Family Unification Program
updated April 21, 2017

The Section 8 Family Unification Program (FUP) helps families at risk of being separated due to lack of housing. It also helps former foster youth ages 18 – 21.The program is funded by the federal government and administered by local public housing authorities (PHAs).

If you qualify, you will get help paying for rent in any privately owned housing that will accept FUP as payment. That means you will end up spending 30% – 40% of your income on your housing and the government will pay the rest.

An additional benefit is that youth also get help with things like:

  • Money management skills
  • Job preparation
  • Educational counseling, and
  • Proper nutrition and meal preparation.

Who Can Get It

Your county human services agency may refer people from these two groups to the Family Unification Program:

  • Families who are at risk of being separated because of their housing situation.This means the family’s lack of adequate housing could:
    • Lead to the family's children being placed in out-of-home care, or
    • Delay the discharge of children to the family from out-of-home care.
  • Youth ages 18 21 who left foster care after they turned 16 and do not have adequate housing.

A family or young person might need help from the Family Unification Program when they are:

  • Living in housing that is
    • Substandard, which means it does not meet health and safety codes, or
    • Dilapidated, which means it is run-down.
  • Homeless
  • In danger of losing their home very soon
  • Forced to leave their home because of domestic violence
  • Living in an overcrowded unit
  • Living in housing not accessible for a young person who left foster care or for a family’s disabled child or children
You must also qualify for Section 8

To get help from the Family Unification Program, you must also meet eligibility rules for the Section 8 housing choice voucher program, including having low income. The exact income limits depend on the number of people in your household and where you live. The best way to find out the income limit in an area is by contacting a local PHA. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also lists income limits. Households with income that is below 50% of median income (what HUD considers “very low income”) or lower may qualify.

Learn more about Section 8 housing choice voucher eligibility.

Housing Settings Where the Family Unification Program May Help

The Family Unification Program helps people rent any apartment or home where a landlord will accept it as a form of payment, and that meets the public housing authority’s standards. The public housing authority will tell you how large an apartment you may rent and the most it can cost. The good part is that you can choose the apartment you want to live in instead of being limited to a housing project or low-income housing units.

If you need additional services, like personal care assistance, you may be able to get help paying for those services from programs like Medical Assistance (MA) and MA-Waiver programs. Contact your local county human services agency to learn about your options.

Application

First, you must be referred to a public housing authority by your local county human services agency, which will handle the initial paperwork. These are the public housing authorities that have the Family Unification Program in Minnesota:

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has the most up-to-date list of Family Unification Program public housing authorities.

Each housing authority has its own application form you will have to fill out. These application forms ask you to state how many people live in your household, how they are related, how much income you have, and if you have a disability. If you have a problem applying, get help from the housing authority staff — you never have to pay to apply.

Finding a Place

If you are approved for the Family Unification Program, you need to find a place. The place you find will have to be within size and rent limits that are set by your public housing authority and the landlord will have to agree to accept your benefits from the Family Unification Program as payment. There are different ways to find a place to rent. Here are a few you can try:

  • Search on websites such as HousingLink and the HUD low-rent apartment search engine, and
  • Look at bulletin boards in community locations
  • Check ads in newspapers
  • Get recommendations from people you know, and
  • Ask your PHA and other nonprofits that help people with housing.

Once you find an apartment where the landlord accepts your benefits from the Family Unification Program as payment, you will spend about 30% – 40% of your income on your housing and the program will pay the rest.

Get Help

To learn more about the Family Unification Program, contact:

  • A local Family Unification Program public housing authority
  • The Disability Linkage Line® (DLL) at 1-866-333-2466
  • The Senior LinkAge Line® (SLL) at 1-800-333-2433

Read more on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website.