Florida Housing Assistance

Florida Housing Vouchers * Public Housing * Homeless * Making Home Affordable

Florida housing assistance includes numerous federally and state-funded programs specifically designed to help its residents with various housing needs.

Rental Help for Florida Residents

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

Section 8 Housing Program is HUD-funded rental assistance designed to help low-income individuals, families, senior citizens, and people with disabilities. Section 8 Housing provides the qualifying low-income population with affordable, decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market where the program is available.

Section 8 Housing for Florida is administered by local Public Housing Agencies (PHA). The program helps Florida eligible individuals and families broaden their housing options in the private rental market. Find more about Section 8 Housing Programs and Housing Choice Vouchers.

In Florida, each local Public Housing Authority administers Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers for its designated area. The part of the HUD Section 8 Program that offers Housing Choice Vouchers is also known as Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA). Under Section 8 TBRA local Florida Public Housing Authorities offer vouchers for more than 100 thousand Section 8 housing units across the state. The local PHA’s are solely responsible for all the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers eligibility and program administration.

Normally, there is a waiting list and the applications for the Section 8 Vouchers are taken periodically at a time determined by the local Public Housing Authority. The open period for taking Section 8 applications is usually advertised in the local newspaper two weeks prior to starting acceptance of applications, and all related social service agencies are notified. As most PHA have very long waiting lists you may want to apply at more than one PHA. The PHA can also give you a list of locations at which your voucher can be used.

When the waiting list is open, completed applications are accepted from all applicants. The Housing Authority will then verify the information in each application relevant to the applicant’s eligibility, admission, and benefits level.

Eligible Section 8 applicants can select housing within a neighborhood of their choice from a property owner willing to participate in the Section 8 program. TBRA contracts must have a minimum lease of one year and cannot exceed two years – but they can be renewed. Choices of housing units may include the family’s present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the local Housing Authority. The rents in HOME assisted units must be affordable to low-income families and remain affordable for a designated amount of time.

Section 8 Program in Florida, as in other States, allows families to pay a predetermined share of their income toward the rent while issued Housing Choice Vouchers make up the difference. The program does not pay for security deposits and moving expenses. The tenant is responsible for paying for any utilities not included in the rent according to the lease.

By law, PHA must provide 75 percent of its vouchers to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30% of the area median income. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location.

Income eligibility limits and benefit levels are based on local median income and local housing costs but are set largely at the federal level with limited local discretion. Income requirements are set generally as less than 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) but can be up to 80% in some cases. By law, seventy-five percent of the newly issued vouchers must go to families with incomes below 30% of the Area Median Income.

Current recipients maintain vouchers until their income reaches a level at which the value of their housing subsidy is reduced to $0.00 – all housing subsidies are calculated based on family income, housing costs, and other factors.

For specifics on eligibility for each Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher please, check with your local Florida Public Housing Authority.

Search Section 8 listed rentals in Florida here

Project-Based Rental Assistance

Project-Based rental assistance pays normally all rent that is left after eligible tenants contribute 30% of their adjusted annual income toward the rent. This is for Project-Based rental units in specific buildings designated as Section 8 and subsidized by the Federal Government with the main purpose to provide affordable housing for low-income families. The Florida Housing Finance Agency promotes affordable housing opportunities for this program by providing Project Based Contract Administration on behalf of HUD. The Project-Based Contract Administration involves over 23,000 units throughout the state of Florida. Applications are accepted and waiting lists are maintained at each housing site. PHA processes monthly tenant and voucher requirements, payments, performs physical site inspection and responds to tenant complaints related to each Florida Project-Based Rental Assistance project. The populations served are households that are extremely-low income with income up to 50% of the Area Median Income. HUD establishes and publishes the income parameters annually.

Public Housing – Subsidized and Low-Rent Apartments

Public Housing provides safe, decent and affordable rental housing to eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides federal grants to local Public Housing Agencies (PHA) that manage the public housing developments for low-income residents at rents they can afford.

