Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Public Housing Program?

Public housing was established by the federal government under the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities.


Public Housing properties come in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to high-rise apartments for seniors. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers federal funds to local housing agencies, such as the Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA), that manage the housing for low-income residents at affordable rents.

What are the income limits for the Public Housing Program?

Applicants for the Public Housing Program must qualify according to the income limits set forth each year by HUD.

Is your Public Housing waiting list open?

Details regarding the waiting lists at IHA's Public Housing and multi-program communities are listed on our Communities pages. Please visit the pages for the Communities of your choice you are interested in for details about that particular waiting list and how to get in touch with the rental office there for more information.. Please be aware the availability of some bedroom sizes may be limited.

How do I apply for Public Housing?

Applications for Public Housing are accepted onsite on application days. Please contact the desired community to inquire about their application days and times.

What number am I on the Public Housing waiting list?

IHA does not disclose your position on the Public Housing waiting list. However, you can confirm that you are currently active on the waiting list by contacting that community and keeping all of your information updated. Please keep in mind that it may take anywhere from six (6) months up to four (4) years to receive rental assistance once your application is posted to the waiting list.

I have already applied for IHA’s Public Housing waiting list, how long until I receive assistance?

It may take up to four (4) years to be pulled from the waiting list and receive assistance. This wait period depends on the amount of funding received from HUD. Once pulled from the list, IHA will contact you via mail. Please make sure to submit, in writing, any changes in your address to IHA to ensure you receive this correspondence.

I am in need of rental assistance today, how can IHA help me?

IHA does not offer emergency assistance. Please contact 211.

How much will my rent be?

Your rent or Total Tenant Payment (TTP) is based on your family's anticipated gross annual income which includes income from employment, unemployment, SSA/SSI Benefits, VA benefits, child support, TANF/AFDC, pensions, military pay, or from owning your own business. Annual income is the anticipated total income received from the family head of household and his/her spouse, and each additional member of the family eighteen (18) years of age or older.


HUD regulations allow housing agencies to exclude from annual income the following allowances: $480 for each dependent; $400 for any elderly family or a person with a disability; and some medical deductions for families headed by an elderly person or a person with disabilities.


Prior to leasing an apartment, your household income will be reviewed and your rent will be calculated based on current verified information.


IHA currently has a minimum rent of $50.00. You will have to pay your first month’s rent or a prorated rent when you sign your lease.

Will I have to pay a security deposit?

Yes, A security deposit of $100 plus $25 per bedroom will be required when you sign your lease. Approved payment arrangements may be made through Housing Management (HM).

Are utilities included in my rent?

IHA supplies utilities for units in three (3) developments: Lugar Tower, John J. Barton Tower and John J. Barton Annex. At all other IHA owned/managed communities, residents are responsible for establishing and paying their own utility bills.

Will I have to sign a lease?

If you accept an offer for an apartment, you will have to sign a lease with Housing Management (HM). The tenant and management will review the lease in detail. This will give you a better understanding of the responsibilities as a tenant and IHA's responsibilities as the landlord.

What is a recertification?

A recertification is similar to a lease renewal. You will be required each year to provide specific documentation to management to verify that you are still eligible for housing in an IHA property.

Are pets allowed in Low Income Public Housing buildings?

Small dogs, cats, birds and fish are allowed in Low Income Public Housing buildings. Please inquire with management at the community you wish to live prior to applying.

What if I have special needs?

Please tell us if you need assistance of any kind to access our services, and let us know if you need special features in your housing. (For example, we can often provide large print materials, wheelchair accessibility and customized interviews). If you need an interpreter or a translator, tell us and we will provide one for you.

Can IHA deny assistance?

Yes. Even if you can prove that you need housing, IHA is required by federal law and regulations to refuse assistance if you do not qualify. (Ex: criminal background)

Does IHA verify personal information?

Yes. At various stages of the application process, IHA may verify all sources of your income, your credit records, your criminal history and your residential history. IHA will only share your information with HUD and Tax Credit/Partners and as permitted by law in the federal housing program.

What do I do if I feel like my fair housing rights have been violated?

HUD is ready to help with any problem of housing discrimination. If you think your rights have been violated, the Housing Discrimination Complaint Form is available for you to download, complete and return, or complete online and submit. You may also write HUD a letter, or telephone the HUD Office nearest you. You have one year after an alleged violation to file a complaint with HUD, but you should file it as soon as possible.

What to tell HUD:

  • Your name and address
  • The name and address of the person your complaint is against (the respondent)
  • The address or other identification to the housing involved
  • A short description to the alleged violation (the event that caused you to believe your rights were violated)
  • The date(s) to the alleged violation

Where to write or call:

Send the Housing Discrimination Complaint Form or a letter to the HUD Office nearest you or you may call that office directly.

If you are disabled:

HUD also provides:

  • A toll-free TTY phone for the hearing impaired: 1-800-927-9275
  • Interpreters
  • Tapes and braille materials
  • Assistance in reading and completing forms
Technical Guidance:

The Section 8 program regulations are at 24 CFR Part 983. Additional information about the Section 8 program can be found by visiting the Section 8 program web pages at the HUD website.