HIV Resources Project of Northern VA
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Glossary of Housing Terms
Housing activities often have a language of their own. Following are some terms and program names that appear elsewhere on this site.

Affordable Dwelling Units
As housing developments are being built, local governments work with builders to set-aside a small number of units within the development for Affordable Dwelling Units. The units may be rentals offered to income-eligible people at less than the market rents charged for other units or may be first-time homebuyer opportunities.

Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance
This type of program assists modest-income, first-time homebuyers with low interest or forgivable grants to partially cover down-payment, closing costs and other incidental costs associated with purchasing a home.

Elderly / Disabled Housing
This program provides rental housing for elderly people (62 or older) or people with disabilities (any age over 18). Facilities are accessible with limited additional services, such as a bus for transportation. Residents must meet income and other eligibility requirements. There is usually a waiting list for this type of housing.

Homeless Shelters
These are time-limited (usually 30-90 days duration) congregate housing opportunities for persons with no place to live.

Local homeless shelters may specialize in a particular homeless sub-population, such as the mentally ill. Shelters routinely require residents to participate in a variety of programs, such as counseling and parenting classes, and to seek employment so that they can graduate to self-sufficiency.

During the coldest months of the year, November through March, additional temporary “winter-only beds” may be added to the regional shelter bed supply.

Homelessness Prevention Programs
These programs exist to make episodic emergency payments for rent, mortgage and utilities to prevent the homelessness of the tenant or homeowner.

Reasons for non
-payment must be out of the control of the tenant or homeowner.

Housing Choice Voucher
The Housing Choice Voucher program is a rental subsidy program for very low-income families. The tenants pay 30% of their income towards rent, with the subsidy payment making up the rest of the rent payment up to a predetermined maximum by apartment size and location. Tenants’ income cannot exceed limits established by HUD.

Persons and/or family must meet other program or local housing office and/or landlord regulations. This type of housing subsidy is portable, i.e., it follows the tenant when they move.

Housing Counseling
This form of counseling provides advice on buying a home, conducting a housing search, renting, mortgage default and foreclosure, credit issues, discrimination and fair housing issues, and reverse mortgages.

Housing Rehabilitation Program
This type of program provides funding to homeowners to make certain renovations to their homes, such as replacing windows, doors, and/or heating and cooling to make the home more energy efficient or livable.

Rehabilitation programs may also make funding available for home-accessibility modifications for persons who have developed mobility impairments.

Public Housing
Public Housing is rental housing developments or scattered rental housing units for very low-income families. Tenants pay 30% of their income for rent and income must not exceed the income limit established by HUD.

Persons and/or family must meet other program or local housing office and/or landlord regulations.

Section 8 Project-Based
Section 8 Project Based is a rental subsidy program tied to specific housing developments or housing units that is available to very low-income families. Tenants pay 30% of their income for rent and income must not exceed the income limit established by HUD.

This type of housing subsidy remains with the unit when the tenant moves.

Persons and/or family must meet other program or local housing office and/or landlord regulations.

Section 8 Tenant Based
See Housing Choice Voucher

Tax Credit Rentals
The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is the federal government’s primary program for producing affordable rental housing.

Housing developers submit proposals to receive tax credits. Those who are successful offer the tax credits “for sale” to investors in exchange for funding to acquire, build, and rehabilitate properties. The rent in tax credit units is lower than market rate and the tenant must meet income and other program eligibility requirements specific to each development.

Additional website information for non-profit housing developers, as well as information about income limits and other requirements for participation can be found at Housing Types.

Transitional Housing
Transitional housing is a short-term (usually 2 years) housing program offered to people coming out of homelessness.  The program pairs housing with life skills training to enhance self-sufficiency.

Utility Assistance
Utility assistance is designed to assist families who have housing but cannot pay their utilities due to unforeseen circumstances for a specific period of time.
Funding for this project was provided by:
US Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentHIV/AIDS Administration
                 HAHSTA
HIV Resources Project, C/O Northern Virginia Regional Commission  3040 Williams Drive, Suite 200  Fairfax, VA 22031  703-642-4627 (Voice)  Email Us