In general, housing developments owned, managed and maintained by the local PHA are referred to as Conventional Housing, or Low Rent Public Housing and units are offered to eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities at rental rates established by the PHA authorities within the HUD income limits and guidelines.

Inquire about current availability of subsidized and low-rent apartments at you local Florida Housing Authorities.

Search for affordable subsidized apartments in Florida using the HUD database.

 Housing Counseling Services

Contact one of the HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies in Florida State for the following education workshops or counseling services

  • Mortgage Delinquency and Default Resolution Counseling
  • Fair Housing Pre-Purchase Education Workshops
  • Financial Management/Budget Counseling
  • Financial, Budgeting and Credit Repair Workshops
  • Home Improvement and Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Non-Delinquency Post Purchase Workshops
  • Pre-purchase Counseling
  • Pre-purchase Homebuyer Education Workshops
  • Predatory Lending Education Workshops
  • Rental Housing Counseling
  • Rental Housing Workshops
  • Resolving/Preventing Mortgage Delinquency Workshops
  • Services for Homeless Counseling
  • Home Improvement and Rehabilitation Counseling

Florida – Making Home Affordable options

Making Home Affordable is a federal program designed to cover different homeowners’ hardships and financial situations. Under the program, there are various options that can help Florida homeowners in hardship stay in their homes. Depending on the situation Florida homeowners in hardship can apply to lower their monthly payments, lower the interest rate on their home loan or even get principal reduction in some cases.

There are foreclosure alternatives and temporarily help for unemployed homeowners as well.

Here are some of the most used options under the Making Home Affordable Program:

HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved housing counselor can be reached at: 888-995-4673  (Hearing impaired: 877-304-9709 TTY) to help you understand your options, prepare your application, and work with your mortgage company.

Florida Housing Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program

The Florida Housing Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program allows first-time homebuyers to claim 50% of the mortgage interest they pay per year as a tax credit. The dollar amount of the annual tax credit cannot be larger than the annual federal income tax liability,  after all other credits and deductions have been taken into account, and the maximum allowed amount is $2,000 per year. Any remaining mortgage interest not included as part of the MCC tax credit is still eligible for the home mortgage interest deduction on the homebuyer’s federal tax return.

MCC helps first-time homebuyers in two ways: 1) allows them to use the estimated amount of the credit on a monthly basis as additional income, thus increasing the chances of the first-time homebuyer qualifying for a loan, 2) saves homebuyer money each year by reducing their federal tax liability, as long as they live in the purchased home.

Florida Housing MCC Program is designed for first-time homebuyers or homebuyers that have not owned a home as a primary residence in the past 3 years, and for eligible veterans purchasing a home anywhere in Florida.

The Florida Housing MCC can be issued with any participating lender’s fixed rate first mortgage loan. It cannot be used with the First Time Homebuyer Bond Loan Program or local housing agency bond loans.

The MCC Program has income and purchase price limits. These limits differ from county to county as well as by household size.

Florida MCC Borrower Income Limits by County


Contact a participating lender if you have questions or would like to apply for a MCC.

The Florida Housing MCC Program mailing address for loan documents is:
Florida Housing Finance Corporation
Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program
227 North Bronough Street, Ste. 5000
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
(850) 488-4197


Homeowners Assistance and Housing Programs

Florida Hardest Hit Fund (HHF)

Florida Hardest Hit Fund is the State of Florida foreclosure prevention program established with funding of the Federal Hardest Hit Fund program. As a result of the economic crisis, Florida was one of the 18 U.S. States hit hardest by high unemployment and declining home prices. Under the Hardest Hit Fund Program, the State of Florida was allocated more than $1 billion. This monetary help became available to Florida low and moderate income-eligible homeowners through the Florida Hardest Hit Fund –  a foreclosure prevention program administered by Florida Housing Finance Corporation (HFC).

There are different housing programs under the Florida Hardest Hit Fund – all of which federally funded and designed to help Florida homeowners facing financial hardship.

