When you are searching for potential apartments in Rochester, phrases such as “affordable housing” or “low-income housing” may generally arise.

You might wonder what do these phrases you keep seeing mean? Do these phrases mean the same thing? Most importantly, you may be asking yourself, can I apply for these types of low income housing?


What is considered low-income for housing in Rochester, New York?


Low-income housing, also known as affordable housing, means safe and adequate housing for suitable individuals or families with low income. Affordable houses come in all types and dimensions, including scattered single-family homes to tall apartment buildings for eligible low-income families or individuals to inhabit.


To determine what may be considered low-income housing in Rochester, New York, the first thing you may want to look into is AMI. AMI is an acronym that means Area Median Income, which essentially conveys that according to where you live, are you able to afford to pay for apartment expenses on your income?


In the United States, the AMI in each region is determined by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) each year. When the median income is decided upon and established, you may fall into three different categories:


●      Low-income

Households with income are earning less than 80 percent.


●      Very low-income

Households who are earning less than 50 percent.


●      Extremely low-income

Households whose income is less than 20 percent.


How do low-income apartments work?


Low-income housing is subsidized by the financing entity, which includes government, state, and private. Usually, the tenant would pay for 30% of their earnings, and the funding entity would pay for the remaining amount of what has been recognized as the “fair market value” of the housing.


Yet, there are requirements that individuals and families must meet to be eligible for affordable housing. This includes your income, any future changes in income, and the number of dependents must all be confirmed and documented. Considering that an individual meets the qualifications required in the policies of the agreement, they may be funded continuously.


Low-income taxing credits


Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) acts as an incentive for individuals or organizations to build housing for low-income programs. This has been described in section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code. In essence, it permits a low-income housing investor a dollar-for-dollar decrease in his federal income tax liability.


For instance, if a lender owed $1,000 in federal income tax, yet held $1000 in LIHTC, he would owe zero to the government. This government program has been successful in generating over 100,000 rental units per year.


Renters based credits


Additionally, there is a different kind of credit applied to individuals under the Federal Housing Assistance Program. This type of credit is usually cited as “Section 8,” which refers to the part of the Housing Act of 1937 of the original grant scheme. It is established upon by the voucher the individuals with low-income obtain from the government after becoming eligible.


Then when you rent, you only pay 30 percent of your adjusted monthly income while the government will fund the rest through the voucher, but only paying for fair market value. Thus if the landlord charges you more than the fair market value, you may have to pay up to 40 percent of your adjusted income. Although the program prohibits low-income renter to remain in the voucher system if they pay more than 40 percent.


Once you have found out your eligibility for low-income housing, you may be wondering what type of affording housing apartments are available for you. In general, there are five types of low-income housing. These five different kinds of low-income housing apartment programs and how they work include:


HUD apartments


Although HUD apartments are federally owned by the government, they are managed by housing agencies locally. This means that they are funded by the government, yet have control over the rent amounts for tenants to pay. HUD apartment prices thus differ depending on the city and region.


HUD apartment eligibility depends on many factors, such as your household income as well as your location. If you want to qualify for HUD apartments as an individual, you have to be a senior, and also must have low-income. Though for families to be qualified for the HUD housing apartments, your household income must fall beneath a certain amount.


All the housing programs use the income limits set by HUD and are required to exhibit priority to individuals and families who are low income. You may be able to be eligible for HUD apartments if your earnings are less than at least 80 percent of the median income for your city or nation.


However, housing agencies must supply at least 75 percent of their financing funds to those that have income either at or below 30 percent of their regional median income.


When leasing HUD apartments, individuals or families must sign a lease with the local housing jurisdiction. The lease that is signed generally covers the federal, state, and local conditions of agreements that the renter must abide by to stay in the HUD housing apartments and program.


Section 8 apartments


Another low-income housing program, along with HUD housing, is Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV). According to HUD, Section 8 allows you to rent private housing residences of your choice. In essence, Section 8 permits private landlords to lease apartments along with homes at fair market rates to low-income applicants who may be eligible, with rental assistance.


Additionally, in terms of income eligibility, renters of Section 8 apartments can acquire up to 50 percent of the average earnings of the housing agency administrations.


The amount of rent for Section 8 apartments is not set by and determined by the local agencies. Alternatively, if you rent Section 8 apartments, you comply with private landlords on monthly lease payments. You will pay 30 to 40 percent of your monthly adjusted income in the form of rent to your landlord, and the housing jurisdiction will settle the rest of your rental fee.


Yet the housing jurisdiction will restrict the month-to-month lease amount. These restrictions are usually based upon the average lease amount in the region you live in, and also the number of bedrooms in the apartment you have chosen.


Although this truly depends on the housing jurisdiction. Some will allow you to pay the amount subtracted between the leasing threshold and the absolute lease amount. However, many housing authorities will not let you enter into rental apartments if the lease is too steep.


In terms of leasing with the housing jurisdictions, you will be signing leases with a private landlord. This means that the condition of agreements is between you and the landlord, which means that it does not involve federal policies further than the regular rent laws.


Public Housing apartments


According to HUD, Public Housing is housing that is owned and conducted by your local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), which means that the government provides federal funding and financial assistance.


In essence, this means that for Public Housing apartments, the housing jurisdiction owns the building and is essentially your landlord. Yet there are a few instances where a private firm may have management over the building for the housing jurisdiction or that they may own the building, but the housing jurisdiction is still the one with the control over the building.


Though to be eligible for Public Housing apartments, you must meet the income limit requirement. For Public Housing, the income restriction is usually established by the federal government and is adjusted each year.


