NOTE: Please do not pay anyone for a Housing Choice Voucher or Public Housing Application. There is NEVER a fee to apply.

Public Housing

Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to high-rise apartments for elderly families. There are approximately 1.2 million households living in public housing units, managed by some 3,300 Housing Authorities. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers Federal aid to local housing agencies (HAs) that manage the housing for low-income residents at rents they can afford. HUD furnishes technical and professional assistance in planning, developing and managing these developments.

Public Housing is limited to low – income families and individuals with or without a disability. The Housing Authority of the City of Charleston determines your eligibility based on: 1) annual gross income; 2) whether you qualify as elderly, or a person with a disability, or as a family; and 3) U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status.

The Housing Authority of the City of Charleston (CHA) has income limits developed by HUD. HUD sets the lower income limits at 80% and very low income limits at 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which you choose to live. Income limits vary from area to area so you may be eligible at one HA but not at another. The HA serving your community can provide you with the income levels for your area and family size, or you can also find the income limits here on the internet.

For more information:

If you are eligible, CHA will perform criminal background and background checks to make sure you and your family will be suitable tenants. HAs will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other tenants or in the housing complex’s environment.

When applications are being accepted, a pre-application can be obtained online at or can be obtained at the Housing Authority’s Housing Resource office during scheduled times announced on our website.

If the CHA determines that you are eligible, your name will be put on a waiting list. Once your name begins approaching the top of the waiting list, the CHA will contact you to complete a full application. If it is determined that you are ineligible, the HA must say why and, if you wish, you can request an informal hearing.

Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

It is the policy of the Housing Authority of the City of Charleston to treat all applicants and participants equally, providing the same quality of service, regardless of family characteristics and background. Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, familial status, and disability. The Authority shall not discriminate because of race, color, sex, religion, familial status, age, disability, national origin or sexual orientation.

For more information on your fair housing rights go the Department of Housing And Urban Development’s Fair Housing/Equal Opportunity website.

Download Fair Housing Booklet 1686 in a pdf