All affordable housing programs have income eligibility requirements that ensure we are targeting assistance to Austin's moderate- and low-income residents and families. Income restrictions for many of these programs are set by state and federal guidelines. Each program has different eligibility requirements so be sure to check the specific criteria of each program.
- Federal Eligibility Income Limits
Check your annual household income against the current income limits (effective June 15, 2023) for HOME and CDBG Federal Eligibility Income Limits (PDF) respectively set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The limits are based on the HUD median family income (called MFI for short) in the Austin-Round Rock area. Learn more about HUD's methodology (Web) for setting income limits, or read more about rent and income limits issued by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (Web).
- HOME Program Rent Limits
Fair Market Rents Limits (PDF) are established annually for the Section 8 program, using data provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). For more information about the annual calculation, visit HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research (Web).
- Calculating Household Income Within Federal Income Limits
Eligibility requirements 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.
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 on the type of assistance, the number of utilities and uses covered, and the dwelling unit and/or household size.
- City of Austin Affordability Programs
To further incentivize the development of affordable housing, the City of Austin has created several affordability programs in addition to Federal assistance. Below are the monitoring and compliance guidelines that apply to City of Austin affordability programs, including SMART Housing and Affordability Unlocked.
- University Neighborhood Overlay (UNO): Income Determination, Rents, Compliance & Monitoring Guidelines (PDF)
- Development Incentives and Agreements: Income Determination, Rents, Compliance & Monitoring Guidelines (PDF)
- All Development Incentive Programs: Income Verification Forms (XLSM)
- UNO Rent Rates (PDF)
- Development Incentive Rent Rates (PDF)
- Development Agreements Rent Rates (PDF)
- Development Incentives Sales Prices (PDF)
PLEASE NOTE Prospective tenants who would like to apply for an affordable housing unit to rent within the city limits of Austin must contact the apartment community of interest and complete their application process. The City of Austin does not have an application process for individuals looking to rent an affordable unit.
To find an affordable apartment and the current rent rates, please visit the Austin Affordable Housing website (Web). This website includes privately restricted rental units that may not be subject to the City’s monitoring and compliance guidelines.
For rental assistance resources, visit the Resource for Renters web page (Web).
If you are a property manager and would like to add your affordable units to this website, please fill out the Housing Works survey (Web).
For more information regarding affordable ownership units, visit the Homes for Sale web page (Web).