What is affordable housing?

Generally, there are four types of affordable housing: Public Housing; Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8 Voucher); Site-Based Subsidized Housing; and Tax Credit sites.

Public Housing: These are apartment complexes owned and managed by a Housing Authority. The tenant pays a portion of the rent each month, and the federal government pays the remainder of the rent.

Housing Choice Voucher: Formerly called Section 8 vouchers, voucher holders locate their own rental unit (apartment, house, condo, townhouse, manufactured home). The voucher holder pays a portion of the rent each month, and the voucher pays the remaining portion.

Subsidized sites (site-based Section 8, USDA Rural Development, Rental Assistance) offer rents based on household income in accordance with federal regulations. The tenant pays a portion of the rent each month, and the federal government pays the remaining portion. The majority of these sites are privately owned and managed, although subsidized by the federal government. Unlike a Housing Choice Voucher, the tenant cannot take the subsidy with them when they move out of a site-based subsidized apartment.

Tax Credit sites, though not subsidized by the federal government, are considered affordable. They offer lower than market rate rents to families and individuals with modest incomes. The tenant is required to pay the full rent and utilities, and must have a minimum income to qualify (as opposed to subsidized housing, which has provisions for those with no regular income).

Rental Programs

Kent & Sussex Counties - DSHA Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers.

These programs, offered by DSHA in Kent and Sussex Counties, provides safe, decent affordable rental housing and access to supportive services for low-income families. The Housing Choice Voucher program offers rental assistance to eligible low-income individuals and families to rent privately-owned dwelling units from participating landlords. DSHA administers 900 vouchers and 500 units of public housing at ten public housing sites. Note: Program participants, except the elderly or people with disabilities, must also be enrolled in the Moving to Work (MTW) program. Learn more

Click here to apply online to DSHA's waiting list or call (888) 363-8808 for an application.

Other Public Housing Authorities in Delaware - please contact for their individual waiting list policies and applications:

  • Dover Housing Authority offers Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers for housing in the City of Dover. (302) 678-1965
  • New Castle County Department of Community Services administers Housing Choice Vouchers in New Castle County outside the Cities of Wilmington and Newark. (302) 395-5600
  • Newark Housing Authority offers Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers for housing in the City of Newark. (302) 366-0826
  • Wilmington Housing Authority offers Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers for housing in the City of Wilmington. (302) 429-6700

Other Subsidized and Affordable Housing Options

Low-income families, people with disabilities and elderly persons whose incomes do not exceed 50% of median income (in some cases, 80%), are eligible to reside in site-based subsidized complexes. Normally, resident families pay 30% of their adjusted gross income to rent a unit at a site-based subsidized site. The federal government subsidizes the balance of the rent.

Tax credit sites offer lower than market rate rents to families and individuals with modest incomes. The tenant is required to pay the full rent and utilities, and must have a minimum income to qualify (as opposed to subsidized housing, which has provisions for those with no regular income Specific income limits are determined based on family size and county location of the unit. Please contact sites directly for rates and availability.

Resources:

Emergency Housing

Emergency housing provides shelter to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Emergency shelters provide immediate housing for up to 30 days, unless otherwise specified. Transitional housing provides temporary housing and support services over an extended period of time. Rapid rehousing provides short-term case management and assistance to regain stable housing.

Any person or family who is homeless and in need of assistance should call 2-1-1 and you will be connected to Centralized Intake, or you can call Centralized Intake directly at (302) 654-0126, x. 112 to be referred to appropriate services. All Delaware programs serving homeless families and most programs serving homeless individuals require a referral from the centralized intake system. This info sheet addresses frequently asked questions about centralized intake. Assistance accessing centralized intake is also available at the State Service Centers.

Homeless Veterans have additional options available through the Veterans Administration. If you have served in the Unites States Armed Forces and find yourself homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, please click here for veteran program contact info or Centralized Intake can help refer you to veteran-specific programs.

Income Limits and Payment Standards

Income limits and payment standards are defined by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, and are determined based on family size and county location of the unit.

  • Income Limits
  • Payment Standards
    DSHA's payment standards are the maximum allowable monthly rental costs for Delawareans receiving rental assistance vouchers through DSHA's Housing Choice Voucher program, Family Unification Program (FUP) and the State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP). In some areas where rental housing is more expensive, higher payment standards apply. Click the link below to view the map and to find DSHA's maximum allowable rent payments by ZIP code or search by address.

Areas of Opportunity Map

Landlord/Tenant Issues

Do you have a landlord or tenant issue? Contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit at (800) 220-5424.

The Delaware Community Legal Aid Society has answers to many common landlord/tenant questions on their Information about Tenants Rights page.