ACCESSORY USE: The use of a building, structure, or land that is subordinate to, customarily incidental to, and ordinarily found in association with, the principal use it serves.

43,560 square feet (about the size of a football field).


ACTIVE PARTNERS PERFORMANCE SYSTEM (APPS): Software program that allows HUD's business partners to submit their Previous Participation Certification (form 2530) request to HUD for processing via the Internet.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: In general, housing for which the occupant(s) is/are paying no more than 30 percent of his or her income for gross housing costs, including utilities. Please note that some jurisdictions may define affordable housing based on other, locally determined criteria, and that this definition is intended solely as an approximate guideline or general rule of thumb.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROGRAM (AHP): A competitive program of the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBanks) system that provides grants twice a year through financial institutions for investment in low- or moderate-income housing initiatives. The program is flexible, so that AHP funds can be used in combination with other programs and funding sources, thus promoting a project's feasibility.




AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY (ACS): A nationwide survey designed to provide communities with a fresh look at how they are changing. It is a critical element in the Census Bureau's reengineered 2010 census plan. The ACS collects information such as age, race, income, commute time to work, home value, veteran status, and other important data from U.S. households.

AMERICAN HOUSING SURVEY (AHS): Contains data on apartments, single-family homes, mobile homes, vacant homes, family composition, income, housing and neighborhood quality, housing costs, equipment, fuels, size of housing units, and recent movers. National data are collected every other year, from a fixed sample of about 50,000 homes, plus new construction each year. The survey started in 1973 and has relied on the same sample since 1985, allowing users to view statistical changes in homes and households over the years. In some metropolitan areas, additional samples (every four to six years) measure local conditions.

ANALYSIS OF IMPEDIMENTS (AI): A review of impediments or barriers that affect the rights of fair housing choice. It covers public and private policies, practices, and procedures affecting housing choice. The AI serves as the basis for fair housing planning, provides essential information to policymakers, administrative staff, housing providers, lenders, and fair housing advocates, and assists in building public support for fair housing efforts.

ANNUAL ADJUSTMENT FACTOR (AAF): Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 provides for annual rent adjustments for housing units assisted under this section. HUD develops the rent adjustment factors, called AAFs, on the basis of Consumer Price Index (CPI) data on changes in residential rent and utility costs. HUD publishes the AAFs annually in the Federal Register.

ANNUAL CONTRIBUTION CONTRACT (ACC): Annual contracts with Public Housing Authorities for payments toward rent, financing debt service, and financing for modernization.

ANNUAL INCOME: The HOME Program allows the use of three income definitions for the purpose of determining applicant eligibility:

  • Annual income as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations (24 CFR 5.609);

  • Annual income as reported under the Census Long Form for the most recent decennial census; or

  • Adjusted gross income as defined for purposes of reporting under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1040 series for individual federal annual income tax purposes.

The definitions are collectively referred to as "annual income" and are also used in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.


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BLIGHTED STRUCTURE: A structure is blighted when it exhibits objectively determinable signs of deterioration sufficient to constitute a threat to human health, safety, and public welfare.

BROWNFIELD: Abandoned, idled, and underused industrial and commercial facilities where expansion and redevelopment is burdened by real or potential environmental contamination.

BUILDING CODE: A set of building construction requirements developed and administered by national and local bodies to ensure that buildings meet certain minimum standards for structural integrity, safety, design, and durability.

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CENSUS TRACT: A small, relatively permanent statistical subdivision of a county or statistically equivalent entity, delineated for data presentation purposes by a local group of census data users or the geographic staff of a regional census center in accordance with Census Bureau guidelines.

CENSUS TRACT NUMBER: A four-digit basic number, followed by an optional two-digit decimal suffix, used to uniquely identify a census tract within a county or statistically equivalent entity.


CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS (CFR): The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to federal regulation. Each volume of the CFR is updated once each calendar year and is issued on a quarterly basis.

COMBINED STATISTICAL AREA (CSA): May comprise two or more metropolitan statistical areas, a metropolitan statistical area and a micropolitan statistical area, two or more micropolitan statistical areas, or multiple metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas that have social and economic ties as measured by commuting, but at lower levels than are found among counties within metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas.

COMMERCIAL BUILDING : Any building other than a residential or government building, including any building constructed for industrial, retail, business, or public purposes.

