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 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

If you are eligible, the 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.


Go to our public notice to see if any waiting lists are currently open:  Public Housing Notice


When applications are being accepted, a pre-application can be obtained online from our public notice at www.chacity.org. The Charleston Housing Authority usually needs to collect the following information to determine eligibility:

  1. Names of all persons who would be living in the unit, their sex, date of birth, and relationship to the family head;
  2. Your present address, telephone number and email address;
  3. Names and addresses of your current and previous landlords for information about your family’s suitability as a tenant;
  4. An estimate of your family’s anticipated income for the next twelve months and the sources of that income;
  5. The names and addresses of employers, banks, and any other information the HA would need to verify your income and deductions, and to verify the family composition.


Yes, the CHA will request whatever documentation is needed (e.g., birth certificates, social security cards, picture id, proof of income) to verify the information given on your application. You will be asked to sign a form to authorize release of pertinent information to the PHA.


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.


Yes. Giving preference to specific groups of families enables an HA to direct their limited housing resources to the families with the greatest housing needs. Since the demand for housing assistance often exceeds the limited resources available to HUD and the local HAs, long waiting periods are common. In fact, an HA may close its waiting list when there are more families on the list than can be assisted in the near future.

Each HA has the discretion to establish preferences to reflect needs in its own community. These preferences are included in the CHAs written ACOP which can be viewed here on our website.

IS THE WAITING LIST OPEN? Click here to see Public Notices


If you are offered a house or apartment and accept it, you will have to sign a lease with the CHA. You will have to give the CHA a security deposit of $150.00. You and a CHA representative will go over the lease together. You will also be required to attend orientation for new residents. This will give you a better understanding of your responsibilities as a tenant and the HA’s responsibilities as a landlord.


Your rent would be based on your family’s anticipated gross annual income less deductions, if any. HUD regulations allow HAs to exclude from annual income the following allowances: $480 for each dependent; $400 for any elderly family, or a person with a disability; and some medical deductions for families headed by an elderly person or a person with disabilities. Based on your application, the HA representative will determine if any of the allowable deductions should be subtracted from your annual income. Annual income is the anticipated total income from all sources received from the family head and spouse, and each additional member of the family 18 years of age or older.

The formula used in determining the TTP is the highest of the following, rounded to the nearest dollar:

  1. 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income. (Monthly Adjusted Income is annual income less deductions allowed by the regulations);
  2. 10 percent of monthly income;
  3. welfare rent, if applicable; or
  4. a $25 minimum rent


In general, you may stay in public housing as long as you comply with the lease.

If, at reexamination your family’s income is sufficient to obtain housing on the private market, the HA may determine whether your family should stay in public housing.

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 to the Department of Housing And Urban Development’s Fair Housing/Equal Opportunity website.