Index: Community Development / Subcategory: Housing

Federally Subsidized Housing

Date updated: 04/23/2013

The federal government has funded subsidized housing for low income renters since the Housing Act of 1937. In Larimer County, as in the rest of the country, there is public housing and subsidized housing (generally through a Housing Choice Voucher program). Under these programs, qualified households typically pay 30% of their incomes toward rent. The Federal government, through a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program, pays the rest. To be eligible for programs in Larimer County, people must meet applicable income limits, which vary by household size. Once qualified for a program, a household will generally be put on a waiting list for assistance. The wait for a slot in the program can vary from two years up to four years.

There are five housing authorities in Larimer County:

What this chart shows: Households with Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) in Larimer County, 2003 - 2012

 

Data Sources:

See data table

What the above data tell us:

The data shown represent the average number of active vouchers for a given year. The number of vouchers attached to active leases can vary during the year. As households move out of the program and new households are qualified, there can sometimes be unused vouchers during the transition.

In 2005, HUD changed the method by which the Housing Choice Voucher Program was funded. Rather than being guaranteed enough money to fund all of their authorized vouchers, housing authorities were given a set amount of money, based on the average amount of money spent during a three-month period (May-July) in 2006. If a housing authority happened to be under-leased (not all vouchers in use) during those three months, the amount of money that the housing authority received for 2007 was reduced. In addition to this possible reduction, HUD made an across the board 6% cut in the Housing Choice Voucher Program budget. Nationally, the result of the change since 2005 in federal support has been a net loss of approximately 100,000 housing vouchers. In Larimer County, 52 vouchers were lost.

The increase in the average number of vouchers beginning in 2008 is due to another change in funding methodology by HUD. Rather than basing funding on a limited three-month period, funding is now based on the entire year, plus a percentage for inflation.

What this chart shows: Available Public Housing by Housing Authority - Larimer County, 2012

 

Data Source: Fort Collins Housing Authority (data not available online)

See data table

What the above data tell us:

The Larimer County Housing Authority, the Housing Authority of the City of Loveland, and the Estes Park Housing Authority do not currently manage public housing units.

In Larimer County, as in the rest of the United States, there are typically a considerably larger number of households with Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) than those living in public housing units (1,672 vouchers compared to 196 public housing units in 2012 for Larimer County). The creation of new public housing units would be extremely costly. With shrinking federal housing funds, it is more cost effective to use a voucher payment system.

As of April 2013, the Section 8 waiting list included 1,609 for the Fort Collins Housing Authority, 2,000 for the Housing Authority of the City of Loveland, and 86 for the Estes Park Housing Authority.

Additional Information:

What is public housing? Public housing is housing owned and run by a governmental body such as a local Housing Authority. To be eligible to live in public housing, a person or family must be low income and meet certain other requirements. Rent and utilities are generally lower than in private housing. In most cases, rent in public housing can be no more than 30% of individual or family gross income.

What is subsidized housing? Housing is subsidized when the government pays part of the tenant's rent or mortgage. To obtain subsidized housing, households must have a low or moderate income. Under the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Housing Choice Vouchers program and the Rural Economic and Community Development (formerly FmHA) Rental Assistance Program, part of the rent of qualifying lower income households is paid by the government. Under these programs, as with public housing, tenants usually pay no more than 30% of their gross income for rent and utilities.

Housing Choice Vouchers (includes what used to be known as 'Section 8 Certificates') can be project based (e.g., a housing development where some or all units are partially paid by Housing Choice Vouchers) or client based where the voucher moves with the household. In this case, the voucher holder finds a private landlord willing to accept the certificate and work with the program.

There is a difference between 'subsidized housing' and what is referred to as 'affordable housing'. While subsidized housing involves a monetary assistance with paying rent, the term affordable housing is used to describe housing that has been developed or purchased in a manner which allows rental costs or mortgage payments to stay at a lower amount. Therefore, this housing remains affordable (by definition) to households with lower incomes.

Related Information on COMPASS-

Other Resources -

Data Tables:

Larimer County Section 8 Households

Year

Estes Park

Housing Authority

Fort Collins Housing Authority

Housing Authority of the City of Loveland

Larimer County Housing Authority

2003

44

744

424

100

2004

44

744

468

100

2005

40

712

448

100

2006

40

730

430

100

2007

40

728

430

100

2008

40

744

457

100

2009

45

814

499

100

2010

48

914

548

100

2011

46

964

575

100

2012

48

979

545

100

See chart

Larimer County Public Housing Units, 2012

Fort Collins

Housing Authority

Wellington

Housing Authority

# of Housing Units

% of Total

# of Housing Units

% of Total

154

63%

42

17%

See chart