COMMITMENT: As used in the HOME program, commitment means one of three things. The Participating Jurisdiction (PJ) has:

  1. Executed a legally binding agreement with a state recipient, subrecipient, or contractor to use a specific amount of HOME funds to produce affordable housing or provide tenant-based rental assistance;

  2. Executed a written agreement reserving a specific amount of funds for a Community Housing Development Organization; or

  3. Met requirements to commit to a specific local project as defined below.

For tenant-based rental assistance, commitment means that a rental assistance contract between the PJ (or other entity) and the tenant or owner has been executed. HUD recognizes a commitment when the project is set up in the Integrated Disbursement and Information System.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM (CDBG): Created under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, this program provides grant funds to local and state governments to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing with a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities to assist low- and moderate-income residents. CDBG replaced several categorical grant programs, such as the Model Cities program, the Urban Renewal program, and the Housing Rehabilitation Loan and Grant program.

COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT (CPD): HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development seeks to develop viable communities by promoting integrated approaches that provide decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expand economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income persons. The primary means toward this end is the development of partnerships among all levels of government and the private sector, including for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

CONDOMINIUM: A form of ownership in which the separate owners of the individual units jointly own the development’s common areas and facilities.

CONSOLIDATED METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREA (CMSA): An area that has a census population of one million or more, has component parts that qualify as primary metropolitan statistical areas (PMSAs) based on official standards, and local opinion favors the designation. CMSAs consist of whole counties, except for the New England states, where they consist of county subdivisions (primarily cities and towns).

CONSOLIDATED PLAN: A document written by a state or local government describing the housing needs of the low- and moderate-income residents, outlining strategies to meet these needs, and listing all resources available to implement the strategies. This document is required in order to receive HUD Community Planning and Development funds.


COOPERATIVE (Co-op): Housing in which each member shares in the ownership of the whole project with the exclusive right to occupy a specific unit and to participate in project operations through the purchase of stock.

CORE-BASED STATISTICAL AREA: Refers collectively to metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas.


CREDIT PERIOD: The term "credit period" means, with respect to any building, the span of taxable years beginning with the taxable year in which the building is placed in service, or at the election of the taxpayer, the succeeding taxable year, but only if the building is a qualified low-income building as of the close of the first year of such period.

CHRONICALLY HOMELESS INDIVIDUAL: A homeless individual with a disability who lives either in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter, or in an institutional care facility if the individual has been living in the facility for fewer than 90 days and had been living in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter immediately before entering the institutional care facility. In order to meet the “chronically homeless” definition, the individual also must have been living as described above continuously for at least 12 months, or on at least four separate occasions in the last 3 years, where the combined occasions total a length of time of at least 12 months. Each period separating the occasions must include at least 7 nights of living in a situation other than a place not meant for human habitation, in an emergency shelter, or in a safe haven.


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DATA SET: HUD USER provides researchers with access to original electronic data sets generated by PD&R-sponsored data collection efforts, including the American Housing Survey, HUD median family income limits, as well as microdata from research initiatives on topics such as housing discrimination, the HUD-insured multifamily housing stock, and the public housing population.


DEBT SERVICE: Required payments for principal and interest made with respect to a mortgage secured by housing.

DECENNIAL CENSUS: The Decennial Census, undertaken by the U.S. Census Bureau, occurs every 10 years, in years ending in zero, to count the population and housing units for the entire United States. Its primary purpose is to provide the population counts that determine how seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are apportioned.

DEED-IN-LIEU: To avoid foreclosure ("in-lieu" of foreclosure), a deed is given to the lender to fulfill the obligation to repay the debt. This process does not allow the borrower to remain in the house, but helps avoid the time, effort, and costs associated with foreclosure.

DEFAULT:A failure to comply to make any payment or to perform any other obligation under the mortgage, and such failure continues for a period of 30 days.

DENSITY: The average number of dwelling units or persons per gross acre of land, usually expressed in units per acre, excluding any area of a street bordering the outside perimeter of a development site.

DIFFICULT DEVELOPMENT AREA (DDA): Any area designated by the HUD Secretary as an area that has high construction, land, and utility costs relative to the area median gross income.