Florida Hardest Hit Fund and its programs address the needs of low and moderate-income homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments as a result of the economic and real estate downturn. The programs provide monetary assistance that can be used by eligible Florida homeowners, on a case by case basis, for mortgage principal reduction, first mortgage reinstatement, unemployment monthly mortgage payments, and elderly mortgage assistance.

Florida Hardest Hit Fund Programs

Florida HHF Principal Reduction (HHF-PR) Program

This option of Florida Hardest Hit Fund provides capital to eligible homeowners to help them reduce the outstanding principal mortgage balances, thus establishing affordable debt level and monthly payments. Principal Reduction of the mortgage is a direct monetary help to the qualifying Florida homeowners providing up to $50,000 to reduce the principal balance of the first mortgage. A requirement for HHF Principal Reduction assistance is a mortgage balance greater than 125% of the property ‘s Fair Market Value before the start of modification or refinance. The homeowner must not have assets (excluding retirement assets) equal to or greater than the amount of the principal reduction assistance.

In addition to the above, there are other requirements that must be met by a Florida homeowner with a mortgage in order to qualify for HHR-PR assistance:

  • Applicant must be legal US resident/legal alien and  a Florida resident
  • The Home must be in Florida, Owner Occupied and Primary Residence
  • The Home must be Single Family 1-4 units attached or detached house or condominium
  • The property must have been purchased prior to January 1, 2010
  • The property securing the Mortgage Loan must not be abandoned, vacant or condemned
  • Must be current on the monthly mortgage payment
  • Must have an unpaid principal balance (UPB) that does not exceed $350,000 for the first mortgage
  • Total household income (including all persons living in the home age 18 years and older) must be less than 140% of the area median income (AMI)

For more information and how to apply call Florida Hardest Hit Fund information line at: 877-863-5244

Unemployment Mortgage Assistance  Program (UMAP)

Florida Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program is available to eligible homeowners who are unemployed, underemployed or have had at least a 10% reduction of income, and are experiencing a financial hardship. UMA will provide temporary monthly mortgage payments including principal, interest, and escrow expenses to eligible Florida homeowners who want to remain in their homes but experienced a loss of income due to unemployment or underemployment. Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program will provide up to 12 months of payments (with a cap of $24,000, whichever comes first) paid directly to the mortgage lender to assist unemployed or underemployed borrowers with their first mortgage with the sole purpose of helping homeowners avoid foreclosure. The maximum UMAP assistance per household is up to $42,000.

Florida homeowners who are delinquent on the first mortgage at the time they qualify for the UMAP,  can get up to $18,000 to help them pay all or some past due amounts owed. Any past due amounts over and above the $18,000 are the responsibility of the homeowner. This is additional UMAP assistance for delinquent homeowners, and is provided prior to the main Unemployment Mortgage Assistance, as per the program.

Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Payment (MLRP) Program

This option of Florida Hardest Hit Fund helps eligible homeowners reinstate their first mortgage loan if they have fallen behind due to short-term financial problems. Florida Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Payment offers up to $25,000 to qualified homeowners so they can catch up on their mortgage payments. In addition to help avoiding foreclosure, MLRP also helps borrowers by removing the need to capitalize the amount that needs to be reinstated and in a way increases their eligibility to refinance. This assistance cannot exceed $25,000 in total, and any past due amounts over and above the $25,000 are the responsibility of the homeowner. MLRP has been designed to help homeowners who have been unemployed, underemployed and experienced at least a 10 percent reduction in income, but now able to make their payments and sustain reinstated first-lien mortgage loan.

