All About Public Housing
Public housing is what most people refer to when they talk about "The Projects."
This form of low income housing has had a bad reputation, because people associate it with drugs, crime, and "welfare moms."
Just like with anything else, some of the negative reputation is valid, and some is overblown, but the fact that this form of low income housing has had somewhat of a shady past is a fact - but, in some areas...things have changed.
To be perfectly honest,many housing projects have remained virtually the same as they were back in the day... decayed and dangerous.
However, some public housing projects have undergone drastic changes that make them resemble high end apartments.
If you live in an area, where the public housing projects have undergone vast changes, and you have low income, it might be a positive life changing experience, for you to apply for assistance.
In some big cities like Chicago and Atlanta, many housing projects have undergone amazing face lifts;
Check out the revitalization of Chicago's famed Cabrini Green Housing Project (you might remember Cabrini Green from the 90s horror film, "Candyman."
The development used to be the pits, but now they are trying to breathe new life into the area):
Public Housing Agencies (PHAs)
Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) are the agencies at the local level who preside over public housing in your local area.
These days, the trick to finding decent, affordable, public housing, is to find an area where the crime is low and the cost of living is not as high, or find a PHA where the major focus is on remodeling it's complexes.
For example, if you move to a small town in Oregon, you might have a better chance of getting accepted into public housing sooner than you would if you lived in a major city. And, smaller cities tend to have more liveable conditions - usually...
The problem with the two most affordable forms of housing assistance programs (Public Housing and Section 8/Housing Choice) is the fact that there are waiting lists, and those waiting lists are very long
Check out what happened in Atlanta when folks heard that the Section 8 Housing Choice Application Waiting List finally opened up:
Outsmarting the Masses
If you watched the video, you have seen that sheer desperation exists in the search for locating affordable housing
Living with low income is not an easy or enjoyable life. In order to better your future, you will need a solid plan, and finding affordable housing is a major part of a solid plan.
In order to secure a place in any type of housing assistance program, you have to be smarter than the masses.
You may have to move to get your life in order - but, so be it, move to a smaller city in a less populated state, get into on a PHA waiting list (explained below, keep reading), go to school or get job training, and get your life together so you can come up out of the low income lifestyle.
Then, go back to your hometown with a good career that pays a living wage.
Exactly, How Does Public Housing Work?
Basically, there is a PHA in every region in the country. Each agency presides over a certain amount of apartment complexes in a specific area or region.
You have to apply for the program, and be placed on a waiting list (unless you're really lucky, and slots are immediately available - they are out there, you just have to find them).
When your name comes up on their waiting list, you will be contacted and offered an apartment in a specific complex.
Next, you sign your lease and agree to a rental rate that will be no more than $30% of your income.
That is all there is to it. Of course, it is easier said than done, especially with the waiting lists, but if you are persistent or really lucky, you will get a slot.
How to Apply for Public Housing
In order to apply for public housing, you will need to locate the local PHA of the area you want to live, find out the length of the waiting list, and find out what to do to have your name placed on that waiting list.
Click the link to find a list of PHAs across the entire country