All affordable housing programs have income eligibility requirements so that we can be sure we are targeting assistance to assist Austin's moderate- and low-income residents and families. There are income restrictions for many of these programs set by state and federal guidelines. Each program has different eligibility requirements so be sure to check on the specific criteria of the program you are interested in.
Calculating Household Income Within Federal Income Limits
These eligibility requirements most often involve calculating a household’s total income as a percentage of Austin's Median Family Income (MFI). For example, eligibility for ownership programs require a household income that does not exceed 80% of the Austin Median Family Income (MFI). The income of all adult members of the household is included when calculating the total household income. Certain items are included when calculating income and other items can be excluded from the income calculation.
Sources of Income Included in Calculating Household Income: Some examples include wages from employment, net income from self-employment, monthly Social Security or Disability checks, food stamps, and child support.
Sources of Income Not Included in Calculating Household Income: Income of children under age 18, college financial aid, income tax refunds, lump sum payments from such things as insurance claims, inheritance, and settlement payments arising from litigation.
Income from Assets Included in Calculating Household Income: Income from assets is calculated if the value of the assets exceeds $5,000. Examples of income from assets include interest, dividends, profit from royalties, and income from payments from an estate or trust fund. [NOTE: The value of the asset is not what is counted. It is the income the asset produces that is counted toward total household income.]
Federal Utility Assistance
To keep assisted housing affordable for lower-income households, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development includes an allowance for reasonable utility costs in the definition of the Total Resident Payment for "rent" in federally assisted housing (30 percent of the household's adjusted monthly income).
Eligible utilities include electricity, natural gas, propane, fuel oil, wood or coal, and water and sewage service, as well as garbage collection. The functions, or end-uses, covered by an allowance may include space heating, water heating, cooling, refrigeration, lighting, or appliances. Allowances are not provided for telephone service.
Utility allowances can be small or large, ranging from less than $10 to over $200 for a resident household per month, depending type of assistance, the number of utilities and uses covered, and the dwelling unit and/or household size.
For more information, visit the Housing Allowance Program on the HUD utility allowances web page, or the online utility schedule model used to calculate the allowances.