DILAPIDATED HOUSING: A housing unit that does not provide safe and adequate shelter, and in its present condition endangers the health, safety or well-being of the occupants. Such a housing unit shall have one or more critical defects, or a combination of intermediate defects in sufficient number or extent to require considerable repair or rebuilding. Such defects may involve original construction, or they may result from continued neglect or lack of repair or from serious damage to the structure.

DISABILITY: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such for an individual.

DOCUMENTATION SYSTEM: Provides complete documentation of the development of the income limits and median family incomes (since 2007), as well as fair market rents (since 2005), for any area of the country.


Includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
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ELDERLY PERSON HOUSEHOLD: A household composed of one or more persons at least one of whom is 62 years of age or more at the time of initial occupancy.

ELIST: Electronic mailing list (eList) available from HUD USER to assist in disseminating research information, and to encourage subscribers to share information and exchange ideas with one another.

EMERGENCY SHELTER any facility, the primary purpose of which is to provide temporary or transitional shelter for the homeless in general or for specific populations of the homeless.

EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT (ESG) PROGRAM: A federal CPD program grant designed to help improve the quality of existing emergency shelters for the homeless, to make additional shelters available, to meet the costs of operating shelters, to provide essential social services to homeless individuals, and to help prevent homelessness. ESG also provides short-term homeless prevention assistance to persons at imminent risk of losing their own housing due to eviction, foreclosure, or utility shutoffs.

EMINENT DOMAIN: An exercise of the power of government or quasi-government agencies (such as airport authorities, highway commissions, community development agencies, and utility companies) to take private property for public use.

EMPOWERMENT ZONES (EZ): Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities are part of The Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities (EZ/EC) program. The Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities (EZ/EC) program was designed by the federal government to encourage comprehensive planning and investment aimed at the economic, physical, and social development of the neediest urban and rural areas in the United States. Under the initial round of funding announced in December 1994, 71 urban sites received EZ/EC designation. The major share of the federal funding went to the six sites designated as Empowerment Zones (EZs) and the remaining funds went to Enterprise Communities (ECs). Although considerable latitude has been afforded to these sites regarding the selection of specific strategies and activities to pursue, each funded community's efforts at zone transformation were expected to reflect four key principles: (1) economic opportunity; (2) community-based partnerships; (3) sustainable community development; and (4) a strategic vision for change.

ENERGY AUDIT: Any process that identifies and specifies the energy and cost savings likely to be realized through the purchase and installation of particular energy efficiency measures or renewable energy measures.

ENTERPRISE COMMUNITIES (EC): See Empowerment Zones (EZ).

EQUITABLE LAND USE PLANNING: zoning, land use regulation, master planning, and other land use planning that, at a minimum, furthers the purposes of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Fair Housing Act and are intended to achieve additional objectives for expanding housing choice.



The dispossession of the tenant from the leased unit as a result of the termination of tenancy, including a termination prior to the end of a lease term.

EXTENT OF HOUSING OVERCROWDING: The number of housing units with 1.01 or more persons per room based on data compiled by the United States Bureau of the Census and referable to the same point or period in time.

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FAIR HOUSING ACT: 1968 act (amended in 1974 and 1988) providing the HUD Secretary with fair housing enforcement and investigation responsibilities. A law that prohibits discrimination in all facets of the homebuying process on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

FAIR MARKET RENT (FMR): Primarily used to determine payment standard amounts for the Housing Choice Voucher program, to determine initial renewal rents for some expiring project-based Section 8 contracts, to determine initial rents for housing assistance payment contracts in the Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy program, and to serve as a rent ceiling in the HOME rental assistance program.

FAIR MARKET VALUE: The amount of money that would probably be paid for a property in a sale between a willing seller, who does not have to sell, and a willing buyer, who does not have to buy.


FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION (FHA): Provides mortgage insurance on loans made by FHA-approved lenders throughout the United States and its territories. FHA insures mortgages on single-family, multifamily, and manufactured homes and hospitals. It is the largest insurer of mortgages in the world, insuring over 34 million properties since its inception in 1934.

FEDERAL REGISTER : Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.




