This is the sixth in a series of six posts explaining the major eligibility requirements to receive housing assistance. The focus of this post is on occupancy standards requirements.
Compared to the previous posts on eligibility, the occupancy standards requirement is the least known and may be the one that causes the most frustration.
The numbers of people who must share a bedroom, the square-footage-per-person stipulation, and the number of adults’ verses children, determine number of bedrooms in a unit. This requirement changes from grant to grant and from project to project and is based on the particular grant and the administrative plan.
For instance, with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8), children of the opposite sex do not necessarily have to share a bedroom. However, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) requires the head of household, usually a parent, be allowed their own room, which may be shared with a mate, but children’s gender is not considered when determining number of bedrooms needed. So, two children get one bedroom, three children get two bedrooms, and four children get two bedrooms. So, a single parent of two children would be eligible for a two-bedroom home. A single parent of three children is eligible for three bedrooms. Also, a living room can be converted into a bedroom at night. The goal is to house as many people as possible with the limited amount of funds available.
In conclusion, each housing program has many qualifiers that identify the populations served. State housing programs have rules from state regulations and federal programs are regulated by federal rules. While the wait time for many of these housing programs is at least one year, it is always a complicated and document-laden process.
Other articles in this series: