Where would the world be without affordable housing? Not everyone can afford a big house with a picket fence or luxury New York City penthouse apartment. Some can’t even imagine an inkling of possibility of one day owning an MTV Cribs style mansion.
For reasons beyond control for some and life choices for others, there are people who can only dream of being able to provide stable, decent, affordable shelter for their children. There will always be disabled people and the elderly who can’t afford a mortgage and other expenses and maintenance that comes with owning a home. Public housing helps keep these Americans from ending up on infomercials aired in China begging for help.
For many Americans, “the projects” and what it’s like to reside in them is no mystery. For many others it’s unchartered territory. Spending a block of my childhood growing up in public housing, I recall the stigmas attached to it. Unfair stigmas are attached to everything in this world. Not every rich person is an uppity snob and not every person who’s resided in the projects is bound to follow disheartening urban statistics. Many brilliant and successful people in the world have humble beginnings that took place in public housing. Most people consider it a temporary living situation. Others stay as long as it is convenient for them to.
The conditions of living in a public housing unit can vary from project to project, city to city, and state to state. Classifications of the neighborhood the projects are located in can also play a factor. Contrary to popular belief, not all public housing projects are filled with drug and crime activity; yet, the reality is many of them are. Another reality is there are many big houses with picket fences, New York City penthouse apartments, and MTV Crib’s style mansions filled with drug and crime activity.
Housing projects have always been built and constructed on the land obtained to house a community of families/tenants. This is why you will usually find public housing projects to either be a number of high-rise buildings, or a community of what looks to be townhouses or condominiums; some are even spaced-out single-family homes.
Should you find yourself contemplating a move to public housing and don’t know what to expect, these are a few basics.
Income Based Rent
If you meet the low-income standard on your application, the public housing authority will determine your monthly rent by a percentage of your income.
Repairs and Services
If you have a problem with plumbing or the appliances provided in the unit, a call to the maintenance office is all that is required of you. Since the public housing authorities own the property, it is their responsibility to ensure everything is running smoothly in all units.
You may not be able to paint your son’s room his favorite color green, have pets, or put holes in the walls. To ensure you are abiding by their regulations, inspections of your unit are conducted periodically by the public housing authority.
Reexaminations of Your Eligibility
Along with regular inspections of your unit, evaluation of your income will be conducted periodically to ensure you still meet the low-income requirements and qualify to live there. According to the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, any changes in your income while residing in public housing must be reported immediately.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: HUD’s Public Housing Program- http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/topics/rental_assistance/phprog