Children that are in the legal guardianship or custody of a State, county, or private adoption or foster care agency, yet are cared for by foster parents in their own homes, under some kind of short-term or long-term foster care arrangement with the custodial agency. These children will generally remain in foster care until they are reunited with their parents, or until their parents voluntarily consent to their adoption by another family, or until the court involuntarily terminates or severs the parental right of their biological parents, so that they can become available to be adopted by another family. Therefore, the parental rights of the parents of these children may or may not have been terminated or severed, and the children may or may not be legally available for adoption.

FRAIL ELDERLY: An elderly person who is unable to perform at least three "activities of daily living" comprising of eating, bathing, grooming, dressing, or home management activities.


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GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS): A computer system for the input, storage, processing, applications development, retrieval, and maintenance of information about the points, lines, and areas that represent the streets and roads, rivers, railroads, geographic entities, and other features on the surface of the earth — information that previously was available only on paper maps.

GEOCODING: The process of identifying the coordinates of a location given its address.


GOVERNMENT SPONSORED ENTERPRISE (GSE): HUD regulates two housing-related government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were chartered by Congress to create a secondary market for residential mortgage loans. They are considered "government-sponsored" because Congress authorized their creation and established their public purposes.

GROSS ANNUAL INCOME: the total income, before taxes and other deductions, received by all members of the tenant’s household. There shall be included in this total income all wages, social security payments, retirement benefits, military and veteran's disability payments, unemployment benefits, welfare benefits, interest and dividend payments and such other income items as the Secretary considers appropriate.

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HOME (HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIPS PROGRAM) : Provides formula grants to states and localities that communities use — often in partnership with local nonprofit groups — to fund a wide range of activities that build, buy, and/or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership, or to provide direct rental assistance to low-income people.

HOMELESS: An individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; as well an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations, an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

HOMELESS PREVENTION: Activities or programs designed to prevent the incidence of homelessness, including, but not limited to: (1) short-term subsidies to defray rent and utility arrearages for families that have received eviction or utility termination notices; (2) security deposits or first month’s rent to permit a homeless family to move into its own apartment; (3) mediation programs for landlord-tenant disputes; (4) legal services programs that enable representation of indigent tenants in eviction proceedings; (5) payments to prevent foreclosure on a home; and (6) other innovative programs and activities designed to prevent the incidence of homelessness.

HOMEOWNERSHIP ZONE PROGRAM (HOZ): Allows communities to reclaim vacant and blighted properties, increase homeownership, and promote economic revitalization by creating entire neighborhoods of new, single-family homes, called HOZs.


HOUSEHOLD: All the people who occupy a housing unit. A household includes the related family members and all the unrelated people, if any, such as lodgers, foster children, wards, or employees who share the housing unit. A person living alone in a housing unit, or a group of unrelated people sharing a housing unit such as partners or roomers, is also counted as a household.

HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY (HFA): State or local agencies responsible for financing and preserving low- and moderate-income housing within a state.

HOUSING MARKET AREA: A geographic region from which it is likely that renters/purchasers would be drawn for a given housing project. A housing market area most often corresponds to a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PERSONS WITH AIDS (HOPWA): Provides housing assistance and supportive services to low-income people with HIV/AIDS and their families. HOPWA funds may also be used for health care and mental health services, chemical dependency treatment, nutritional services, case management, assistance with daily living, and other supportive services.

HOUSING STOCK: the number of existing housing units based on data compiled by the United States Bureau of the Census and referable to the same point or period in time.



HUD METRO FMR AREA: Indicates that only a portion of the OMB-defined core-based statistical area (CBSA) is in the area to which the income limits or FMRs apply. HUD is required by OMB to alter the name of metropolitan geographic entities it derives from the CBSAs when the geography is not the same as that established by OMB.

HUD USER: An information resource from HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research offering a wide range of low- and no-cost content of interest to housing and community development researchers, government officials, academics, policymakers, and the American public. HUD USER is the primary source for federal government reports and information on housing policy and programs, building technology, economic development, urban planning, and other housing-related topics.

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INADEQUATE HOUSING: Housing with severe or moderate physical problems, as defined in the American Housing Survey (AHS) since 1984. A unit is defined as having severe physical problems if it has severe problems in any of five areas: plumbing, heating, electrical system, upkeep, and hallways. It has moderate problems if it has problems in plumbing, heating upkeep, hallways, or kitchen, but no severe problems.

