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Subsidized Housing

Housing Choice Voucher Program
HCV, also known as Section 8 is a housing subsidy that eligible persons receive to reduce their share of the cost of rent. HCV is a very popular program and most housing authorities’ waiting lists are closed and are very long when they are open. If you obtain an HCV, it is important that you are honest about your income. You risk losing your voucher if you don’t report your income accurately.

Public Housing Program
Public Housing is owned, and often managed by, the local housing authority. Some housing authorities contract with private landlords to manage their public housing. Public housing programs usually have long waiting lists of months or even years. Many public housing waiting lists are currently closed. If the list is open, eligible applicants are encouraged to apply even if the waiting list is a number of years long. You never know if you will need subsidized housing when your name is called. If you don’t need it at that time, you can always decline.

Project Based Subsidized Housing
Some buildings receive subsidies from federal, state or local governments to subsidize housing for low income households. Like public housing, the property owner receives the subsidy to make the unit affordable for low-income households. Unlike public housing, project based subsidized housing is owned by private property owners. In these programs, the participant must move into the subsidized unit to benefit from the subsidy. Like other subsidized housing programs, project based subsidized housing usually has very long waiting lists. Many of these waiting lists are closed. Local housing authorities may keep information on project based subsidized housing in their area. To search for available properties, register with the National Housing Preservation Database.

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
PSH provides subsidized housing and supportive services. It is called permanent because as long as participants are eligible, they can receive both the subsidy and services. PSH programs have their own eligibility criteria. Some serve senior citizens or persons with a development disability or mental illness. Some serve persons who are chronically homeless. Many programs have their own application protocol and eligibility criteria. In Illinois, you can find some PSH programs through websites provided by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA).

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) funds supportive housing programs and maintains a list of supportive housing providers. Your local Continuum of Care agency (CoC) is another resource to locate PSH programs in your area.

If you live in Chicago and meet the HUD’s definition of homelessness, you may obtain PSH by registering with the Chicago Central Referral System (CCRS).

Need help or want to know more?
The Illinois Housing Handbook, available in English and en español, provides a wealth of information to help make obtaining and maintaining housing easier and less confusing, especially for first-time renters.