HUD Homeless Programs
updated September 22, 2017

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds different programs to help people who are homeless. The biggest of these programs were created by the McKinney-Vento Act.

Programs funded by McKinney-Vento are run by nonprofits, public housing authorities (PHAs), and local governments.

Who It Helps

HUD’s programs are for people who are homeless, including people who are single, youth, and families. This includes people who are:

  • In emergency shelters or transitional housing
  • Fleeing domestic abuse
  • Living in places unfit for humans (a place that is dangerous and harmful to your health or safety)

To be considered homeless for these programs, you cannot have a place to stay or be able to afford a place.

These programs give extra priority to homeless people and families who:

If you are able to stay with friends or family or have other housing sources, HUD does not consider you homeless. You must truly not have a place where you can stay.

How HUD’s Programs Help People Who Are Homeless

If you qualify for benefits, the help you may get can include:

  • Admission to a homeless shelter or transitional housing that gives you a place to stay temporarily, until you find something better.
  • Rental assistance, which helps you pay for your rent in a private apartment for up to 24 months or until you either are in a better situation and don’t need the help or until you are approved for another benefit like the Section 8 housing choice voucher (HCV) program. If a family member has a disability, the 24-month limit doesn’t apply.
  • Permanent supportive housing for people or families with disabilities, including specific apartments in certain buildings or help with rent in other buildings.
  • Support services you need, including housing searches, life skills training, job counseling, parenting skills, and other services.

How To Apply

HUD programs for the homeless are run by nonprofits, local governments, and public housing authorities (PHAs). Each one may have its own application form asking you to give information about yourself, including your income, your assets, and your situation. Some work with local Continuum of Care (CoC) offices to use a shared application so that people can be matched with the best program for their needs without having to fill out as many applications.

Learn more about programs for the homeless on HUD’s website.

Get Help

If you are homeless or need immediate help to be able to stay in your current place, get in touch with somebody who can help you. See HB101's Homeless Services Map to find a resource in your area.

Find local homeless services

If you are homeless or having trouble paying rent, use HB101's Homeless Services Map to find help. When you use the map and apply for services with one organization, your information goes into a central system that matches your needs with housing services in the area, even if they are operated by other organizations.

Check the Homeless Services Map.

Find Local Services