INCOME LIMIT (IL): Determines the eligibility of applicants for HUD's assisted housing programs. The major active assisted housing programs are the Public Housing program, the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments program, Section 202 housing for the elderly, and Section 811 housing for persons with disabilities.

INDIAN TRIBE: any Indian tribe, band, group, and nation, including Alaska Indians, Aleuts, and Eskimos, and any Alaskan Native Village, of the United States, which is considered an eligible recipient under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act or was considered an eligible recipient under chapter 67 of title 31 prior to the repeal of such chapter.

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JUDGMENT: A legal decision; when requiring debt repayment, a judgment may include a property lien that secures the creditor's claim by providing a collateral source.

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LAND BANK: a governmental or nongovernmental nonprofit entity established, at least in part, to assemble, temporarily manage, and dispose of vacant land for the purpose of stabilizing neighborhoods and encouraging re-use or redevelopment of urban property.

LAND DEVELOPMENT: the process of making, installing, or constructing improvements.

LEAD-BASED PAINT: Paint or other surface coatings that contain lead equal to or exceeding 1.0 milligram per square centimeter or 0.5 percent by weight or 5,000 parts per million (ppm) by weight.

LEASE: A written agreement between an owner and a family for the leasing of a decent, safe, and sanitary dwelling unit to the family.

LEASE TERM: The period of time for which a lease agreement is written.


LIVABILITY: a measure of integration of the housing, transportation, environmental, and employment amenities accessible to residents. A livable community is one with multiple modes of transportation, different types of housing, and destinations located within an easy distance (20 minutes by transit, 15 minutes by bike or foot, 10 minutes by car) of homes.

LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCY: the official body empowered under State law to plan and undertake a local urban renewal program with Federal assistance. May be a city, county or other governmental entity, or a separate body such as a redevelopment agency or a local housing authority.

LOW-INCOME HOUSING TAX CREDIT (LIHTC): A tax incentive intended to increase the availability of low-income housing. The program provides an income tax credit to owners of newly constructed or substantially rehabilitated low-income rental housing projects.

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The geographic area from which a project owner could reasonably expect to draw applicants, based on the services and amenities offered by the development and the needs of the community.


A structure, transportable in one or more sections, which in the traveling mode is 8 body feet or more in width, or 40 body feet or more in length, or which when erected onsite is 320 or more square feet, and which is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities, and includes the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems contained in the structure. This term includes all structures that meet the above requirements except the size requirements and with respect to which the manufacturer voluntarily files a certification pursuant to 24 CFR 3282.13 and complies with the construction and safety standards set forth in this 24 CFR 3280. The term does not include any self-propelled recreational vehicle. Calculations used to determine the number of square feet in a structure will include the total of square feet for each transportable section comprising the completed structure and will be based on the structure's exterior dimensions measured at the largest horizontal projections when erected onsite. These dimensions will include all expandable rooms, cabinets, and other projections containing interior space, but do not include bay windows. Nothing in this definition should be interpreted to mean that a manufactured home necessarily meets the requirements of HUD's Minimum Property Standards (HUD Handbook 4900.1) or that it is automatically eligible for financing under 12 U.S.C. 1709(b).

MARKET VALUE: The most probable price that a property should bring in a competitive and open market, provided that all conditions requisite to a fair sale are present, the buyer and seller are knowledgeable and acting prudently, and the price is not affected by any undue stimulus.

METROPOLITAN AREA (MA): A large population nucleus, together with adjacent communities that has a high degree of economic and social integration with that nucleus.

METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATION: That organization required by the Department of Transportation, and designated by the Governor as being responsible for coordination within the State, to carry out transportation planning provisions in a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area.

METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREA (MSA): An area with at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core, as measured by commuting ties.

MICROENTERPRISE: a commercial enterprise that has five or fewer employees, one or more of who owns the enterprise.

MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREA: An area with at least one urban cluster of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000 population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core, as measured by commuting ties.

MINORITY-OWNED BUSINESS: A business in which more than 50 percent of the ownership or control is held by one or more minority individuals; and more than 50 percent of the net profit or loss of which accrues to one or more minority individuals.

