Glossary of Terms

The following is a list of terms used frequently by organizations providing affordable housing and services: Affordable Housing - Affordable Housing is a vague term generally defined as housing where the occupant pays no more than 30% of gross income for total housing costs, including utilities.

CHDO (Community Housing Development Organization) - A CHDO is an organization that develops/provides housing in an area designated “low-income” by the local governing authority.

Low-Income and Very Low-Income - The term "low-income" can mean different things to different people. However, government and social service agencies use the above terms to refer to incomes that do not exceed 80% and 50%, respectively, of the area median income (AMI), with adjustments for family size. For instance, the AMI for fiscal year 1998 in Atlanta was $54,700 for a family of four (4). A family of four earning $43,760 or less would fall into the "low-income" category whereas an income of $27,350 or less would put that family in the "very low-income" category.

Area Median Income - Area Median Income refers to the middle or midpoint income for a particular area. The term is used to estimate the "average" income for a particular area.

Fair Market Rent (FMR) - Fair Market Rent is an amount determined by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to be the cost of modest, non-luxury rental units in a specific market area. Generally, an "affordable" rent is considered to be below the Fair Market Rent.

Transitional Housing - Transitional Housing is that which assists people transition from homelessness to greater independence and self-sufficiency. Typically, a person/family who is homeless will move into transitional housing as part of a comprehensive program with self-sufficiency as the end goal. Transitional housing usually offers supportive services like job training/assistance, GED preparation/tutoring, child care services and/or referrals, budget/financial management workshops, etc. In most cases, persons/families pay a modest fee or percentage of their income for rent. Short-term housing may be 60-90 days while long-term housing may allow for residency up to 3 years.

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