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Public Housing

The United States Housing Act of 1937 (the “Act”) is responsible for the birth of federal housing program initiatives, known as public housing. The Act was intended to provide financial assistance to states and cities for public works projects, slum clearance and the development of affordable housing for low-income residents.

In 1998, the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act (QHWRA) also known as the Public Housing Reform Act of 1998 was signed into law. Its purpose was to provide more private sector management guidelines to the public housing program and provide residents with greater choice.

The job of Athens Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA) pursuant to HUD regulations is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing, in good repair, to low-income families at an affordable rent. The AMHA screens applicants for public housing and, if they are found eligible and accepted, the AMHA offers the applicant a unit. If the applicant accepts the offer, the AMHA will enter into a contract with the applicant known as the lease. At this point, the applicant becomes a tenant of the public housing program.

Although public housing comes in all sizes and types the AMHA currently operates 71 units of public housing; 44 multi-family units (townhouses) that consists of 2 to 5 bedroom units and 27 scattered site single family detached 3 and 4 bedroom homes.

Basic Eligibility Criteria: HUD is required by law to set income limits that determine the eligibility of applicants for the public housing program.

Types of Low-Income Families:

Low-income family: A family whose annual income does not exceed 80 percent of the median income area, adjusted for family size.

Very low-income family: A family whose annual income does not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the area, adjusted for family size.

Extremely low-income family: A family whose annual income does not exceed 30, 50, or 80 percent of the median income for the area, adjusted for family size.

Income limits are used for eligibility only at admission. Eligibility is established by comparing a family’s annual income with HUD’s published income limits. To be income-eligible, a family must be a low-income family.