To apply for UMAP or MLRP :

  • Applicant must be legal US resident/legal alien and  a Florida resident
  • The Home must be in Florida, Owner Occupied and Primary Residence
  • The Home must be Single Family 1-4 units attached or detached house or condominium
  • First Mortgage is with a regulated financial institution and not seller-financed
  • The property securing the First Mortgage Loan must not be abandoned, vacant or condemned
  • Must have Monthly Housing Debt of more than 31% of the homeowner’s Gross Monthly Income
  • Must have an unpaid principal balance (UPB) that does not exceed $400,000 for the First Mortgage
  • Total Household Income (including all persons living in the home age 18 years and older) must be less than 140% of the area median income (AMI)

To apply and get details on UMAP and MLRP call Florida Hardest Hit Fund information line at:  877-863-5244

Florida Hardest Hit Fund Elderly Mortgage Assistance Program (ELMORE)

One of the housing programs created under the Florida Hardest Hit Fund is The Elderly Mortgage Assistance Program (ELMORE). The program addresses another almost unique to Florida problem – seniors who are in arrears on their reverse mortgage property payments as a result of the housing financial crisis. ELMORE is specifically designed to provide financial assistance to eligible elderly holding Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) and who are past due on their property taxes, homeowner’s insurance or homeowner’s association dues and other property charges. ELMORE is providing up to $25,000 to eligible senior homeowners with revers mortgages to help them remain in their homes. ELMORE can be used to bring homeowners property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, and homeowners or condo association dues (property charges) current. Elderly Mortgage Assistance is provided to the extent to cover these property charges that have been paid on behalf of the senior homeowner by the servicer of their reverse mortgage. In addition, the elderly homeowner my be eligible to have up to 12 months of future property charges up to the $25,000 limit, paid by ELMORE as well.

To apply for ELMORE:

  • Applicant must be legal US resident/legal alien and  a Florida resident
  • The Home must be in Florida, Owner Occupied and Primary Residence
  • The Home must be Single Family 1-4 units attached or detached house or condominium or townhome
  • First Mortgage is with a regulated financial institution and not seller-financed
  • The property securing the HECM loan must not be abandoned, vacant or condemned
  • Total amount of the homeowner assets must be lower than $48,000
  • Total Household Income must be less than 140% of the area median income (AMI) adjusted for the household size
  • Homeowner must have suffered a hardship that has resulted in inability to repay the property charges accumulated by their mortgage servicer
  • Applicant must show a reasonable likelihood of recovering from the hardship so as to afford the future property charges on an ongoing basis

For all current details on eligibility and how to apply – call toll-free ELMORE Application and Information Line at: 800-601-3534

Application for all housing programs including the Florida ELMORE program is FREE-OF-CHARGE and you will not be asked to pay for any eligibility determination services in conjunction with applying for the Florida ELMORE program.

Florida Homeless Service Organizations

Florida has regional homeless service organizations that coordinate local resources and can provide assistance to the homeless. Most Florida Homeless Service Organizations are funded through Continuum of Care (CoC). Continuum of Care is a federal program that consolidates the following Homeless Assistance programs: the Shelter Plus Care Program, the Supportive Housing Program, and the Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy Program. The CoC Program is designed to promote community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness by providing grants to nonprofit providers, State, and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities.

Florida Homeless Service Organizations funded by CoC assist individuals (including unaccompanied youth) and families experiencing homelessness. With the main goal of long-term stability those Florida homeless service organizations provide the services that are needed to help such individuals move into transitional and permanent housing.

If you are homeless in Florida and need help – call the listed homeless service organization in your area.

Alachua, Putnam, Bradford, Levy, Gilchrist

Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless & Hungry
2845 NE 39th Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32609

Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Washington

Homeless & Hunger Coalition of NW Florida
P.O. Box 549
Panama City, FL 32402-0549


Brevard County Housing and Human Services
2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way
Building B, Suite 103
Melbourne, FL 32940
321-633-2007, Ext. 56763


Broward County
Homeless Initiative Partnership
115 S. Andrews Av. Room A-307
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301


Charlotte County Homeless Coalition
PO Box 380157
Murdock, FL 33938-0157

Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Sumter

Mid-Florida Homeless Coalition
P.O. Box 3031
Inverness, FL 34451-3031

Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette, Suwannee

United Way of Suwannee Valley
325 NE Hernando Ave., Suite 102
Lake City, FL 32055-4015

 Find more

Florida Low-Rent Apartments

Find more and search for Florida subsidized and low-rent apartments here.