Home, land and housing are three closely related concepts that many of us come into contact with, at some point of our lives. Home, in the broadest sense, can refer to any fixed structure occupied by people to live their lives, be it a house, an apartment, a bungalow, a condominium or a townhouse. Housing, in the narrower sense, refers to the arrangement and assigned use of residential buildings or homes for the purpose of housing people themselves, with varying social, legal and economic implications. The latter term, housing, is broadly employed to refer to any residential building designed and built for the purpose either of permanent residence, of a business, office or other kind of occupation, including public buildings such as schools, colleges and hospitals. These institutions tend to receive more governmental support in terms of resources and finances than private houses.
The objective of housing may be varied and wide-ranging. At one end of the spectrum, the objective can be simply providing a dwelling place to a person, on rent, where that person is free to come and go as he wishes. At another end of this spectrum, the objective may be more complex, and housing developments may be characterized by the tenure of different types of dwellings, such as for rent to own, rent to share, leasehold, council housing and cooperative housing. Even within these kinds of housing units, the tenure may differ. Within either of these types of housing units, tenure may be determined by the kind of tenancy prescribed by law, by custom or by agreement of the people involved. In either case, the objective of housing is to provide an atmosphere in which the dwellers can freely move about and engage in the communal activities intended to enhance the community.
Over the last several decades, the expansion of social welfare programs has led to developments in housing choice. The expansion of these programs has led to developments in housing voucher programs, which essentially involve using housing vouchers to purchase or rent residential units. The voucher program was initially introduced in New York City around seventy years ago. Ever since its inception, the housing voucher program has been implemented in dozens of other US cities, and today there are millions of Americans enrolled in housing vouchers.
A housing voucher is a contract between a tenant and a landlord. The agreement establishes a rental agreement between the landlord and the tenant. This contract stipulates the amount of rent that the landlord will charge, when the rent is due, the procedure for paying rent and other pertinent issues. In the event that the tenant fails to pay the rent, or is in breach of any terms of the contract agreed upon between the landlord and tenant, the landlord can implement the provisions contained within the agreement and compel the tenant to leave the property.
Voucher applications are evaluated by reviewing standards set by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Public Housing Service. Each application is reviewed individually to determine if it meets the qualifications for participation in the program. If it does, then the applicant is approved to participate in the voucher program. At this point, the applicant is required to pay for housing assistance payments directly from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Public Housing Assistance.
Many housing authorities offer housing vouchers. The most popular vouchers are from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Public Housing Assistance. Most housing authorities also have their own private housing assistance programs, but the one largest voucher program remains the Office of the Public Housing Services. Applicants can find out the housing assistance programs offered in their area by contacting their local housing authority.