Subsidized Housing

Shelter is one of the basic needs of people. The main function of house or shelter is for protection. It protects peoples against the heat of the sun or spats of the rain. People are able to make use of natural resources to acts as their shelter. Early human settlers used caves and slabs of rocks as their house. The development of human technology allows people to improve the materials used in making their shelter. Humans are able to make us of sturdy trunks of trees and its leaves as main materials of the house up to the present concrete and galvanized irons that are used in contemporary house architecture.

Though it is one of the basic needs of people, some people are not sable to afford their own house and rely mainly on renting apartments or rooms and some opt for shelters provided as part of the social services of the government. Some people also rely on subsidized housing projects in order to acquire their own house. Subsidized housing gain popularity as the number of homeless people drastically increases. The government and philanthropic organizations award the houses to homeless families to solve their dilemma in having their own house. Subsidized Housing

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Subsidized housing is the different kinds of housing projects where the government and philanthropic organizations provide subsidy or rent assistance. Subsidized housing includes public, non-profit and cooperative housing projects, as well as rent supplements or subsidy for people who are living in private housing markets. The non-profit and cooperative housings are often referred to as housing providers (BC Housing, 2007). The financial support on subsidized housing is generally administered through “rent-geared-to-income” which is generally designed for low-to-moderate income families.

The tenants are paying the house based on their salary compensation than paying it based on the market price. The payment amounted to 30 percent of the gross income of the household and base on the number of people residing in the house. The rent-geared-to-income housing units include public housing stock and many developments provided by the non-profit and cooperative housing providers (BC Housing, 2007). Types of Subsidized Housing Subsidized housing is government-owned dwelling and accommodation with low-to-moderate incomes.

There are various types of housing subsidies such as direct housing subsidies, non-profit housing and public and private housing. Co-operative housing is the type of housing that is controlled by the co-op that is run by the board of directors. The beneficiaries of the housing projects must be members of the co-operative that agree and follow certain by-laws. The residents pay the rents according to the prescribed amount of the co-op (“Apply for Social Housing”, n. d. ). Housing subsidies is the aid of the government for low income owners and tenants.

The income of the families is computed to know how much percentage will be the aid of the government. The non-profit housing, on the other hand, is owned by non-profit organizations such as philanthropic organizations and churches. These organizations use private funding and subsidies of the government to help low income owners and tenants (“Apply for Social Housing”, n. d. ). Private sector housing is a type of housing project that is also subsidized by the government in the form of low-cost housing or supplements to the contractor or builder.

In contrast, public housing projects are directly owned and managed by the government wherein possible beneficiaries must meet certain eligibility requirements for the awarding of house ownership. Lastly, rents supplements are part of the rent paid by the government to land or house owners who accept low-income tenants. The rents supplements are the differences of what the tenants pay to the actual market price of the house (“Apply for Social Housing”, n. d. ). Qualifying for Subsidized Housing

Subsidized housing developments are designed mainly for families with low-to-moderate income including; senior citizens, people with mental and physical disabilities, homeless individuals, women and children from abusive relationships, aboriginal people and low-income families (BC Housing, 2007). Section 8 program is considered as an entitlement benefit. The big problem is that not everyone who applies for the program actually passed the standards set by the housing authorities. Recent statistics states that only 25 percent of the total number of Section 8 applicants qualify and receive the vouchers.

In many areas, there is a fierce competition for the vouchers. Because of the huge demand for housing assistance, waiting lists for qualified applicants are often long. Some of the Public Housing Agencies even entirely closed the application for housing assistance (Barrymore, 2009). History of Subsidized Housing The program of the United States for its subsidized housing for low income families and individuals is more popular on the namesake Section 8 pertaining to the portion of the U. S. Housing Act of 1937 which authorize the original subsidy program.

The program is provided by the United States of Housing and Urban Development. The Housing Act originated in the times of Great Depression around the year 1937. The Congress passed the Housing Act which is the inception of the housing assistance of the federal government. The main aim of the program is to develop high-quality housing units designed for low income tenants. The units were managed and operated by the local housing authorities (Barrymore, 2009). The beginning of the housing assistance of the government in the Great Depression aimed to solve the housing crisis at that time.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the federal government created various subsidy programs to increase the production of housing units to help low income families. In 1961, the Housing Act was amended and thus, marked the creation of Section 23 Leased Housing Program which is considered the predecessor of modern subsidized housing programs (Barrymore, 2009). Under this particular program, the qualified low income tenants were placed in private housing units that were partly leased by the federal government. The tenants paid only a portion of the total rent based on their gross income and the difference was paid by the government.

