Subsidized housing is a form of housing which is made accessible through government assistance to people who have difficulty finding and affording housing. Classically, such housing is available to people with low to moderate incomes, along with homeless and disabled individuals. Many governments have subsidy programs in place for housing, viewing safe, clean, pleasant places to live as important for their citizens, and often several types of subsidized housing are available.
In the most simple form of subsidized housing, tenants are given vouchers or government benefits which help them pay for housing. In some cases, the vouchers may be sent directly to a landlord. Landlords may be required to charge reasonable rates of rent to qualify for the voucher program. A program of this type which is well known is Section 8 in the United States. These subsidized housing programs are designed to get people participating in communities, and they may carry less stigma than other types.
Public housing built and maintained by the government is another option, as are housing projects such as nonprofit and cooperative housing which are managed by private organizations. In the case of private groups and individuals, subsidized housing is usually provided as a form of charity or community service, and the government offers assistance to encourage people to continue offering this housing option to people in need. New developments may also be required to construct several low income housing units to satisfy regional housing requirements designed to ensure that everyone has a place to live.
In communities where the cost of living is very high, affordable housing can be a very serious issue. People who are of low to moderate income are often at high risk of being homeless in these areas, as they cannot make enough money to rent or buy real estate in their communities. By getting subsidized housing, these individuals can benefit by living and working in a familiar community, and they may also provide more intangible contributions, such as adding to the liveliness of a neighborhood which might otherwise become abandoned and unsafe.
People generally need to apply for subsidized housing. The application includes details about the applicant's income, employment history, and so forth, and it is evaluated by a social worker who determines whether or not the applicant is eligible. If the applicant does qualify for government housing assistance, the social worker will provide some options, such as listings of available homes which accept government vouchers.