen or have a valid immigration status.

Am I Eligible for Housing Assistance?

You can apply for a tenant-based voucher by contacting your local Housing Authority and submitting an application that includes copies of any requested supporting documentation. You can apply for a project-based voucher by contacting an affordable housing provider directly. Each private housing provider has its own application process.

How Do I Apply for and Receive Assistance?

You must submit an application to establish eligibility in order to receive assistance from a PHA program. In nearly all cases applicants are put on a waiting list because of the high demand for low-income housing in many communities.