Low-Income Housing in Phoenix: 9 Programs You Should Know

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Contributor, Benzinga
October 10, 2023

Phoenix has an impressive selection of low-income housing programs dedicated to getting you settled. The qualifications for each program vary, so know your financial situation and household details before shopping around for the best fit. Programs range from capable private lenders to opportunities backed by the Arizona Department of Housing. Depending on the program, low-income housing in Phoenix offers a hands-on approach that allows you to take charge of the search for your future home.

How Low-Income Housing in Phoenix Works

Low-income housing in Phoenix varies depending on your location, the number of individuals in your household and the selected program. For example, the qualification and application process for the Section 32 Homeownership Program differs from the Open Doors Down Payment Assistance (DPA) Program. Some low-income housing programs allow you to reach out to the property to discuss potential availability. Public housing in Phoenix includes four different communities with eligibility requirements. Review each program’s stipulations to determine the application process.

Qualifications for Affordable Housing in Phoenix

Key qualifications include your income, the number of people in your household and the area you are interested in living. For example, what qualifies as low income differs between cities in Arizona. To improve your chances of eligibility, ensure previous housing payments are on time and have all necessary documents easily available when starting the application process.

9 Housing and Assistance Programs in Phoenix 

Explore top housing and assistance programs in Phoenix to see what works best for your situation. Certain programs have currently closed waitlists. For shorter timelines, examine housing opportunities that can more promptly address your needs, such as private lenders.

1. Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF)

According to the Arizona Department of Housing, the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) focuses on preventing foreclosure. It’s intended to offer funds for property tax, utility, mortgage and homeowners association (HOA) delinquencies. Eligibility requirements stipulate you must have a home that’s 150% or less than the surrounding area’s median income. The program only applies to your primary residence, and you must have experienced financial hardship after Jan. 21, 2020.

2. Section 32 Homeownership Program

The program applies to first-time homebuyers interested in obtaining a primary residence. Eligibility requirements state you must have 80% or less than the area median income (AMI). To qualify, the house must pass a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection. However, the City of Phoenix's website indicates the program is currently closed.

3. Open Doors Down Payment Assistance (DPA) ​Program

The Open Doors Down Payment Assistance (DPA) program alleviates the immediate burden of a costly down payment and closing costs. The loan will eventually be due once you decide to sell or change residency within the period of affordability. To be eligible, the home must be priced below $467,000 and you must earn 80% or below the AMI. 

4. HOME Plus Down Payment Assistance Program

The HOME Plus Down Payment Assistance Program assists creditworthy borrowers with both the down payment and closing costs. The program functions as a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with down payment assistance. To be eligible, you must have an annual income below $126,351. A borrower completes a mandatory home buyer education course before closing on a house. 

5. Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federal program implemented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and works with the City of Phoenix to provide low-income housing. The housing vouchers subsidize part of the rent. The program stipulates that you must pay a minimum of 30% of your monthly income toward rent, and the program will help cover the remaining balance. The waitlist is currently closed.

6. Scattered Sites Homeownership Program

The Scattered Sites Homeownership program offers a variety of single-family homes to eligible individuals with households that have two or more members. To be eligible, you must meet the income requirements and a minimum of 30% of your monthly income must be used to cover rent. The waitlist is currently closed for this program. 

7. Rental Assistance and Eviction Prevention Program

The Arizona Department of Housing in tandem with the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) offers an Emergency Rental Assistance program for some counties. Phoenix qualifies because it is located in Maricopa County. The program encourages renters and landlords to apply for assistance through the DES website. Eligible individuals can receive a maximum of $3,500 per month for a maximum of 18 months or a total amount of $63,000.

8. Affordable Rental Housing​ Program

Phoenix works with professional management companies to offer housing opportunities. All affordable housing rental units are owned by the City of Phoenix. To apply, reach out to the specific housing site that you are interested in. The city offers affordable rental housing specifically designed for seniors. 

9. Private Lenders

Reputable private lenders have a vast selection of resources from blogs to mortgage calculators and home affordability calculators intended to take the guesswork out of the home selection process. Such calculators can be an excellent starting point in combination with speaking to a lending professional. When speaking with a lender, remember that housing costs can add up, so build in wiggle room by avoiding maxing out your budget. 

How to Buy a House in Phoenix with Low Income

Purchasing an affordable house in Phoenix with a low income requires patience and research. Understand your budget and financial situation before applying to a specific housing program. Research different programs to see if you qualify. Before starting the application process, have all the documents on hand. Depending on the program, it's possible to combine assistance to have the most help possible when buying a home. 

Spread Your Wings with Housing Security in Phoenix

Jumping into the world of low-income housing might feel like a leap of faith, but the right team of professionals and applicable programs can have you soaring to housing stability in no time. Compare the programs and research your eligibility status to understand what works best for you. Consider government and private lending opportunities while reviewing your budget and future financial goals. The perfect nest for your family in Arizona might be closer than you think. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What is considered low income in Phoenix for housing?

A

Low-income housing in Phoenix depends on area-specific income limits related to the number of people in a household. A one-person household in Phoenix is considered low income with an income of $49,500.

Q

What is the affordable housing program under the City of Phoenix?

A

The City of Phoenix has affordable housing programs like the Open Doors Down Payment Assistance (DPA) program. The program assists with down payment and closing costs in the form of a deferred payment loan.

Q

How to get low-income housing in Phoenix?

A

To get low-income housing in Phoenix, you must meet certain income stipulations. After qualifying, individuals complete a pre-application form and select housing from one of the open waiting lists. 

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