MODERATE INCOME: Households whose incomes are between 81 percent and 95 percent of the median income for the area, as determined by HUD, with adjustments for smaller or larger families. HUD may establish income ceilings higher or lower than 95 percent of the median for the area on the basis of HUD's findings that such variations are necessary because of prevailing levels of construction costs, fair market rents, or unusually high or low family incomes.


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NEIGHBORHOOD STABILIZATION PROGRAM (NSP): Provides emergency assistance to state and local governments to acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight within their communities. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) provides grants to every state and certain local communities to purchase foreclosed or abandoned homes and to rehabilitate, resell, or redevelop these homes in order to stabilize neighborhoods and stem the decline of house values of neighboring homes. The program is authorized under Title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

NEW ENGLAND COUNTY METROPOLITAN AREA (NECMA): A county-based area designated by the federal Office of Management and Budget to provide an alternative to the county subdivision-based metropolitan areas in New England.

NONPROFIT HOUSING ORGANIZATION: Any private organization that is organized under state or local laws; has no part of its net earnings inuring to the benefit of any member, founder, contributor, or individual; and has a long-term record of service in providing or financing quality affordable housing for low-income families through relationships with public entities.

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OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (OMB): Assists the President in overseeing the preparation of the federal budget and supervises its administration in Executive Branch agencies. In helping to formulate the President's spending plans, OMB evaluates the effectiveness of agency programs, policies, and procedures, assesses competing funding demands among agencies, and sets funding priorities. OMB ensures that agency reports, rules, testimony, and proposed legislation are consistent with the President's Budget and with Administration policies. In addition, OMB oversees and coordinates the Administration's procurement, financial management, information, and regulatory policies. In each of these areas, OMB's role is to help improve administrative management, to develop better performance measures and coordinating mechanisms, and to reduce any unnecessary burdens on the public.

OFFICE OF POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND RESEARCH (PD&R): HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) maintains current information on housing needs, market conditions, and existing programs, as well as conducts research on priority housing and community development issues. The office provides reliable and objective data and analysis to help inform policy decisions. In 1978, PD&R established HUD USER, an information resource for housing and community development researchers, government officials, academics, policymakers, and the American public.

OFFICE OF UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIPS (OUP): HUD's Office of University Partnerships facilitates the formation of campus-community partnerships by sharing information about community partnership development in general, and about OUP's various funded programs, in particular. OUP is committed to helping colleges and universities join with their neighbors to address urban problems. The resulting partnerships enable students, faculty, and neighborhood organizations to work together to revitalize local economies, generate jobs, and rebuild healthy communities.



OWNER: Any private person or entity, including a cooperative, an agency of the federal government, or a public housing agency, having the legal right to lease or sublease dwelling units.

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PARTNERSHIP FOR ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY IN HOUSING (PATH): HUD’s Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing is dedicated to accelerating the development and use of technologies that radically improve the quality, durability, energy efficiency, environmental performance, and affordability of America's housing. PATH is a voluntary partnership between leaders of the homebuilding, product manufacturing, insurance, and financial industries, and representatives of federal agencies concerned with housing. Working together, PATH partners improve new and existing homes and strengthen the technology infrastructure of the United States. PD&R coordinates all PATH activities.



PERCENTILE RENT ESTIMATES (50th): Calculated for all FMR areas. These are not fair market rents. Under certain conditions, as set forth in the Interim Rule (Federal Register Vol. 65, No. 191, Monday October 2, 2000, pages 58870—58875), these 50th percentile rents can be used to set success rate payment standards.


PRIMARY METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREA (PMSA): An area that qualifies as a metropolitan statistical area has a census population of 1 million or more; two or more PMSAs may be designated within it if they meet published official standards and local opinion favors the designation.


Civil rights statutes establish the demographic categories by which discrimination is prohibited. Under the Fair Housing Act, the prohibited bases are race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, and disability.


Demographic categories of persons established by civil rights statutes against whom discrimination is prohibited. (See also Prohibited Bases.)

PUBLIC HOUSING AGENCY (PHA): Any state, county, municipality, or other governmental entity or public body, or agency or instrumentality of these entities that is authorized to engage or assist in the development or operation of low-income housing under the U.S. Housing Act of 1937.

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QUALIFIED CENSUS TRACT (QCT): Any census tract (or equivalent geographic area defined by the Census Bureau) in which at least 50 percent of households have an income less than 60 percent of the area median gross income or have a poverty rate of at least 25 percent.