In 1970s, the government made a close study on what is the root of the housing problem that is the main cause of the housing crisis. They found out that the problem is no longer substandard housing but high percentage of income spent in paying the rent. The Housing Act was again amended to give birth to the commonly known Section 8. The government realized that instead of developing and managing housing units for low income families, the government just aids the families in renting their house. This signified law is mainly designed for families who spent a big portion of their total earnings in paying for the rent.

The federal funds are used in helping the low income families pay the rent of their house they chose in the open market. Since 1974, the legislative wing constantly refined and restructured the Section 8 of the Housing Act (Barrymore, 2009). Currently, the Section 8 of the Housing Act involves the Voucher program. A voucher issued by the housing authorities may be “project-based” which is limited only to specific apartment complex. This type of voucher system may reserve the Public Housing Agencies up to 20 percent of the total vouchers that can be issued.

The voucher program can also be “tenant-based” where the tenants are free to choose a housing unit in the private sector and they may reside anywhere in the United States or Puerto Rico where Public Housing Agencies operates (Barrymore, 2009). Individuals who qualify for the Section 8 program of the Housing Act receives a voucher of the 70 percent of the total housing rent and the individuals are responsible for paying the remaining 30 percent. The renters may chose to live wherever they want as long as the total price falls under the standards and guidelines of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (Barrymore, 2009).

Whether the housing assistance is either tenant-based or project-based, all subsidized housing units must meet first the Housing and Urban Development Housing Quality Standards (HQS) to mainly ensure that the family has a safe and healthy place to live. This improvement in the housing stock is a vital by-product of the program not only for the families but also for the entire community development (Barrymore, 2009). Qualified American families who participate in the housing program must abide series of rules and regulations that is often coined as “family obligations” in order to maintain their qualification on the program.

This includes timely and accurately reporting to the members of the Public Housing Agencies all changes in the members of the family and the income of each member so that their housing assistance or subsidy and the rental unit limitations can be updated accordingly (Barrymore, 2009). The program helps about 2 million low income Americans and their families in affording decent homes for their children. The vouchers can also be used as mortgage payments or buying a house. Research studies found out that the Section 8 program is a huge and developmental success. It helps a lot of homeless Americans.

They aid them to live above the poverty line. It also helps them by allotting the money for food and health care instead for rent. The families are able to move in safe and stable neighborhoods. The program substantially reduces the number of homeless individuals, especially for families and children. Impliedly, it also reduces some psychological condition such as depression (Barrymore, 2009). Disadvantage of Housing Assistance The first problem you may face in applying for a housing assistance is the fierce competition for the eligibility to receive a voucher.

There are also thousands of individuals applying for the same government assistance. Some agencies even stopped the application process due to the overwhelming number of applicants (Barrymore, 2009). The federal government has never really had a strong commitment in its Housing Act for low income individuals and their families. The Housing Act helped a lot of poor families in the time of the housing crisis during the Greats Depression but the Congress continues to withdraw its support for the Housing and Urban Development (Bratt, 1997).

Both of the housing assistance programs have put under scrutiny based on their efficacy to solve the housing dilemma as it is speculated that it may not be enough or sufficient to answer the America’s housing crisis (Bratt, 1997). Change in family size or income may be a risk to immediately disqualify you to the housing assistance program and you may not be able to continue paying the whole housing unit price on your own. This will also emerge as one of the problems branching from subsidized housing program of the government. Conclusion Home ownership is considered as one of the main accomplishment of an individual.

As one of the basic needs of people, it is also important for the families, especially the children to have a safe and healthy place to live and spend most of their time. A carefully planned and organized legislation on housing ownership should be considered to provide every qualified individual a safe settlement. It will significantly reduce the number of homelessness and individuals who spent a large percentage of their income in rents may be able to spend it more on other important things. This will not improve the community our citizens are residing in but also improve the quality of human life.


Apply for Social Housing. (n. d. ). Region of Peel. Retrieved February 23, 2009, from http://www. peelregion. ca/housing/social/faq/faq-general. htm. Barrymore, J. (2009). How Section 8 Works. HowStuffWorks. Retrieved February 23, 2009, from http://money. howstuffworks. com/personal-finance/real-estate/section-8-housing1. htm. BC Housing. (2007). What is Subsidized Housing?. Retrieved February 23, 2009, from http://www. bchousing. org/applicants/affordable. Bratt, R. G. (1997, July/August). A Withering Commitment. Shelterforce Online. National Housing Institute. Retrieved February 23, 2009, from http://www. nhi. org/online/issues/94/bratt. html.