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Public Housing

playgroundWhat Is 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 includes  apartment buildings, townhouses, duplexes, and single-family homes.

The Community Development Authority (CDA) provides Public Housing for residence only in the City of Madison.  (This does not include the other municipalities in Dane County.)  These properties are federally funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and administered by the Housing Operations Division.


Am I Eligible for CDA Public Housing?

CDA determines your eligibility based upon: 

  • Annual gross income
  • Whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family
  • U.S. citizenship, or eligible immigration status

The CDA will also check your references, examine your credit history, and conduct a complete criminal background check to make sure you and your family will be good tenants. The CDA will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the project’s environment.

Reasons for denial may include, but are not limited, to:

  • State sex offender registration requirement

  • Previous eviction from federally subsidized housing

  • Illegal use of drugs

  • History of alcohol abuse that interferes with the right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by others

  • Drug-related criminal activity

  • Criminal activity

  • Inability to meet financial obligations, including rent

  • Eviction filings and judgments

  • Negative behavior and a record of disturbances to neighbors

  • Lease violations

  • Poor housekeeping habits

  • Debts to any federal Housing Authority

  • Owing money to a landlord

  • Failure to disclose Social Security numbers for all family members

  • Failure to sign required consent forms

How Is Rent Determined?


Rent is based on your family’s anticipated gross annual income. Residents pay 30% of their income, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pays the rest.

Listed below are income limits for CDA (effective 12/18/2013):

1 Person $44,750
2 Persons $51,150
3 Persons $57,550
4 Persons $63,900
5 Persons $69,050
6 Persons $74,750
7 Persons $79,250
8 Persons $84,350

How Do I Apply?

Currently the CDA Public Housing program is ONLY taking applications for the following:

  • 1 Bedroom disabled
  • 1 Bedroom elderly (62 years of age or older)
  • 1 Bedroom near-elderly (50 – 61 years of age)
  • 1 Bedroom wheelchair accessible
  • 2 Bedroom wheelchair accessible
  • 5 Bedroom (family composition of 7 - 10 people)

For more information or to obtain an application, please call (608) 266-4675.

Public Housing Wait Times

Effective 4/15/2014
Estimated wait times for Public Housing programs:

1-Bedroom Unit (Disabled Designations) = 12+ Months
1-Bedroom Unit (Age 62 or older Designations) = 3 – 6 Months
1-Bedroom Unit (Age 50-61, no disability) = 1-2 Years
1-Bedroom Unit (No Designation) = Indefinite wait time
2-Bedroom Unit = 2 Years
3-Bedroom Unit = 2 Years
4-Bedroom Unit = 2 Years
5-Bedroom Unit = 2 Years

The above wait times are most accurate if city preference has been verified. Wait times are driven by vacancies and are estimated based on previous vacancy rates.

These estimated wait times are most accurate for applicants who provide documentation that they live, work, or go to school in the City of Madison.  Applicants will be notified by mail when the CDA is ready to screen their application.

Waiting list applicants are required to report changes, in writing, of mailing address, phone number, gross monthly income, and family composition.

Wheelchair Guy


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Fair Housing