Housing assistance can have different meanings depending on the context in which the term is being used. In general, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides federal aid to local agencies that manage public housing at affordable rents. This public housing is generally available to low-income individuals and families, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities. HUD provides housing assistance through this program in the form of privately-owned subsidized housing, public housing, a voucher program, and the HUD resource locater.  

More broadly, individuals can receive many types of housing assistance through governmental and non-governmental programs even if they do not qualify for HUD assistance. Housing assistance can include: receiving help finding appropriate and affordable housing, as well as receiving information regarding landlord-tenant matters, eviction prevention, household maintenance, tenant rights, budgeting, neighborly responsibilities, lease and contract interpretation, and other topics related to renting or home ownership.