QUALIFIED MORTGAGEE: An entity approved by the HUD Secretary that is capable of servicing, as well as originating, FHA-insured mortgages, and is not suspended or debarred by the Secretary, is not suspended or on probation imposed by HUD’s Mortgagee Review Board, and is not in default under any Government National Mortgage Association obligation.

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REAL ESTATE ASSESSMENT CENTER (REAC): Provides and promotes the effective use of accurate, timely, and reliable information assessing the condition of HUD's portfolio. REAC also provides information to help ensure safe, decent, and affordable housing. It is designed to restore the public trust by identifying fraud, abuse, and waste of HUD resources.

REAL ESTATE SETTLEMENT PROCEDURES ACT (RESPA): A law protecting consumers from abuses during the residential real estate purchase and loan process by requiring lenders to disclose all settlement costs, practices, and relationships.

REGULATORY BARRIERS CLEARINGHOUSE (RBC): Collects, processes, assembles, and disseminates information on the barriers faced in the creation and maintenance of affordable housing. The Clearinghouse is hosted by HUD USER.

REHABILITATION: The labor, materials, tools, and other costs of improving buildings, other than minor or routine repairs. The term includes where the use of a building is changed to an emergency shelter and the cost of this change and any rehabilitation costs does not exceed 75 percent of the value of the building before the change in use.

RENOVATION: rehabilitation that involves costs of 75 percent or less of the value of the building before rehabilitation.

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SAS: Originally called statistical analysis software, SAS is software that allows users to perform a range of statistical analyses. Some of the HUD USER data sets are available in SAS.

SECRETARY: In the context of this website, the term refers to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

SECRETARY'S AWARD PROGRAM: Awards from the HUD Secretary for best in residential housing design, excellence in historic preservation, and excellence produced through cooperative public/private efforts that expand homeownership opportunities for underserved American families.

SECTION 202: Provides capital advances to finance the construction, rehabilitation or acquisition (with or without rehabilitation) of structures that will serve as supportive housing for very-low-income elderly persons, including the frail elderly, and provides rent subsidies for the projects to help make them affordable.

SECTION 8 EXISISTING RENTAL ASSISTANCE: Provides rental assistance to low-income families who are unable to afford market rents. Assistance may be in the form of vouchers or certificates.

SECTION 8 HOMEOWNERSHIP PROGRAM: Allows low-income families who qualify for Section 8 rental assistance to use their certificates or vouchers to pay for homeownership costs under a mortgage.


A payment required by an owner to be held during the term of the lease (or the time period the tenant occupies the unit) to offset damages incurred due to the actions of the tenant. Such damages may include physical damage to the property, theft of property, and failure to pay back rent. Forfeiture of the deposit does not absolve the tenant of further financial liability.

SERVICE COORDINATOR PROGRAM: Provides funding for the employment of Service Coordinators in insured and assisted apartment housing that is designed for the elderly and persons with disabilities. A service coordinator is a social service staff person hired or contracted by the development's owner or management company. The Service Coordinator is responsible for assuring that elderly residents, especially those who are frail or at risk, and those nonelderly residents with disabilities are linked to the specific supportive services they need to continue living independently in that housing development.

SHELTER PLUS CARE PROGRAM (S+C): Authorized by title IV, subtitle F, of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (the McKinney Act) (42 U.S.C. 11403–11407b). S+C is designed to link rental assistance to supportive services for hard-to-serve homeless persons with disabilities (primarily those who are seriously mentally ill; have chronic problems with alcohol, drugs, or both; or have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS and related diseases) and their families. The program provides grants to be used for rental assistance for permanent housing for homeless persons with disabilities. Rental assistance grants must be matched in the aggregate by supportive services that are equal in value to the amount of rental assistance and appropriate to the needs of the population to be served. Recipients are chosen on a competitive basis nationwide.

SINGLE FAMILY PROPERTY: A single-unit family residence, detached or attached to other housing structures.

SUBAREA (SA): Designation placed in front of those areas where only the counties or towns of the subarea are used in calculating income limits and FMRs.