If you rent a Public Housing apartment, you will usually pay for 30 percent of your monthly adjusted income for the lease, considering that the utilities are also included. If the utilities are not included, you will pay for less than 30 percent of your monthly adjusted income.


For Public Housing, the housing jurisdiction will decide the amount of rent you will have to pay established by your earnings as well as the specific deductions and exclusions you might qualify for. If you address a change in deductions or your earnings during the year, your lease will generally be accommodated so that you will end up providing payment for the same percentage of your earnings for the lease.


Non-profit senior and family low-income apartments


Under the HCV housing assistance program, eligible seniors and families can live in non-profit low-income apartments. The HUD also manages the HCV housing assistance program along with your local PHAs to help provide qualifiable elders and families for low-income apartments.


Eligible low-income seniors and families will receive a housing voucher in which they will be able to look for their apartment. Yet they can also request help from their local PHAs for assistance in this selection procedure.


With your given voucher, you will only have to pay 30 percent of your income in rent (utilities included), and HUD will compensate for the rest of your rental fees. Your PHA will administer the payments to your local property owner, which means the money will never go straight to you.


Of course, the voucher can not be used for all apartments. The PHA must consider the lease to be acceptable for the voucher to be permitted. Additionally, in many areas, the landlord must also accept the use of the voucher for it to be used. Typically, the acceptable rent is characterized as no more than 90 percent to 110 percent of fair market rent, which is an amount the local PHA establishes each year depending on the new rentals in the location.


The fair market trade rental amounts can be obtained straight from your local PHA, or online from the HUD’s site.


Low-income tax credit apartments (LIHTC)


According to the Tax Policy Center, the LIHTC provides an incentive for real estate investors and builders to construct properties or refurbish buildings to grow the amount of low-income houses for those who need it. The procedure of assigning tax credits competitively is directed by government regulations, operates with government dollars, and is regulated by the state.


Funding for low-income tax credits is given by the government based on population and awarded by the state housing organization to collective developers, arranged by the state. The state housing agencies also receive a certain amount of tax credit per year and handles the tax credit administration procedure.


Real estate builders construct the LIHTC apartments for low-income applicants and the developers are awarded the tax credits in which they can sell to investors to fund the amount needed to construct.


How do I apply for low-income housing in Rochester, New York?


At this point, you may be wondering how you can apply for one of these low-income housing apartments, specifically in Rochester, New York. However, make sure you check your eligibility first.


To qualify for low-income housing in Rochester, your income must be within a certain limit. Though this depends on the size of your household and specific properties in Rochester.


If you are eligible, you will need to contact your local Rochester PHAs. If you need any additional help, you can also contact your local HUD service. You will be required to fill out an application (either online, by mail, or fax), and can either have your representative from your PHA to assist you or do it yourself.


Your local PHAs may also give you a list of areas in Rochester in which you may be applicable for, in terms of low-income housing.


One of the housing authorities that are available to you to help you apply for the low-income housing benefits is the Rochester Housing Authority.


What is the Rochester Housing Authority?


Rochester Housing Authority (RHA) is established by the New York State Public Housing Law as an independent public association and funded by the HUD. RHA helped more than 26,000 low-income individuals and families in the five-county Greater Rochester location.


RHA believes in “providing quality housing opportunities and resources that offer a clear path to self-sufficiency, are key to a brighter future for all. [RHA’s] vision is to lead the charge in developing and cultivating dynamic, economically sustainable, and desirable communities that everyone can be proud to call home.”


Where are the apartments for low-income residents located in Rochester?


When selecting an apartment in Rochester, there are many options available for you to choose from. Yet it depends on the kind of apartment you are looking for. According to RHA, there are about 2,400 public housing properties for lease, along with a variety of rental relief programs such as Section 8 as well.


RHA offers four different communities for individuals and families to choose from in Rochester, including:


●      Over 50/disabled

If your choice is to live in this community, there are five locations that you can look into for possible apartments. These five locations include Danforth Tower East/West, Glenwood Garden, Hudson Ridge Tower, Kennedy Tower, and Parliament Arms.


These apartments are perfect for more mature tenants living with a disability. You can enjoy apartments with one to two spacious bedrooms, active tenant associations, and on-site laundry facilities in any of the apartments.


●      Disabled under 50

If your choice is this community, you have four different apartments to choose from. These four apartments include University Tower, Lake Tower, Lena Gantt Estates, and Lexington Court.


All four of these apartments offer convenience and many different perks for residents and those living with disabilities to enjoy. Some of these perks residents of all four apartments enjoy our comfortable one-bedroom apartments, on-site laundry facilities, and convenience to either the park, grocery stores, or banks.


●      Family Housing

If this community is the one for you, there are eight different apartments you can select from. The eight different apartments are Bay-Zimmer Townhouses Bronson Court, Federal Street Townhouses, Harriet Tubman Estates, Holland Townhouses, Lena Gantt Estates, and Lexington Court.


Depending on which one you choose, you can enjoy apartments with one to four bedrooms, the convenience of bus stops, and walking distance to grocery stores, pharmacies, and parks.


●      Enriched Housing

Although there isn’t much detail yet on this community under RHA, this community is perfect for mature residents to live in. According to Family Service Communities, RHA has partnered up with them to have three apartments for enriched housing. These apartments include Danforth Towers, Hudson-Ridge Towers, and Jonathan Child Apartments.


Additionally, there is also The Northfield apartment in Fairport and Long Pond Senior Housing, which is opening up in the Rochester region in Greece.


There are many different low-income apartments for you to choose from in Rochester, in the community that is right for you. So if you are eligible, apply now to enjoy the perks that these apartments offer.