Frequently Asked Questions

I’m in an emergency situation and need shelter immediately, can you help? 

The Pontiac Housing Commission does not provide crisis housing. As an affordable housing agency, we do work with the public to obtain rental assistance through voucher programs which must be applied for. Below is a list of emergency shelters and shelter programs in Oakland County and their specializations. 

Hope Warming Center, 249 Baldwin Avenue in Pontiac
A low-barrier to entry shelter, no identification or background check required 

South Oakland Shelter, 18505 W. 12 Mile Rd., Lathrup Village 
This shelter provides access to meals, transportation and case managers. Inquires for space taken from Monday to Friday at 10 a.m. Those seeking shelter are encouraged to call daily. 

HAVEN of Oakland County, 801 Vanguard Dr. in Pontiac
Oakland County’s only comprehensive shelter for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. A 24-hour crisis and support hotline is available year round. 

Grace Centers of Hope, 35 E. Huron St. in Pontiac 
A substance use disorder program which also offers shelter and pathways to homeownership. Men and women’s programs available as well as childcare services. 

Common Ground, 32 East, 1200 Telegraph Road in Pontiac
Oakland County’s primary crisis care center offering 24-hour assistance. Multiple types of shelters are available, including services for youth, crisis voluntary inpatient residential services and a 23-hour sober support unit. 

Community Housing Network, 5505 Corporate Drive in Troy
Part of Oakland County’s HUD Continuum of Care, CHN serves as a first point of contact for those experiencing homelessness offering a free Housing Resource Center, homeownership programs, permanent supportive housing programs, crisis housing assistance and more. 

How can I get help with my rent/How can I access HUD supported housing? 

Our housing specialists are available by appointment only, or by phone, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, to answer your questions about obtaining rental assistance. To apply for the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) contact us during business hours for more information. Section 8 can be used to pay for a portion, or in some cases all, of one’s rent. 

HUD also offers an interactive online search tool to find privately owned apartments, multifamily properties and Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties with reduced rent across the U.S. at 

What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)? 

On the grand scale, vouchers are your tax dollars at work keeping people housed, healthy and safe from the elements. 

Every year, Congress appropriates a set amount of funds for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For the year 2022, the proposed budget is $68.7 billion. That’s about $9 billion more than the budget passed for 2021. 

A significant portion of those funds are then distributed to local public housing agencies, referred to as public housing commissions in the state of Michigan. Housing agencies use that money to create and administer Housing Choice Vouchers that make up the difference someone will pay for their rent. Landlords receive the funds, in the form of the voucher, straight from the public housing agency. 

Section 8 is an extremely flexible program allowing individuals to choose where and how they’d like to live. Vouchers can be used for apartments, single and multifamily homes. If you’re planning to move to a different city or state, your current and future public housing agency can help you keep your voucher. 

How do I know If I qualify for Section 8? 

It’s up to public housing agencies to determine if an individual qualifies for a Section 8 Voucher. Eligibility is based on total annual gross income and the size of the family seeking the voucher. You must be a U.S. citizen or part of a specified category of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status to qualify. 

You likely qualify for federal rental assistance if you make less than 50% of the area median income. By law, public housing agencies must also distribute a set amount of vouchers to those who make less than 30% of the area median income. 

In Oakland County, 50% of the area median income is: 

  • $28,000 for a household of 1 
  • $32,000 for a household of 2 
  • $36,000 for a household of 3 
  • $40,000 for a household of 4
  • $43,200 for a household of 5 
  • $46,400 for a household of 6 
  • $49,600 for a household of 7
  • $52,800 for a household of 8 

In Oakland County, 30% of the area median income is: 

  • $16,800 for a household of 1 
  • $19,200 for a household of 2 
  • $21,960 for a household of 3 
  • $26,500 for a household of 4 
  • $31,040 for a household of 5
  • $35,580 for a household of 6
  • $40,120 for a household of 7
  • $44,660 for a household of 8 
How will my rent be calculated? 

Your rent will be based on your ability to pay. The Pontiac Housing Commission will work with you to verify your income, expenses and assets to determine your household’s annual income and calculate how much you’ll pay for rent each month. 

How do I apply for rental assistance? 

Those seeking access to affordable housing or Housing Choice Voucher for rental assistance should call our main office line from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday to be connected with a housing specialist who can walk you through the process. We will always attempt to accommodate walk-ins, however, appointments are preferred.

Can I move with my rental assistance? 

Depending on the voucher, you will be able to take your rental assistance with you. This process is known as portability, or, the ability to “port” your rental assistance to a new agency. Starting in 2020, the Pontiac Housing Commission under national best practice guidance began moving all of its rental assistance programs to Housing Choice Vouchers, which allow portability. 

Unlike Public Housing Vouchers, with rental assistance tied to one property, or Project-Based Vouchers, with rental assistance tied to specific units on one property, Housing Choice Vouchers can be used anywhere a landlord will accept them. 

If you’re planning on moving to a new house, apartment, or otherwise within your housing agency’s current jurisdiction, you can keep your initial voucher. If you’re planning to move outside the county or state, your public housing agency will work with you and your future public housing agency to keep your rental assistance in place.