SUPPORTIVE HOUSING PROGRAM: This program is authorized by title IV of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (the McKinney Act) (42 U.S.C. 11381–11389). The program is designed to promote the development of supportive housing and supportive services, including innovative approaches to assist homeless persons in the transition from homelessness, and to promote the provision of supportive housing to homeless persons to enable them to live as independently as possible.

SUPPORTIVE HOUSING FOR THE ELDERLY: Housing that is designed to meet the special physical needs of elderly persons and to accommodate the provision of supportive services that are expected to be needed, either initially or over the useful life of the housing, by the category or categories of elderly persons that the housing is intended to serve.

SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES: Urban, suburban, and rural places that successfully integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of: 1) economic competitiveness and revitalization; 2) social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity; 3) energy use and climate change; and 4) public health and environmental impact.

SWEAT EQUITY: Using labor to build or improve a property as part of the down payment.

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TENANT-BASED RENTAL ASSISTANCE (TBRA): HUD assists low- and very low-income families in obtaining decent, safe, and sanitary housing in private accommodations by making up the difference between what they can afford and the approved rent for an adequate housing unit.

TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT (TOD): Development of commercial space, housing services, and job opportunities close to public transportation, thereby reducing dependence on automobiles. TODs are typically designed to include a mix of land uses within a quarter-mile walking distance of transit stops or core commercial areas.

TRANSITIONAL HOUSING: A project that has as its purpose facilitating the movement of homeless individuals and families to permanent housing within a reasonable amount of time (usually 24 months). Transitional housing includes housing primarily designed to serve deinstitutionalized homeless individuals and other homeless individuals with mental or physical disabilities and homeless families with children.

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URBAN RENEWAL AREA: a slum area or a blighted, deteriorated, or deteriorating area in the locality involved which the Secretary approves as appropriate for an urban renewal project.

URBAN RENEWAL PROJECT: a project planned and undertaken by an LPA [Local Public Agency] in an urban renewal area with Federal financial and technical assistance under Title I of the Housing Act of 1949. A project may involve slum clearance and redevelopments rehabilitation and conservation, or a combination of both. It may include acquisition of land, relocation of displaced site occupants, site clearance, installation of site improvements, rehabilitation of properties and disposition of acquired land for redevelopment in accordance with the Urban Renewal Plan.

U.S. CENSUS BUREAU: Serves as the leading source of quality data about our nation's people and economy.

UNIVERSAL DESIGN: A design concept that encourages the construction or rehabilitation of housing and elements of the living environment in a manner that makes them usable by all people, regardless of ability, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD): Established in 1965, HUD's mission is to increase homeownership, support community development, and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. To fulfill this mission, HUD will embrace high standards of ethics, management and accountability and forge new partnerships — particularly with faith-based and community organizations — that leverage resources and improve HUD's ability to be effective on the community level.

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VACANT UNIT: a dwelling unit that has been vacant for not less than nine consecutive months.

VERY LOW-INCOME: Households whose incomes do not exceed 50 percent of the median area income for the area, as determined by HUD, with adjustments for smaller and larger families and for areas with unusually high or low incomes or where needed because of facility, college, or other training facility; prevailing levels of construction costs; or fair market rents.

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WAITING LIST: A formal record of applicants for housing assistance and/or assisted housing units that identifies the applicant's name, date and time of application, selection preferences claimed, income category, and the need for an accessible unit. The waiting list may be kept in either a bound journal or a computer program. Whichever method is used to maintain the waiting list, the owner must establish a method of documenting the appropriate selection of applicant names from the list.

WOMAN-OWNED BUSINESS: A business in which more than 50 percent of the ownership or control is held by one or more women; and more than 50 percent of the net profit or loss of which accrues to one or more women; and a significant percentage of senior management positions of which are held by women.

WORST CASE HOUSING NEEDS: Needs experienced by unassisted very low-income renters who either (1) pay more than one-half of their monthly income for rent; or (2) live in severely inadequate conditions, or both.

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YOUTHBUILD PROGRAM: Youthbuild is a program that allows non-profit organizations to fund projects to assist high-risk youth learn housing construction job skills and complete their high school education. Participants enhance their skills as they construct and/or rehabilitate affordable housing for low-income and homeless persons or families.

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ZONING:The classification of land by types of uses permitted and prohibited in a given district, and by densities and intensities permitted and prohibited, including regulations regarding building location on lots.

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