How to Qualify for Low Income Housing in New Jersey

The state of New Jersey offers affordable housing to low-income renters by partnering with local organizations. Public housing developments and Section 8 vouchers are main sources of affordable housing. Both programs are funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, and administered by community-based housing authorities. Follow a public housing authority's application process and meet program guidelines to qualify for housing assistance.

Options for the Elderly, Disabled and Families

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program allows renters to choose a privately owned residence.

Another program, known as Section 8 project-based assistance, allows private property management companies to rent units within a development to Section 8 tenants.

Public housing consists of government-owned units within a specific development.

Each program targets low- to extremely low-income families and individuals who have trouble obtaining affordable, safe and decent housing.

Contact a Public Housing Authority

Call, or visit the website or office of a nearby PHA. HUD maintains a list of more than 100 PHAs throughout the state of New Jersey. Each office administers low-income housing programs within its jurisdiction. The application process, certain guidelines and program availability varies by PHA. Due to the varying demand and long waiting lists for low-income housing, apply to more than one PHA to improve your chances of being selected.

Meet Maximum Income Requirements

HUD limits the amount of income participants can earn to qualify for housing. It publishes annual income limits for New Jersey counties and metropolitan areas, which are based on area median income levels. Household size, location and projected annual income determine eligibility. The PHA calculates the income of all family members over the age of 18, but excludes a set amount of income under certain circumstances, helping applicants to meet low-income limits. For example, a portion of Social Security or disability income, or income for adult full-time students, may not be calculated. A PHA representative calculates your income based on HUD guidelines.

Provide the PHA with Paperwork

The PHA analyzes official documents and verifies income with third parties to determine eligibility. Provide the following documents when applying:

  • Recent and continuous pay stubs. The number of stubs required may vary by PHA or circumstances. 
  • Social Security or pension income statements
  • Alimony or child support payment statements
  • Public assistance or welfare 
  • Adoption assistance payments

The PHA may obtain written or verbal verification of employment and income from an employer in addition to or in lieu of documented income.

References

About the Author

Karina C. Hernandez is a real estate agent in San Diego. She has covered housing and personal finance topics for multiple internet channels over the past 10 years. Karina has a B.A. in English from UCLA and has written for eHow, sfGate, the nest, Quicken, TurboTax, RE/Max, Zacks and Opposing Views.